Final preparations are underway for Starkville Restaurant Week beginning on Monday, March 28, and we are getting excited to see what our 29 participating restaurants will have to offer! You can look forward to an eclectic array of cuisine choices, showcasing some of Starkville’s favorite menu items. Plus, we think they will have a few specials to roll out as well! During Starkville Restaurant Week, however, great food isn’t the only exciting feature. Good eats do good as we showcase three very deserving charities… Starkville Backpack Buddies, Grassroots Animal Rescue, and today’s feature, Vets for Vets! We received nearly 1000 nominations, and these three were the top Charity Finalists. Every time you eat at one of our participating restaurants next week, you’ll have the opportunity to vote for one of them to win our $5000 grand prize, courtesy of Cadence Bank. We’re counting on you to eat, vote and repeat all week long!
VETS FOR VETS
How long has your organization been in operation and how was it founded?
Vets for Vets was found in 2015 by the Mississippi College of Veterinary Medicine first year DVM students. Each CVM class focuses on a cause they want to support, this class decided to start their very own project. DVM student Courtney Griffin was exposed to the physical challenges retired military dogs face. Wanting to do something to support our nation’s four legged heroes, she and her classmates developed Vets for Vets. They worked with the Columbus Air Force Base to identify dogs that needed special rehab services and they raised the funds to treat the dogs.
What is your organization’s on-going mission?
To improve the quality of life of retired military and police dogs through physical rehabilitation and specialty veterinary services. Additionally, the program seeks to lift the financial burden from the dogs’ handlers so they do not have to pay out of pocked for costly rehabilitation treatments.
Does your organization work with any other groups or non-profit organizations to accomplish its mission?
Yes, Vets for Vets receives dog referrals from the Columbus Air Force Base. We also recently teamed up with the MSU Extension Service to reach police officers in all counties to let them know that their retired dogs qualify for the services.
In what ways does your organization impact Starkville and the Golden Triangle area?
Military dogs retire to many different communities including ours. With the Air Force Base in the Golden Triangle, we know there are dogs with handlers on the base.
Can you briefly share one of your success stories?
A large, handsome German shepherd, Maci served as a military working dog for almost six years, including three tours in Afghanistan and one in Oman with his handler, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Karl Stefanowicz. During active service, he was credited with multiple explosive finds. Maci, despite the name is a male. He was enrolled in the Vets for Vets program spending time with the rehab specialist receiving laser therapies, time in the endless pool and on the aquatic treadmill. Sgt. Stefanowicz said that Maci has become an honorary MSU bulldog and has begun acting like a puppy again. His pain has been significantly reduced allowing him a much higher quality of life.
Where can people go to learn more about your organization, and how can people get involved?
They can call 662-325-1100 or visit www.cvm.msstate.edu
You’re one of our Top Three SRW Charities! Now tell us what it means to you to be included as part of Starkville Restaurant Week as one of the Top Three Charities.
We are thrilled that this wonderful community has recognized our organization! Our U.S. soldiers are supported by military working dogs and we appreciate the community’s willingness to support our mission in taking care of the dogs who have risked so much and worked so hard for all of us. Thank you! It’s also an honor to be nominated along with two other really important charities.
Thank you to CADENCE BANK for supporting Starkville Restaurant Week as our grand prize Charity Sponsor. Cadence Bank will be awarding $5000 to the charity that receives the most votes during this year’s week of eating — March 28 – April 3, 2015.
In addition, the 2nd place charity will be awarded $1000, courtesy of Vollor Law Firm, and the 3rd place charity will be awarded $500, courtesy of Copy Cow. During Starkville Restaurant Week, everybody wins — each of our three deserving charities and YOU, our local eaters!