Letter: Thank you, Lions and Leos

By on January 14, 2010

My family has recently been greatly blessed by the Elburn Leos and Lions Clubs. This past fall, we contacted them to inquire if they could help us find a trainer and/or possibly help with funding to purchase a puppy to be used as a service dog for our son with special needs.

Pam Hall, of the Lions, went over and above this request by insisting Max deserved a “real” service dog. I had tried this route for two years with seven service dog organizations, but due to our son’s dual-diagnosis (cognitive and physical impairment plus hearing impairment), one company after another let us know they could not meet his needs.

It was a sad and disappointing time as we knew that a service dog would be a wonderful companion for our son, but more importantly would help keep him safe outdoors as he is prone to wandering off at times. We’d had some scary instances with him getting lost in the corn field, as well as finding him down at the pond on his own.

While my expectations were very low, Pam Hall was not deterred for one minute. She got to work, and in less than a week found an organization, 4 Paws for Ability. We got the wonderful news that they were more than able to train a dog for us and that it would be ready in about one year.

These dogs undergo extensive training (behavior interruption, search and rescue, ambulation stability, etc.) and therefore require a large donation to be made to the organization prior to a dog being trained for a family. Pam took care of that too, and went to the Leos Club on our behalf. After presenting what she called “The Facts About Max” to the Leos, they voted to make the $14,000 donation to 4 Paws in Max’s name. It is quite something to have a group of kids, who have worked very hard to raise every single dollar, decide your child’s independence, happiness and safety are so valuable that they want to donate their funds to help out.

But wait—their generosity did not stop there. Max spent some time with a dear man named Ron during the Leos meeting we attended, where the kids got to tell Max about his new dog. Max must have made quite an impression, as a few months later, Ron encouraged his fellow Lions to use their Candy Day funds to help our family with the hotel expenses when we travel to Ohio for two weeks this August for the mandatory training with the service dog prior to its placement with our family. We got the news of this just prior to Christmas … blessing on top of blessing.

We want to thank every Lion and every Leo. Your support means the world to us, and your generosity blows us away. We asked for a small amount of help and you gave and gave and gave some more. Wow. Thanks also to everyone who attends the Lions functions, such as Elburn Days, Holiday Meat Raffle, Bingo, Draw Downs, Candy Day and the dozens more that take place right in town each week all year long.

Not only are their events a great time, but the funds raised stay right here in the Kaneland area whenever possible.

Gene, Carrie, Riley, & Max Capes
Maple Park