As part of Military Appreciation Day at THE PLAYERS Championship last week, medical technology and equipment company Stryker awarded a $20,000 donation to K9s for Warriors for the sponsorship of a service dog.
Meg Smith, vice president of clinical/quality/regulatory affairs for Stryker, presented the donation and a black and gold Stryker vest to K9s for Warriors President Brett Simon at a special ceremony held at the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost.
“Stryker has a long history of supporting our nation’s military,” said Smith during the May 9 ceremony. “Our relationship with K9s for Warriors reaffirms our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our veterans.”
The contribution marks Stryker’s second $20,000 donation of the year to the local nonprofit. Since 2015, Stryker has sponsored eight service dogs for K9s for Warriors, totaling more than $160,000 in support. In addition, the company has donated $10,000 in proceeds from the sales of Stryker hats worn by PGA Tour and Champions Tour players Fred Funk and Hal Sutton to the nonprofit. Stryker offers an array of products and services in the areas of orthopedics, medical and surgical, neurotechnology and spine.
Simon said the Stryker donations are used to fund dog food, veterinary care, equipment and the hours that are poured into training the dogs and the warriors.
Based in Nocatee, K9s for Warriors trains and pairs rescued service dogs with military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post-9/11.
The organization was started in 2011 after Simon, a former police officer and bomb dog handler in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned home with extreme PTSD. Simon’s mother, Shari Duval, noticed he was only comfortable around dogs and surmised that service dogs may be the treatment veterans need. The nonprofit has since rescued 500 animals from shelters, ultimately graduating more than 300 service dog teams from its three-week training program. Simon said each of the organization’s corporate sponsors has helped in accomplishing these feats, but Stryker has gone above and beyond in doing so.
“What they’ve done for us has been instrumental in keeping our mission going forward,” remarked Simon prior to the ceremony. “We look forward to the future with them to see what it can bring and how much good we can do for our veterans and dogs.”