By Cassy Fiano-Chesser
mail@floridanewsline.com

Students at Nease High School are launching a fundraiser for wounded warriors that will have a direct impact right here on the First Coast. The Fun Run and 5K for K9s will take place on Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — and raise money and awareness for K9s for Warriors, a local non-profit organization that has grown into the largest provider in the country of service dogs for disabled American veterans. According to one of the student sponsors, Anna Hampton, the race will be run in and around the grounds of Nease High School and will include booths set up from sponsors and K9s for Warriors. 

Nease International Baccalaureate (IB) students reached out to K9s for Warriors when they began planning the event, which was perfect for K9s for Warriors: Veterans Day is one of the most significant days of the year for them. The K9s for Warriors program is 100 percent free for veterans, and in addition to a service dog, provides them services for the rest of their lives. 

Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line

“We provide service dogs for veterans with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), or military sexual trauma,” Elizabeth Reeser, community relations coordinator for K9s for Warriors, said. “We use 90 percent rescued service dogs, so we’re actually saving two lives.”

The dogs they train are taken from kill shelters to work with veterans, and get a second chance at a new life — just like the veterans they serve.

“We go to places all over Florida, all over the country, and then they’re transported to Ponte Vedra to begin their training,” Reeser said. “We actually just opened a new campus in San Antonio, Texas, and our goal there is to bring in rescue dogs. We won’t have any warriors going to that location; we’re just bringing the dogs to that location, vetting them, and getting them ready to go to Ponte Vedra to be there for the warriors.”

Dogs are trained to help with issues typical to the veteran community, like anxiety, depression, and hypervigilance.

“They learn to alert their warrior if someone is coming up behind them, so they can go out in public without constantly checking over their shoulder and scanning their surroundings,” Reeser said. “Another big thing our service dogs do is be motivating; if you want to lay in bed all day because you’re struggling with depression due to your PTSD, you can’t, because you have to get up to let your dog out and feed them and take care of them — so that’s a motivator. And it’s someone that’s not ever going to judge you or turn away, so it’s kind of a constant companion.”

In addition to the emotional support they provide, the service dogs learn several physical commands as well.

“They learn one called ‘brace,’ where they help a warrior, say, stand up from a chair because they’re feeling dizzy because of their TBI; they can brace on their dog so they don’t fall over,” she said. “And there’s a command we teach all our dogs called ‘bi-lap,’ where they literally just put their front two paws up on your lap when you’re sitting in a chair, and put all their weight and pressure down on you to give you that calming sense, like a weighted blanket.”

The fun run, which will take place at Nease High School at 7 a.m. on Nov. 11, will give all proceeds to K9s for Warriors, and medals will be awarded for different age groups. And according to Reeser, events like this are extremely beneficial for them.

“We could not do what we do without the support that we have,” she said. “Aside from raising funds, which is a great part of it, it gets the awareness out there in the community. It gets our name out there so we can get more supporters, more volunteers, and more people who might not know about us and need a service dog, which could change their life. Everyone isn’t aware of the epidemic of veteran PTSD and veteran suicide, so we think it’s important to just get the word out there about PTSD and about suicide, and the rates in which they persist among veterans. It’s not going to change if people don’t know that it’s happening, so that awareness is crucial.”

The Fun Run and 5K for K9s will begin at 7 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 at Allen D. Nease High School, 10550 Ray Road in Ponte Vedra. Medals will be awarded for different age groups, but this is not a time chip event. The event is run entirely by Nease High School students and all proceeds will benefit K9s for Warriors. Visit www.5kfork9sforwarriors.com to register.

 

Photo courtesy Anna Hampton

Nease students Elkhan Bagirov, Virginia Peery, Anna Hampton, Lindy Gostage, and Taylor Hampson organized the Fun Run and 5K for K9s.

  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • The right cleaners, LLC House cleaning services
  • Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Vote Rod Hardwick for st johns county sheriff Working together for the strength of our community during challenging times
  • Preddy law firm estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, guardianship
  • Starling Nocatee, 360 degree virtual tour
  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Support Community Journalism The Creek Line
  • Tutoring club of st johns. Text tutoring to 484848 for a chance to win one month of free tutoring
  • Being Well Florida News line is excited to introduce Being Well magazine
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Anytime Fitness! Summer is Here! We Are Open!
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Forever Vets Animal Hospital coupon for free exam and discount on preventative care for dogs and cats!
  • Ellegant earth solutions complete lawn maintenance with 28 years experience, complete lawn maintenance
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Support Community Journalism in Ponta Vedra NewsLine
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • All About Ballroom
  • Do you only want cremation?
  • Craig Funeral services, Funeral, Crematory, Memorial Park
  • Cronin Ace Hardware
  • Vote for Christian Whitehurst! for St. Johns county commissioner, District 1
  • Doug Nunnery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,
  • Finding the right doctor just got easier, Dr. Levine Baptist primary care
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Deerwood Academy register now for 2020-2021 VPK
  • Eye center of st augustine, The eye surgery Center of St Augustine
  • Famous Automotive and tire center
  • Fruit Cove Baptist Church
  • The Goddard School summer camp
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Ian MacDonald Mortgage loan originator with Regions Mortgage
  • Julington Creek Chiropractic & Wellness Center P.A. serving st. johns county for nearly 21 years
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our May Issue! Ponta Vedra NewsLine
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Creeks Air Conditioning & Heating. We service all makes and models for residential and commerical!
  • Crosswinds Veterinary Hospital. Preventative Medicine and wellness, Surgery, Dentistry, Labs and Imaging, Farm Animal Medicine, In-Patient and Emergency Care
  • Florida Waterways Inc. Your trusted Waterway Advisers
  • JJs Bistro $10 off lunch or dinner
  • Julington Creek Family Dentistry. Implant Cosmetic and Restoration Dentistry. We are following Advanced Safety protocols set forth by CDC, OSHA and ADA guidelines for dental practices
  • Alicia Washington for Circuit Judge
  • Re-elect Mike Orfinger for circuit judge
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Chris Strickland for ST Johns county sheriff!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our May Issue!
  • Tailored living Premier Garage solutions
  • Westminster St. Augustine. were here when you need us
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021