K9s for Warriors receives $100,000 donation


K9s for Warriors has received a $100,000 donation from Early Times Kentucky Whisky to support the Ponte Vedra-based nonprofit’s efforts to train and pair rescued service dogs with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and other military-related traumas.

At a March 24 ceremony at the organization’s new Nocatee training center, representatives from both Early Times and its parent company, Brown-Forman, presented a $100,000 check to K9s for Warriors Founder and President Shari Duval and Executive Director Rory Diamond. The event also featured the graduation of five veterans and their new service canines.

“Early Times came to our campus to film a documentary about our program, and presented us with the donation,” said Tahoma Guiry, director of education for K9s for Warriors. “Those funds will sponsor the training of five new warrior dog teams, covering all of the costs involved with bringing a dog to our kennels, training them, feeding them and all the related resources.”For recent K9s for Warriors graduate Joe Swoboda, however, the donation’s impact will reach far beyond the material needs of running the program. Accompanied by his service dog, Lilly, Swoboda described his experiences with the organization and what the donation will mean for other veterans in crisis.

“(This) donation of $100,000 isn’t just about money,” he said. “It’s not just about the cost associated with training service dogs. This is about saving the lives of our brothers in arms. This check is lives.” 

Early Times officials said its company has a long history of supporting the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“Early Times has a genuine and heartfelt connection with our United States military as well as with proud, hardworking and patriotic Americans,” Brand Manager Marc Hindorff said. “It is our honor to partner with K9s for Warriors and continue supporting those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our country in their service.”