Please help us improve A Disabled Veterans Life with thehelp of A Service Dog

Help us Help a Disabled Veteran War Hero get their life back

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We are fundraising to provide a service dog to a disabled veteran

Matt Burgess spent 8 years in the US Army with deployments to Iraq, Bosnia, and Macedonia. During those deployments he experienced four blast explosions resulting in traumatic brain injury, as well as a reaction to the Anthrax Vaccination which resulted in eighteen MEDICAL conditions. Matt was medically retired from the Army in 2007 and granted 100% permanent and total disability rating from the Veterans Administration.



In 2013 Matt pet dog, Brinks was performing many lifesaving tasks for Matt. Consequently Matt wanted Brinks to be trained to be a service dog. Matt found an organization, and trained Brinks to be his service dog.



Matt's service dog, Brinks, wakes Matt up when he stops breathing at night, carries groceries, alerts Matt to changes in his HEALTH, brings Matts phone when he has blackouts, retrieves items off the ground which greatly reduces Matt's pain level, and much more. Brinks is Matt's lifeline. Matt started Freedom Fidos in order to provide other veterans the same quality of life Matt experiences as the result of having a service dog.

In 2014 Matt STARTED Freedom Fidos. An IRS approved 501(c)(3) whose mission was to rescue dogs from shelters, train them to be service dogs, and provide them at no cost to disabled veterans. Freedom Fidos spent two years in Myrtle Beach ,SC.



After moving to Columbus, GA, Matt dissolved Freedom Fido's, and started Fidos4Heroes, which received its IRS 501 (C)(3) status in September 2016. Matt's organization has placed 36 dogs since its inception and has a waiting list of over 200 individuals.


We are grateful for our four acre piece of property which we call the facility which was purchased November 2016.
We are grateful that the new building which will house our Canines in training is nearing completion. The aforementioned, self contained building, including heat and air conditioning will allow us to house up to 12 dogs and include an additional room for dog training during inclement weather.



Much Love from all of us at Freedom Fidos.

Freedom Fidos Requirements During Program:

No Alcohol and/or Drugs

No answers or resolutions come from the bottom of a bottle. No memories will ever be forgotten or erased from the use of drugs. During Freedom Fidos Service Dog programs all participants must agree not to use alcohol and/or drugs unless legally prescribed. If any participant breaks that agreement they will be asked to leave the program and will not be given a dog.

Freedom Fidos Pledge:

Declaration of Contribution;

I will make good things happen for other people. For those here now and those who come after us..

When things get tough and I fall short I will remind myself I can accomplish anything, with time, effort, patience, and resilience. Anything

When my situation is not the best I will do the best with what I have.

I will be resourceful and responsible…

I will get over myself and expect more of myself.

I will be obligated to this world and the people in it.

I will give more. I will enjoy more..

I will love openly

I will fearlessly pursue my dreams

I will express unlimited gratitude

I will fearlessly connect

Mental Health

Freedom Fidos Service Dog program requires all disabled Veterans to engage in activities that promote a sense of mental well being, i.e. Therapy, Group Therapy, Yoga, etc.

Nutrition

Healing requires good nutrition. Physically, individuals need a strong daily regimen of vitamins, food, and supplements in order to create healthy minds and bodies.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the most powerful activities individuals can do that aids their own healing process. The body's response to exercise is overwhelming. Research shows that a regular exercise program will invoke natural endorphins that can help combat depression, anxiety, and anger. All of which are symptoms of both TBI and PTS.

Civic Service

Research on service to others across the life span suggests that participation in civic service can influence many psychosocial factors in a person's life leading to improvements in health and engagement with others. If disabled veterans are challenged to continue to serve in their communities, and if their well-being improves from participating in civic service, then the well-being of veterans and their communities will both improve.

Membership with local Kiwanis club.

Application to either NO Barriers or Project Sanctuary.

Participation in local Pet Smart Canine Good Citizens Class.

Active involvement with Freedom Fidos:

- commitment to something larger

- Take Freedom Fidos Pledge

- Attend minimum of 5 fundraisers during one year probation period

- Minimum of monthly check in with Freedom Fidos.

- 3 month re-certification process

- Speak at minimum of 5 local events

Write

Acknowledging wartime experiences is an important part of recovering and moving forward. Writing allows participants an outlet to express personal thoughts rather than letting them fester within one's conscience. Writing gives participants a voice. During service in the military soldiers lose their voice, their ability to express their ideas, thoughts, and beliefs. Once a veteran returns to society, this voice becomes difficult to regain and express among others. Every veteran has a story to tell and the Freedom Fido Service Dog program wants to provide an opportunity to tell one's story.

Goals

Individuals cannot chart a new course to make changes in one's life without goals. Every participant will be required to set short and long term goals. Once participants have set these goals, Freedom Fidos Service Dog will help participants achieve them through motivation, support, as well as linking participants with the necessary people and/or resources that can help them achieve their goals.

Capstone:

At the end of the twelve month program, all participants will be awarded permanent custody of their service dog.Freedom Fidos will award participants with a reminder of what they have accomplished, while encouraging them to stay on the path to a healthy future. Freedom Fidos also encourages participants to return to the program as mentors for subsequent Freedom Fidos participants.



Freedom Fidos Organizational Pledge, Promise,and Daily Commitment:

Declaration of Contribution;
I will make good things happen for other people. For those here now and those who come after us..
When things get tough and I fall short I will remind myself I can accomplish anything, with time, effort, patience, and resilience. Anything
When my situation is not the best I will do the best with what I have.
I will be resourceful and responsible…
I will get over myself and expect more of myself.
I will be obligated to this world and the people in it.
I will give more. I will enjoy more..I will love openly
I will fearlessly pursue my dreams
I will express unlimited gratitude
I will fearlessly connect

I will remain committed to my internal authentic state of being.



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