Chick-fil-A Arrowhead, at 16657 N. 83rd Ave., in Peoria, and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 62, 9847 W. Desert Cove Ave., Peoria, teamed up to donate $5,000 to Peoria’s Soldier’s Best Friend.
Soldier’s Best Friend pairs veterans with combat-related post traumatic stress/traumatic brain injury with service dogs. The $5,000 donation will cover the cost of training one veteran/companion pair.
This is the sixth year that the Arrowhead Chick-fil-A and Unit 62 have teamed up for veterans.
“Chick-fil-A Arrowhead has not only donated 11 percent of sales from Veteran’s Day for the past six years, they have invited us into their restaurant to promote patriotism,”, Peoria resident and Unit 62 president Tammy Early stated in a news release. “Sadly COVID-19 hampered our ability to be inside the restaurant this year, but that did not deter the community’s support for our veterans.”
In aggregate, they have donated more than $20,000 to support Peoria’s Soldier’s Best Friend, Tucson Fisher House, Unit 62’s HEAL HER Art program for women veterans and Smiles for Veterans.
Arrowhead Chick-fil-A’s contribution has been more than $15,000 over the five years. This donation marks the third veteran who will be paired with a companion through Soldier’s Best Friend, compliments of the Chick-fil-A Arrowhead/American Legion Auxiliary collaboration.
Soldier’s Best Friend provides United States military veterans living with combat-related post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury with service or therapeutic companion dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once, and inspires others.
Soldier’s Best Friend is an Arizona-based nonprofit that provides training at no cost to the veteran in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott and Sierra Vista. On average, veteran/dog teams complete training in six to nine months.
The training campus is located at 14505 N. 75th Ave., Peoria.
“It truly is our pleasure to contribute to a local program with proven results, like Soldier’s Best Friend, and to spark hope for our Peoria veterans,” Chick-fil-A Arrowhead marketing director Holly Murphy stated.
According to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report published by the U.S. Department to Veterans Affairs, the 2017 suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-veteran adults, after adjusting for population differences in age and sex.
Recent studies indicate increased rates of substance abuse and suicide brought on by unemployment and isolation. The isolation caused by the pandemic has amplified the risk of veteran suicide, according to Unit 62, making local programs like Soldier’s Best Friend an even more important option for veterans in need.
"On behalf of Soldier's Best Friend, I really want to thank Chick-fil-A Arrowhead and Auxiliary Unit 62 again for this generous donation,” Soldier’s Best Friend board member Bob Cooper stated. “This coming year will mark our 300th graduating team. Your organizations have been a big part of that success. We also encourage anyone who wants to become a companion foster to contact us at 623-218-6486."
Visit azpost62.com or email ALAunit62AZ@gmail.com.