Giving Back

Schubach Aviation Teams Up With Shelter to Solider

Each year, five to seven million dogs enter shelters; and every day, a U.S. soldier commits suicide.  Graham Bloem, a dog trainer with strong ties to the U.S. military, pondered these statistics and knew he could do something to help.  Recently he founded Shelter to Soldier, a private San Diego non-profit organization whose mission is to train carefully selected shelter dogs and place them with U.S. military veterans afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in need of a companion service dog.

“When I heard about this organization and its mission, I was compelled to act,” said Henry Schubach, president and founder of Schubach Aviation. “Here was an opportunity to support two causes that are important to us:  dogs and veterans.  We’re looking forward to partnering with Shelter to Soldier in 2013 to help them rescue otherwise unwanted dogs and turn them into needed companions to our returning veterans who might be struggling to re-enter normal life here in our community.”

2013 marks a yearlong fundraising campaign by Schubach Aviation whereby the company will donate one cent for every mile flown by its fleet of 12 private aircraft through December.  Based on current mileage trends, the company expects to raise as much as $12,000 for the organization.  Schubach Aviation will also give its customers the option of matching the company’s “one cent per mile” donation by also contributing to the cause.

Corporal James Norvell and his service dog Ty with Shelter to Soldier founder Graham Bloem

In addition to the monetary donations, Schubach Aviation will partner with Shelter to Soldier to host fundraising events during 2013, and also promote the organization through the company’s full-page color print ads.

“I’m thankful to Schubach Aviation for coming forward as a financial partner, and helping to raise community awareness of our organization’s mission and successes,” said Bloem. “Their support will go a long way to specially train, house and feed the selected shelter dogs, as well as cover medical care, equipment, travel and grooming costs.  More important, Schubach Aviation is helping us save dogs’ lives and the lives of our local veterans.”

Bloem said that the average cost to rescue a dog and put it through the organization’s three-step training program before placing it with a veteran is $8,000 to $10,000.  The organization relies solely on donations from individuals and businesses to operate.

A new Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policy announced last September denies benefits to veterans who use service dogs to help treat their PTSD. Under the new rules, which took effect October 5th, the VA will only pay for service dogs that aid veterans with “visual, hearing, or mobility impairments.”  Meanwhile, studies estimate that one in five military personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan has PTSD, which disrupts daily life and sometimes leads to suicide.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see for myself time and again the tremendous impact that dogs can have on military personnel with PTSD,” said Bloem. “Probably the most rewarding part of what we do at Shelter to Soldier is placing a dog with a veteran once it’s gone through special training.  It’s like no other feeling when I bring that dog to the individual and watch them connect, work together and become a team. Dogs have the ability to bring people suffering from PTSD out of their shell and back into normal, daily life through their devotion and unconditional love.”

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