The Lincoln Awards: A Concert for Veterans and the Military Family plans to recognize a number of outstanding achievers in Washington DC in January. These winners have given support to military veterans and families. The Friars Club is offering this first ever concert to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the following honorees:
Justine Constantine – Veteran Award
Ken Fisher – Citizen Award
Jackie Garrick – Public Service Award
Dean Kamen – Medical and Science Award
Britnee Kinard – Caregiver Award
Bruce Springsteen – Entertainer Award
Team Rubicon – Non-Profit Citizen Award
Walmart – Corporate Citizen Award
Kayla Williams – Artistic Award
Dick Young – Standard Bearer Award
All of these awards will be presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall on January 7, 2015.
One honoree in particular has created an organization for veteran service animals called the SD Gunner Fund. Britnee Kinard founded this organization in 2014 to assist veterans and children with disabilities to fund the necessary expenses of owning service animals. This organization helps with items such as vests, custom harnesses, and more. Kinard, herself, is caregiver to her husband and two sons. Her husband is a retired disabled OIF veteran and her eldest son has a number of disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Stephens-Johnson Syndrome.
Kinard has her family’s service dog, named Gunner, and she understands the needs of veterans and special needs in her own family as a caregiver, full time, to her husband and two boys. Sgt. Kinard’s service dog Gunner became part of their family in 2013. Their service dog has become part of the family, helps watch the kids, and take care of tasks in the home. It took over 15 months working with the Veterans Affairs to get Gunner approved. She wants to help other veterans get through the process that was not so easy for her family and receive a dog like Gunner who she says is a “guardian angel.”
According to Walecia Konrad, and the New York Times, service dogs can be quite expensive. The expenses are approved by the Internal Revenue Service as medical costs, however no health insurance covers these expenses, like buying, feeding and caring for the dogs. Prices for buying and training service dogs can range between $15,000 to $50,000. Costs of vet bills for healthy animals can be around $1500 a year.
Kinard’s SD Gunner Fund helps with some, probably not all, of these expenses and at least helps with the veterans administration and getting approval for service dogs. Please see her website for more information, http://www.sdgunnerfund.org.
The Lincoln Awards concert will be broadcast nationally to help highlight the 150th anniversary of the 2nd inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln where he discussed America’s commitment to care for those who have fought in battle and their families.
Congratulations to all of the Lincoln Award Honorees and thanks to them for all of their efforts to help veterans and their issues after having served America. Everyone should head to the all-star concert on January 7, 2014 to help celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s legacy and his amazing words that helped create our country.