June 7, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
I have an exciting opportunity to serve our veterans! I have planned a bicycle road trip from Santa Rosa, NM to Waco, Texas, scheduled to depart on June 15, 2012. There will be Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and civilians joining me for part of the ride. This mission will be approximately 700 miles, taking 7-10 days to complete. I am encouraged by the training and preparation I have put into reach this goal.
The purpose of Mission Waco is to raise funds and/or goods to assist Paws and Stripes in their mission to help Veterans. Paws and Stripes is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation in New Mexico. It assists veterans all over the country; however, the only office location at this time is in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Paws and Stripes was founded by Iraq war veteran, James Stanek and his wife, Lindsey Stanek. In 2008 Jim was sent home early from Iraq with injuries, and he spent nine months at Brook Army Medical Center receiving treatment for his wounds as well as for a Traumatic Brain Injury and chronic severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After seeing the impact that interacting with therapy dogs at the hospital had on him, Lindsey, his wife, began searching for a dog he could call his own. They adopted Sarge, a mixed breed rescue from a shelter in South Carolina.
At first, Sarge was his pet, his companion that he spent time with after leaving the hospital and being medically retired from the Army. In January, 2010, he and Lindsey decided to begin researching how to get Jim a service dog that could help him with his disabilities 24-7. When they learned how expensive and/or difficult it was to receive one of these dogs, they decided to try doing it themselves. They found amazing trainers in New Mexico and began training Sarge to be a service dog. Since that time, Paws & Stripes has graduated 16 other veterans and dogs from the program and are currently enrolling more Veterans to total approximately 40 in the program at once. After seeing how Sarge helped Jim in so many ways, it has become their life’s mission to do what they can to give this gift to other veterans. They match veterans with dogs from the pound or rescue centers, and the veteran gets to choose his own service dog. The cost is $2000 for a veteran and their dog to complete the program, and it takes six months to complete the training. Both the veteran and the dog get a new lease on life.
The purpose of my bike ride is to bring awareness of this worthy organization, Paws & Stripes. My hope is that you or your business may donate funds and/or goods to support this organization. Would you be able to help me by sending a donation? We have set up a donation account through New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union under the name Mission Waco/Paws & Stripes. There are two different account numbers depending on how you would like to donate. Your name, date and phone number will post to the account so I can issue you a receipt for your donation.
1. Electronic Funds Transfer (Direct Deposit): Account #0038759013
2. Walk-in or mail-in donations: Account #3875900.
3. Mail donations to:
Mission Waco/ Paws & Stripes
c/o New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union
PO Box 8530, Albuquerque, NM 87198.
If you would like more information about the Paws & Stripes program, please visit www.pawsandstripes.org. Their Tax ID is 27-2908352. Please don’t hesitate to contact Paws & Stripes by phone at (505) 999-1201 if you need more information about Mission Waco, or you may email them at VeteranDogs@pawsandstripes.org.
No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets,
Sgt., USAF, 1972-76
Viet Nam Veteran