Volunteers Help Renovate Soldier On Service Dogs’ Veterans Center

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Soldiers On Service Dogs is a nonprofit organization based in Fayetteville that trains and provides service dogs to veterans who suffer from PTSD and/or traumatic brain injuries.

The dogs are trained for the owners' specific needs and are given to veterans free of charge.

"Tiger here was the first dog they gave away and I was the first veteran to get a dog," veteran Richard Ellett said.

Ellett suffers from PTSD and his doctor suggested he get a service dog.  Two years ago when the organization started, he became Tiger's new owner.

The service dog helps Ellett get back up when he falls and makes sure he takes his medicine when he's supposed to. He said that he's able to go out and be with people more because of Tiger.

Ellett is a frequent shopper at Home Depot and decided to give back to SOSD by asking for the company's help with a veterans center. The company gladly accepted.

Now, what used to be an old milk barn will soon be a veterans center with computers, Wi-Fi, a kitchenette and much more.

"It's just part of the charitable giving that Home Depot does, and especially geared towards veterans, because this is such a great new organization for this area that we really wanted to be involved in," Fayetteville Home Depot Manager Cira Abiseid said Tuesday (Aug. 24) as volunteers helped with renovations.

Home Depot employees from Kansas and Missouri also volunteered their time to help renovate the new veterans center and many of them are veterans themselves.

Marine Corp veteran and volunteer Rick Norris said he couldn't ask for anything more thank to be able to give back to the veterans.

Ellett hopes other veteran's can get the same help he was able to get when he got his service dog.

The center will be used for activities such as yoga, meditation and anything else geared towards the veterans' needs. A dedication ceremony will be held Tuesday (Aug. 30).