'Lighting the Path Gala' 2010
The Tower of Hope has announced a new campaign to provide 100 new service dogs over the next 1,000 days. The foundation kicked off the campaign at its fourth annual “Lighting the Path Gala” held at Chelsea Piers in New York City on May 13, 2010.
Introducing the organizations new campaign, Cathy Carilli, the founder and president of The Tower of Hope, said, “We plan to raise over $2.5 million over the next 1,000 days so that 100 seriously wounded veterans will be able to receive trained service dogs at no cost to them personally. By doing so, we will nearly double the number of service dogs in the hands of those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.”
The Tower of Hope’s mission is to fund the expert training of service dogs so that they can be paired with Armed Services veterans who have been severely wounded while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these individuals are amputees, brain-injured, suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or have sustained multiple traumas. The Tower of Hope empowers people with serious disabilities to lead happier and more productive lives by funding the training and pairing of service dogs that can give a disabled veteran daily support, independence, protection, and companionship.
Although over 90,000 servicemen and women have been injured in these wars, very few of those who have suffered serious injuries have been able to receive service dogs to help them navigate their daily lives. It takes two years and as much as $25,000 before a service dog can be trained to meet the specific needs of an injured veteran. The Tower of Hope provides these service dogs free-of-charge to all recipients, and seeks to engage veterinarians to provide care for the dog at nominal or no cost to the recipient. In addition to providing service dogs to wounded veterans, The Tower of Hope provides service dogs to other individuals with serious illnesses or disabilities resulting from multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal injuries, deafness, and other conditions that affect an individual’s mobility.
At the event, The Tower of Hope introduced lead donors Whitney and David Bloom pledged to provide $300,000, enough to enable the training and provision of 12 service dogs. The organization also honored ShopRite Supermarkets for its dedication to helping improve the lives of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and for its continuing support of The Tower of Hope. ShopRite is beginning a special campaign this summer to raise additional funds for organizations that assist veterans, and they have designated The Tower of Hope as one of this campaign’s recipients.
A very moving video of one of the Tower of Hope recipients, Melissa Stockwell, the first woman to lose a limb in the current wars, described how her service dog Jake had changed her life, helping her with daily tasks made difficult by her injuries, and providing her with the comfort of companionship.
Maria Bartiromo, CNBC Financial Expert acted as the event’s emcee. Ms. Bartiromo is currently the anchor of CNBC’s Closing Bell, as well as host and managing editor of the nationally syndicated Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo, which was recently rated the most watched financial news program in America.
The gala’s featured speaker was Congressman Ron Klein from Florida. One of Congressman Klein’s top priorities is to keep America’s promise to care for our veterans, and to improve their quality of life after their service to our country. He recently introduced into Congress the Wounded Warrior K-9 Corps Act (H.R. 3266), new legislation intended to facilitate a significant increase in service animal training programs.
A number of other prominent elected officials and celebrities also attended the gala, as well as many of the recipients whose service dogs were funded through The Tower of Hope.
Here's a look at some highlights of this incredible evening:
Service Dogs in training attend the gala
Silent Auction items were numerous and varied
former honoree LizAnn Sonders welcomes Maria
Emcee Maria Bartiromo introduces TTOH founder
Founder Cathy Carilli opens the program with thanks
Keynote Speaker Congressman Ron Klein from Florida
Board member Matt reads Mayor's Proclamation
Maria introduces '100 dogs in 1000 days campaign'
Lead donor Whitney announces surprise donation
Whitney and husband David celebrate the donation
Auctioneer Rudy opens Live Auction part of program
TTOH member Joanne with veteran Joyce and Brigham
New Horizons founder Janet and her partner
Board member Brian introduces honoree Shoprite
Tom Utz of Shoprite accepts Beacon of Light award
Cathy closes the program amid joy and laughter