FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Awarded Economic Development Grant to Support Construction of New Campus in Washington County, Pennsylvania
WILLISTON, FLORIDA (Jan. 5, 2021) – Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs was recently awarded the Economic Development Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to go toward the construction of its newest facility. Guardian Angels raises, trains and donates medical services dogs to veterans, first responders and civilians with permanent visible and invisible disabilities. These recipients suffer from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, diabetic and seizure disorders, mobility issues and more. Over the last decade, the national nonprofit has placed more than 350 medical service dogs across 29 states with more than 40 recipients in Pennsylvania.
The grant comes as part of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), which supports the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. The awarded funds will be used toward Guardian Angels newest campus in Washington County on a sprawling 102 acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. This is Guardian Angels’ first facility outside of its home state of Florida and will serve as their campus for the Northeastern United States region. Naming rights, matching donations and other fundraising opportunities are still available, with the facility already receiving pledges for support from major donors.
“Guardian Angels’ new state-of-the-art facility will be a unique asset to our Commonwealth and undoubtedly provide critical support to those who are paired with service dogs throughout our state. It will also provide significant economic opportunity through new jobs in the construction phase of the project and throughout the facility’s lifetime, as well as provide vocational training for new careers in the pet industry,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs would like to thank Governor Wolf. In addition, many thanks go to Senators Camera Bartolotta, Michele Brooks and Pam Iovino; Representatives Jason Ortitay, Valerie Gaydos and Tim O’Neal; Washington County Board of Commissioners Diana Irey Vaughn, Larry Maggi and Nick Sherman; and Washington County Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Bill McGowen for their support.
The Rocky Bleier Construction Group has been chosen by Guardian Angels as construction manager for this project.
“As a service-disabled veteran, I understand the plight of the veteran and the visible and invisible wounds many of our service men and women return home with,” said Rocky Bleier, former Pittsburgh Steelers halfback and owner of Rocky Bleier Construction Group. “Guardian Angels has changed the lives of so many individuals already, and I am proud to have my company involved in a project that will better the lives of so many more.”
“I am extremely grateful to Governor Wolf for his efforts in bringing economic development to the people of his Commonwealth by supporting our unique and lifesaving campus to be built in Pennsylvania,” said Carol Borden, founder and CEO of Guardian Angels. “We will be positively changing and even saving lives through our highly skilled medical service dogs, bringing new revenue opportunities to the state, and employing many people, as well as teaching new career paths through our apprenticeship and vocational programs.”
Guardian Angels’ medical service dogs undergo a rigorous two-year training process, written by Borden, which is one of the only college accredited curriculums on training service dogs in the United States and is also approved by the Veterans Administration. It costs more than $25,000 for the organization to raise and train a single medical service dog. These dogs are then donated to recipients free of charge.
To learn more or donate to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, please visit Medical Service Dogs.
Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is a 501(C)3 headquartered in Florida that rescues, raises, trains, and then donates individually trained medical service dogs to veterans, first responders and others who suffer from disabilities including PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, seizure and diabetic disorders, mobility issues and much more. Over the past 10 years, Guardian Angels has paired more than 350 individually trained medical service dogs with recipients in 29 states and trained the #1 Service Dog in the US and the Top American Dog Hero of the year for 2019. With your help, the number of recipients paired can continue to grow. Visit our website at: Medical Service Dogs to get involved or learn more.