Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Iowa Fraternal Order of Eagles Donates $138,000!

Nolan, a child residing in Polk County, Iowa, was on hand to thank donors. 
He looks forward to receiving his own autism-assistance dog in July 2014.
The Iowa State Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.) recently donated more than $138,000 to Paws & Effect, so that the Central Iowa non-profit trainer of service animals could maintain and expand its production of dogs specially trained for children with autism.

The donation was the result of fund-raising efforts from 39 FOE chapters, called "aeries," across the state. And donations continue to arrive. "The funds raised will be vitally important in growing and maintaining our efforts to serve children with autism," says Nicole Shumate, executive director of Paws & Effect.

Service animals are trained to perform physical tasks in support of a specific individual. By law, service animals are granted access to public spaces along with their handlers.

The cost of a finished service animal can range from $15,000 to $25,000 each, given training, food, veterinary care, uniforms, equipment, and other costs borne by the Paws & Effect organization. Paws & Effect trains service and mobility animals for military veterans, children, and others. Animals are placed at no cost to recipients, and those recipients train directly with their animals prior to the dogs' "graduation."

Paws & Effect has previously placed three dogs with children with autism, and two more dogs are nearly ready to graduate. A new class of puppies will arrive in the fall.

Serving children with autism is an outgrowth of Paws & Effects' long-standing commitment to children with special healthcare needs. Through its "Abilities Through Agility" program, Paws & Effect has been working since 2007 with another Central Iowa non-profit, ChildServe, to pair children and therapy animals in pursuing physical-, occupational-, and speech-therapy objectives. Unlike service animals, therapy animals are trained and socialized to serve general populations.

"For such a small and scrappy organization like ours, those years of experience put us on the cutting edge of developing service animals for children with specialized healthcare needs," says Shumate. "Nationwide, we seem to be one of the leading organizations working in this way."

The Fraternal Order of Eagles' mission is "an international non-profit organization, [that] unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope."

According to the organization, national membership exceeds 850,000, with more than 1,400 local aeries in the United States and Canada. Women's auxiliaries total more than 1,300, with more than 250,000 members.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Iowa Craft Beer Company to Donate Sales

The newly launched Old Legion Brewing Company, Ladora, Iowa, is donating a 15 percent of sales of its inaugural "Big Gun Lager" to Paws & Effect, a central Iowa-based non-profit that trains service animals for military veterans and others.

The company mission statement reads, "Old Legion Brewing Company's mission is to provide a quality, military themed craft beer at a fair price, engage the beer drinking community to build awareness of veteran issues, employ veterans, and raise money for local veteran causes."

Ladora restauranteur and Old Legion founder Dimitri Makedonsky (recently profiled in the Des Moines Register) was inspired to start the company after renovating a former American Legion hall. While not a brewer himself, he has contracted the production of Old Legion recipes to Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe, Wis.

Each Old Legion label features a tribute to a military veteran—the first will be B-24 pilot Robert Ahrens of Jewell, Iowa. Makedonsky, 52, is himself an Army and Air Force veteran, and other family members are, too. Makedonsky invites Iowans to nominate other veterans for future labels.

The company will placing official military seal and symbols on its products. Instead, Big Gun Lager appropriately features the silhouette of a tank. The company describes the beer as having "light aromas of malt and grain, a pleasant hoppy bitterness with a hint of sweetness. Big Gun Lager was placed in cold storage (lagered) for a minimum of 35 days resulting in its clean, crisp, smooth taste." The product is 5 percent alcohol by volume.

Makedonsky is currently seeking to hire veterans and others to establish a distribution beachhead. Contact the company via: careers AT

Meanwhile, he's also personally visiting veterans' halls and small-town taverns to find distribution for some 4,400 cases that will soon be "air-dropped" into Iowa. He can be reached at cell phone: 641.990.9360.