DES MOINES –The Puppy Jake Foundation, a local non-profit organization that trains and provides service dogs for the combat veterans who need them, will be recognized Saturday at the Iowa Barnstormers‘ Fifth Annual Military Appreciation Night.
The organization, founded by Des Moines businesswoman Becky Beach and Barnstormers principal owner Jeff Lamberti, takes its name from a four-year-old Labrador Retriever named Puppy Jake, a well-known advocacy ambassador.
“Our mission is to connect well-bred, socialized and professionally trained service dogs with combat veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or have other needs that require the assistance of a service dog,” Beach said. “The Barnstormers game is an excellent opportunity to share our story with a wider audience of Iowans who appreciate our mission and deeply respect the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in uniform.”
The Barnstormers will take on their Arena Football League Eastern Division rivals, the Philadelphia Soul. Doors to Wells Fargo Arena will open at 6:00 p.m. with kickoff set for 7:05 p.m. Military personnel from around the area have been invited to attend the game. Puppy Jake Foundation will be the charity recipient of the 50/50 raffle taking place during the game.
Before the kickoff, fans can have their pictures taken with military vehicles. Several military guests will take part in pre-game activities, including a bagpipe performance by the Mackenzie Highlanders Pipes and Drums. Army Sgt. Bobby Jones will sing the national anthem. All proceeds from the auction of game-worn, camouflage jerseys will benefit the American Legion Riders Post 663.
“Puppy Jake is a wonderful ambassador for a very important cause but he’s also been a favorite with Barnstormers fans — young and old — from the first day he stepped paw into Wells Fargo Arena. He’ll also be available for photos with fans as he takes part in the evening’s activities,” Beach said.
Three breeds of dogs — Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers — are trained through the foundation’s work. Its first class of service dogs is expected to be ready for service this fall.
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