Ahead of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Powell, Tenn.-based Weigel’s presented a check to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs for $45,404.20 — enough to raise and train two service dogs — thanks to donations from customers.
The dogs, Sadie and Wiggles, both named by Weigel’s, are ready for placement. Sadie has been placed with U.S. Army Veteran Chuck Stewart. Smoky Mountain Service Dogs held a special, socially distanced celebration on Nov. 10.
“This is such a meaningful donation to be able to support the two dogs that will in turn be able to support our Veteran heroes” said Mike Kitchens, Volunteer Chair for Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. “We are immensely grateful for all the Weigel’s customers who so graciously gave to make this possible.”
The Smoky Mountain Service Dog program provides, at no charge to veterans in need, specially trained service dogs to aid in assistance and companionship. Dogs are trained for many Veteran related disabilities such as providing navigation and assisting in mobility. The cost to raise and train just one service dog is approximately $22,000 before they can be matched to a veteran.
Smoky Mountain Service Dogs celebrated another milestone with the opening of its new Veteran/Canine Training Center on Nov. 2. The new facility will provide additional space for increasing the number of dogs that can be trained to become available for Veterans.
“We are fortunate to have the support of so many customers who have made this donation possible”, said Bill Weigel, chairman for Weigel’s. “On the heel of Veterans Day, it gives us such joy to know we can make a difference in the lives of those that so unselfishly sacrificed for all of us.”
Weigel’s is a family owned and operated East Tennessee business. Weigel’s operate 68 convenience stores, a dairy and a bakery, all within a 100 mile radius of corporate headquarters in Powell, Tenn. The bright spacious stores represent state-of-art convenience retailing, heroic customer service and unconditionally guaranteed products.