Venture for Veterans Challenge Huge Success for Veterans
Paws for Purple Hearts’ First National Fundraising Event, Venture for VeteransTM Colorado Cycling Challenge, was a Huge Success!
Venture for VeteransTM Colorado Cycling Challenge was the first ever national fundraising event for Paws for Purple Hearts. “We anticipate this is the first of many Venture for Veterans challenges” says Greg Sipple, CEO.
The Venture for Veterans™ Colorado Cycling Challenge was a huge success! Although we don’t have exact numbers yet (donations from Venture for Veterans Colorado Cycling Challenge continue to come in), Paws for Purple Hearts grossed approximately $200,000, which will be put to good use getting more injured heroes Warrior Canine TherapyTM service dogs and facility dogs.
The kickoff for Venture for Veterans Colorado Cycling Challenge began on August 29th at Coors Field during a Rockies vs Tigers game. The ceremonial first pitch for the game was “thrown” by Yoko, one of the service dogs trained and deployed by Paws for Purple Hearts. Yoko’s perfect strike was delivered to the Rockies’ catcher who welcomed Yoko with a huge smile. It’s unusual to see a catcher receive the ceremonial first pitch with such pure joy. The look on his face said it all: witnessing service dogs for Veterans in action is heartwarming and cause for celebration!
Major, another Paws for Purple Hearts trained and deployed service dog, was also in attendance and expressed his excitement by playing with the world’s largest stuffed animal, Dinger the Rockies’ mascot.
The crowd at Coors Field was astounded by Yoko’s pitch and were supportive of Paws for Purple Hearts, wanting to speak with the Veterans, interact with Yoko and Major and meet Paws for Purple Hearts personnel.
The Challenge for PPH’s first Venture for Veterans™ was undertaken by Jerry Schemmel. Jerry is an accomplished sportscaster, motivational speaker and marathon cyclist, and he’s the Rockies’ play-by-play radio announcer. Jerry wanted to bring attention to the challenges of wounded Veterans and the solutions Paws for Purple Hearts provides our heroes by cycling non-stop across the state of Colorado. “ The entire experience working with Paws for Purple Hearts was such a blessing to me! From top to bottom, this organization couldn’t have been kinder or more helpful”, remarked Schemmel.
While Jerry’s main focus was to make civilians aware of the challenges our wounded Veterans face, he also wanted to beat the UltraMarathon Cycling Association’s record for fastest non-stop solo ride across the state; 468 miles in 32 hours, 9 minutes. “What an honor to work with Paws for Purple Hearts and do a small part to help our Veterans. I believe civilians have an obligation to help those who have served our country” Jerry stated.
Beginning at dawn on August 31, Jerry hit the road at the Colorado/Utah border with support crew (including Veterans and service dogs Yoko and Major) and documentary filmmakers following in vehicles. Jerry stopped along the route to thank community supporters and peddled his hardest to raise money and awareness for our injured heroes through Paws for Purple Hearts. Jerry’s official time was 33 hours and 3 minutes, just missed breaking the record by less than an hour.
The dogs, the Veterans they assist, the Rockies organization and Jerry Schemmel were amazing ambassadors for Paws for Purples Hearts’ mission throughout Colorado. Paws for Purple Hearts extends its deepest gratitude to all parties involved who made this challenge a success and especially to the hundreds of individuals, corporations and foundations who donated.
“I’ve been involved with a lot of fundraisers over the years but this one, with Paws for Purple Hearts, might be the most rewarding I’ve had. Everybody jumped in and was 100% committed to our goal. I felt like a member of a special team, all committed to the same great cause.” ~ Jerry Schemmel.