On Memorial Day, our nation will come together to honor the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country, but soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines continue to risk their lives around the world every day. So it is also important to reflect on the sacrifices being made by those still fighting.
War changes lives forever; veterans often struggle with war-zone memories long after they return home. “Invisible wounds,” such as combat-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), affect approximately 20 percent of all veterans. These conditions are commonly treated with therapy and medication—though, less-conventional methods, such as service dogs, have also proven to be extremely beneficial.
As part of its Six Decades of Service Celebration, EPI-HAB Phoenix, Inc. advanced its 60th Anniversary mission with a $6,000 donation to Soldier’s Best Friend, a service/ therapeutic companion dog program pairing rescue dogs with veterans living with PTSD or TBI.
The non-profit program serves as a parallel support plan to a veteran’s medical treatments. It seeks to manage conditions such as:
- Reclusive behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Memory loss
- Physical pain
By lessening these PTSD/TBI symptoms, Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) reduces the participating veterans’ risk for future hospitalization, homelessness, incarceration, domestic abuse and/or suicide.
Moreover, SBF looks to touch two lives at once. Most of its vetted service and therapeutic companion dogs are rescued from Arizona shelters.
“You’re saving two lives at once,” explained Elaine Ransdell, a Soldier’s Best Friend board member. “You’re saving a veteran, and you’re giving a homeless dog an honorable job.”
On average, veteran/dog teams complete training in 6-9 months, with the placement, training and supplies being provided at no cost to the veteran.
For more information about volunteering or donating to SBF, please visit soldiersbestfriend.org
EPI-HAB was founded with the mission to provide meaningful employment to individuals with epilepsy by performing valued work for its customers. Over the last six decades, as epilepsy seizure treatment improved, EPI-HAB expanded its mission to welcome employees living with other challenges, such as hearing impairment, physical limitations and mild intellectual disabilities.
Typical work focuses on hand labor skills, with EPI-HAB often operating as a customer’s production plant and warehouse; receiving, storing and fulfilling orders.
An example is EPI-HAB’s new partnership with Kodiakooler, a North Carolina-based company. Kodiakooler installed an overwrapping machine in EPI-HAB’s plant, and now EPI-HAB employees operate this machine to overwrap Kodiakooler’s thermo insulation fiber blankets, which are shipped to Kodiakooler’s west coast customers.
EPI-HAB’s Six Decades of Service Celebration
To commemorate 60 years in business, EPI-HAB is donating a total of $60,000 to local non-profits. The organization is closing in on its goal, having already made “Six Decades of Service” donations to several events and organizations, including Sunshine Acres, Lura Turner Homes, Cops for Kids, Techie Camp, The Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, Lions Camp Tatiyee and Ryan House.
Looking to follow EPI-HAB’s journey to $60K? The recipients and the purpose of the “Six Decades of Service” donations will be showcased within blogs, email marketing and EPI-HAB’s social media pages as the gifts are given.