Guardian Angels are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a VETTY Award in the Suicide Prevention category by the Academy of United States Veterans (AUSV).
On Saturday, July 3, 2021, the AUSV held their Vetty La Vie Awards ceremony. Actor and philanthropist, Casey Affleck presented the award for Outstanding Service to Veterans in the Suicide Prevention Category to Guardian Angels’ Recipient and Advisory Council Member, Chris Cadigan, with Service Dog Brit at his side.
Chris’ moving speech read
“On behalf of our founder, CEO, and tireless advocate Carol Borden, our board, staff, countless volunteers, foster families, donors, and all the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Recipients, I would like to thank the Academy of United States Veterans for this recognition of 11 years of amazing work, donating hundreds and hundreds of dogs to recipients in 29 states.
Carol and Guardian Angels, have not lost a single recipient to suicide, and have less than a 2 percent divorce rate; lower than the Disabled Veteran rate of 90 up to percent higher than the national rate of 47 percent. We have one of the only college accredited, paid, service dog training apprentice programs, in the entire US which have been approved by the Veterans Administration under the GI Bill and are also taught to incarcerated Veterans.
Guardian Angels have participated in several notable research studies, reinforcing their program’s success, and has a proprietary 6 life-stage training program based on the mental learning capacity of a dog at various stages which builds self-confidence, the ability to think and make life saving decisions, be desensitized to things that would otherwise be scary, and never present a public safety threat, all through positive reinforcement training. In the last year, Guardian Angels created a Medical Savings plan for all of our service dog teams to further enhance the lives of the dogs. Dogs like Brit, by my side, here tonight ensure that our recipients are alerted to their unique diagnosed disabilities quickly; efficiently allowing them to effectively address an onset of symptoms which in many cases allows them to live their lives more fully.
This week, I attended the memorial service and funeral of two friends who succumbed to their invisible injuries, One a US Navy SEAL, friend, mentor and the other a classmate, fellow Army Officer and the friend that I chose to be my best man at my wedding. They had everything to live for, including a family that loved them, teenage children who excelled academically and athletically…..and long and distinguished careers that they could be proud of. It is unknown if a medical Service Dog could have helped them. Both had met my dog and were considering the application process at the time of their deaths.
Guardian Angels receive up to 40 inquiries each day. There is an average wait of approximately a year for any veteran applicant. Should you have the ability to make a donation to help train and pair an amazing dog like Brit, at MedicalServiceDogs.Org you’ll have a direct impact on helping a veteran and Guardian Angels continue this important work.”
This award represents Guardian Angels’ 2nd VETTY win. We were honored to receive the VETTY Award in the Mental Health Category in 2018. Watch Chris’ fantastic acceptance speech below.