A great night
Thu, 05/18/2023 - 8:54am caleb
Kentucky Derby Gala event at Camp Grayling raises thousands of dollars for veteran service dog program
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
An annual event at Camp Grayling recently generated thousands of dollars to support veterans via the “54 by 24: Service Dogs Save Lives” campaign.
Camp Grayling’s 2nd Annual Kentucky Derby Gala event on May 6 included several activities.
“It was a great night filled with lots of fun: horses, dinner, best dressed contest, dancing, silent and live auctions, raffles, games, and fireworks,” said Jenni Caverson, Camp Grayling Community Relations. “Attendees are already looking forward to next year.”
Caverson said the event raised a large amount of money this year.
“With the help of our community, volunteers, sponsors, attendees, and donors we raised over $35,000,” Caverson said.
(Caverson estimated that after expenses the event generated approximately $29,000, “enough for another dog.”)
The “54 by 24: Service Dogs Save Lives” campaign looks to “help end suicide among National Guard service members and veterans nationwide by sponsoring service dogs,” according to the National Guard Association of Michigan.
“Service dogs play a major role in healing and helping veterans,” Caverson said. “Suicide rates are drastically reduced when veterans are matched with a medical service dog.”
“Together, we changed lives, we saved lives,” said Jeff Frisby, National Guard Association of Michigan Director. “They say that the Kentucky Derby is ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports,’ yet what really motivates me is how the Grayling community came together that evening to save a life. Beyond the thrill, fun, and exhilaration that the gala brought, we also gave hope to a veteran. With the funds raised that night, we will be able to support a fully trained dog being matched to a service member suffering from PTSD, anxiety, social integration issues, or some other medical concern.”
Col. Scott Meyers, Camp Grayling Commander, said organizers appreciated the community’s support of the Kentucky Derby Gala event.