Kathy Dougherty
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 Pleasant Avenue Raises Money and Does Doggone Good
School Reaches Goal and Then Some For "Canines For Combat Veterans"
Check PresentationOver the past several months, Pleasant Avenue Elementary School students, staff and parents—along with the help of Kathy and Kellie’s La Barkery and community members—raised over $600 for “Canines For Combat Veterans,” a program that supplies “service” dogs to veterans who have experienced debilitating leg injuries while serving in a branch of the armed forces.

On Wednesday, February 28, the culmination of their efforts were celebrated as the school welcomed Executive Director of Canines for Disabled Kids, Kristin Law, and her service dog, “Laddy,” for a special check presentation ceremony.

Law, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, spokeKristen Law Speaks With Students with students about all that a service dog can do for someone who suffers from a disability. She commended the students for raising so much money for the “Canines For Combat Vets” program in her organization. She also applauded the students for caring so much about those veterans who now suffer from a disability and will depend on a service dog to help with their everyday living, much as she depends on her dog, Laddy. Law then demonstrated how Laddy assisted her with activities that the children might take for granted, like simply keeping balance, walking, kneeling or getting up after one has fallen.

Law also explained to the children that it costs over $20,000 to train one service dog, but that one dog would help make a world of difference in the life of a disabled combat vet.

Kristin Law Gives a Command to LaddyPrincipal Kathy Dougherty read about the program in The New York Times and thought it might be something her school would be interested in raising money for. “We have had great success the past two years raising funds for the victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka and Hurricane Katrina, and thought that supporting a cause that provided assistance to disabled veterans would allow our students to understand the sacrifice that our servicepersons make when they are injured in combat,” Dougherty said.

Once Dougherty brought the idea to school, all wereKristin Law Gives a Command to Laddy enthused, particularly Janet Lincourt, a teacher’s aide and parent of a Pleasant Avenue student, who helped spearhead the fundraising operations.

A goal of $500 was then set and with that, Pleasant Avenue students would not only be playing a big part in cutting the costs of training a service dog for a disabled combat vet, but they would earn the right to naming one of the dogs.

Dougherty announced Wednesday that the name the school had decided on was “Hero,” a name not too unfamiliar around Pleasant Avenue in recent months. One of the fundraising activities students embarked on was purchasing paw prints and bones at particular dollar denominations and covering the wall of the cafetorium with them—those paws and bones, of course, belonging to the giant dog, Hero, who was also displayed on the wall.

Kristin Law and Kellie NevinsHero’s paws and bones were also available for purchase at Kathy and Kellie’s La Barkery, 13 Main Street, Johnstown. Kathleen Smith and Kellie Nevins, co-owners of the shop were on hand at the assembly, as well, and presented Law with a gift of La Barkery goodies for Laddy.

Along with Hero’s paw and bones, a giant “Bright Spot Tree” was also hung during Christmas time and students purchased ornaments, with proceeds, again, going to the Canines For Combat Vets” program.

Of the whole experience, Dougherty notes, “This is just another example of the best of Pleasant Avenue School: Everyone working together on behalf of those who are less fortunate. We have all come to understand the immense power of giving to make others lives a little easier, and how the gifts that we give come back to us many times over.”

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