I lost my best friend, Jerry, in March to suicide and since it’s been tough.  At first I had trouble concentrating at work, would break down crying randomly, lost a little bit of drive..it was hard.  After a few months I began to heal, and began to see the best in Jerry and I’s relationship.  Our memories bring me so much joy.

 

So what does this have to do with RWB DOGTAGS?  Good question, glad you asked.  Jerry’s favorite things in this world were baseball, country music, whiskey & beer…and most importantly dogs.  Any dog we walked past he HAD to take a knee and give them some love.  So I wanted to find an organization that I believe he would support but was also geared towards suicide prevention, and found yours.  I love what you’ve started, what I read from your site and would like to support it.

 

In January I’m signing up for a Winter Alcatraz swim, should be loads of fun (im a swimmer..so don’t worry I will survive) and using the event as a way to raise money for your organization. My goal is $1,000 in 2 months.

 

All in all, I wanted to connect my story to you and let you know where I am coming from and why.  I appreciate your time and again thank you for reaching out, means a lot.

 

With love,

 

Pete

This is the Go Fund Me campaign written by Pete:

Hey there I'm Pete. I'd like to take moment to tell you about my best friend Jerry Bogard.

 

In 2009, we met at a house party in San Luis Obispo (SLO). We both attended Cal Poly. That night we had some drinks, laughed and smiled...and made what my mom would call "great" decisions. Neither of us knowing that soon after we'd become coworkers, friends and "bros for life".

 

Jerry and I began working together a few months after the initial meet, as part of the Cal Poly Agricultural Operations (Ag Ops) team. This is where our friendship began to blossom. The next 2+ years were full of fixing farm equipment, cleaning horse / cow shit off farm equipment...then fixing it, welding, breaking, frustration, learning, teaching but most importantly developing. Developing, skills, friendship, compassion, drive, and goals. Jerry had goals, big goals. He was wiser beyond his years. At 21 you would have thought he was in his early 30's, not only because of that kickass beard, but because of the way he presented himself and spoke. He spoke honestly and accurately; and in a caring but direct way. The best part, is that he inspired me and I looked up to him. I felt the drive to do better, be better, act better, care better...all of this from coming from a random party, crazy right??

 

But on March 4th, 2016 Jerry took his life. It's a day I'll never forget. I lost my best friend, my buddy, my brother. I lost that smile, that hearty laugh, that bear hug he'd give me. I can honestly look back the choices I made in life and know that they were the right ones because it led to a wonderful friendship with Jerry and I will cherish it forever. If you know me, you know him because I wouldn't be who I am today without that goofball in my life.

 

The money raised here will be donated to RWB Dog TAGS. I found RWB Dog TAGS and instantly clicked with the organization. Jerry, like myself, loved dogs. This particular non-profit organization raises money to provide support for people (specifically veterans) who, like Jerry, suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts or PTSD. RWB Dog TAGS rescues, trains and pairs pups with veterans. Though Jerry is not a veteran, I know this is an organization he'd support.

Site: http://rwbdogtags.org

Humbling Tribute to a Lost Friend

Peter Kline

April 1, 2016

Dear Maria,

I am responding to your request for information regarding RWB (Red White Blue Dog TAGS) prior to our luncheon with Mr. Severino and General Bedard.  You can find additional information on the website at www.rwbdogtags.org.

I have been an active supporter of this group because of the work they do for veterans.  I am a long time resident of Las Vegas and have known and supported this cause for five years.  I look forward to sharing with you my devotion to this cause.  Milana Leonard founder of RWB Dog TAGS, will accompany me to this luncheon. 

We will bring last year's invitation for the Marine Corps Ball with us.  Please find attached information regarding this organization.

I look forward to this luncheon and meeting Mr. Severino and General Bedard.

Best Regards,

Woody Rossum

Rossum Realty Unlimited

U.S. Vets

 

United States Veterans Initiative

 

I recently had the privilege of meeting the Program Coordinator of R.W.B Dog T.A.G.S. and was introduced to their program.  As a case manager for the Supportive Services for Veterans and the Families Program within U.S. Vets-Las Vegas I have come across a great deal of veterans with pets.  Time and time again I have heard it said that these pets have cared and loved for these veterans when there was no one else.  The SSVF program does an amazing job of keeping our veterans housed and obtaining housing for those individuals who are literally homeless, however, we unfortunately are not able to assist with security deposits for our clients’ pets.  This is where R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. Program steps in.

 

They have done a stellar job of assisting several of my clients with security deposits so that they are off the streets and info housing.  Given there is a great deal of veterans who would rather remain on the streets than part from their pets the R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. Program has made it so that doesn’t have to happen.  Not only has the R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. Program assisted with pet security deposits, but has assisted with dog food, placement assistance, medication and checkups, offered spay and neutering as well as service dog certification.

 

The Supportive Services for Veterans and the Families Program is grateful to the R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. Program for their support.  It is with their assistance that we are able to house so of our veterans.

“Serving Those Who Served”

Christine Cajucom, Family Services Case Manager

Las Vegas, NV

VA of Southern Nevada Healthcare System

 

November 13, 2013

 

I want to salute R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. on their commitment to our Veterans and their dogs.  With my personal experience as a Veteran in recovery and as Peer Support Specialist in the VA Social Work Service, I know firsthand the importance a Veteran’s dog can be.  While working at VA Social Work Services, one of our tasks is to get homeless Veterans off the street.  At one of the neighborhood “sweep” we me a homeless Veteran that was ready for change and wanted to have a place to call home.  He qualifies for assistance in partnership with US Vets but the downside was that he currently owns two dogs of his own and he needed a pet deposit.  To add to the problem, his dogs have occasional seizures that came from the stress of living on the streets.  As we worked with this Veteran, I realized how much he would sacrifice what he had left in life for these dogs before himself.  He owes his life to them as they protected him from being harmed.  I have researched tirelessly to fine a specific kind of assistance / resources with no luck until one day a local animal rescue knew of a person that has been working on building an organization to do exactly what we (the Veterans) needed and then some. R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S.!  They kept the Veteran’s family together just prior to the cold season and helped with the pets’ medication cost.

 

As for me and MANY Veterans who are living with a service connected disability, our pets are considered to be our hope, our life and in some cases, have save our Veterans from committing suicide.  To put it in perspective, Veteran suicide rate in America is 22 a day, nearly one every hour.  There is one place that medicine and psychiatric therapy cannot help in the thinking process while going through recovery, which is thinking with our heart.  My American Bulldog asks nothing from me than to show affection and in his own ways unconditionally gives back.

 

R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. mission is also to rescue dogs in our local community.  After the housing bubble and Las Vegas being the hardest hit, our local animal shelters are beyond capacity only giving abandoned dogs a few days to live.  R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. have a plan to meet with both Veterans and rescue shelters to find a best match companion.  R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. also have the certification to train dogs to assist Veterans with PTSD, depression, and anxiety disorder.  It is rare that we can find an organization that has a dual purpose mission!

 

I STRONGLY believe that R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. commitment will help our community.  I firmly stand behind their mission so will other Veterans, dog lovers, and patriots.

 

Sincerely,

Franklin Thomas Coloma Jr., Veteran & Peer Support Specialist

Las Vegas, NV

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