Second annual SD Gunner Fund Sporting Clay Shootout works to provide service dogs to local community

SD Gunner Fund members look forward to the annual clay shooting event. They will host a Sporting Clay Shootout April 17 in Midway.
SD Gunner Fund members look forward to the annual clay shooting event. They will host a Sporting Clay Shootout April 17 in Midway.
SD Gunner Fund will host their second annual Sporting Clay Shootout on April 17 in Midway at the Dorchester Shooting Preserve. This event raises donations to provide service dogs to veterans, first-responders and exceptional needs children while also inspiring disability awareness through public education and awareness.

The catered event includes 15 clay pigeon target stations simulating the unpredictability of live-quarry shooting with a variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations, distances and target sizes. There will be auction items, top shooter prizes and swag bags. In addition, a variety of sponsorship opportunities have been created, catering to all budgets and commitment levels.

click to enlarge Service Dog Finley works for a female veteran and first responder. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SD GUNNER FUND
Photo courtesy of SD Gunner Fund
Service Dog Finley works for a female veteran and first responder.
Britnee Kinard started the volunteer-led non-profit organization in 2014 after her husband, retired Sgt. Hamilton Kinard suffered life-altering injuries while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. SD Gunner Fund is named after their mascot and Hamilton’s Great Pyrenees service dog, Gunner.

“My family and I have struggled to navigate our way through the system, and we do not want anyone to ever have to go through what we’ve been through,” Britnee said. “Service animals help veterans like my husband so much, but the government refuses to recognize this.”

Elena Nock, SD Gunner Fund Sporting Clay event chairperson, said “It started with Britnee’s vision training dogs and has blossomed from there.”

Last year’s event raised over $17,000 and all of the donations stayed in the local community.

“This event is geared toward raising money for service dogs, but that is not all we do,” Nock said. “A lot of the other things we offer are community support for veterans, first responders, and special needs classrooms. We bring the dogs once or twice a year to the classroom, we feed veterans and have helped pay bills.”

The organization also offers service dog training.

“We offer classes teaching owners and qualified dogs obedience and train service dogs,” Nock said. “Some might want mobility training or anxiety interruption, or special needs assistance for Autistic children.”

LeAnn Dehoney received her service dog Finley from SD Gunner Fund.

click to enlarge Service Dog Bambi works for a veteran’s dependent. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SD GUNNER FUND
Photo courtesy of SD Gunner Fund
Service Dog Bambi works for a veteran’s dependent.
“Finley has changed my life in more ways than I ever imagined possible,” she said. “He is always there for me. If I am sad or upset, he is patient and never leaves me. He never judges me based on my disabilities; instead he loves me more because he knows I need it. I used to get very anxious in big groups because I always felt awkward or uncomfortable. Having my best friend by my side gives me purpose and brings me so much joy and love. I could not imagine my life without him!"

SD Gunner Fund hopes to raise over $25,000 for their event this year to support veterans, first-responders and children living with disabilities in the local community.

For information, visit sdgunner.org.

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