General Motors Wentzville Assembly, the largest manufacturer in St. Charles County, recently partnered with CHAMP Assistance Dogs, a non-profit organization which places skilled service dogs with people who have disabilities to help them lead lives of greater independence, and places facility dogs with professionals who utilize their dogs’ unique skills in healthcare facilities, courthouses, and children’s advocacy centers.
GM Wentzville Assembly’s UAW local 2250 Veteran’s Committee reached out to assist in generating funds for CHAMP’s newest initiative, Veteran’s Independence Partners, by hosting a fundraising activity at each employee entrance during the plant’s three shift changes on September 13 and 14.
“Working on behalf of veterans is a very important cause to many of us at GM Wentzville Assembly” said UAW President, Glenn Kage Jr. “We currently employ approximately 350 veterans with many more employees having loved ones who are serving or have previously served.” Satya Veerapaneni, Plant Executive Director added, “This is one way we can offer support to a local organization that is truly meaningful to our plant population.”
Through this two-day fundraising event GM/UAW Wentzville employees collected $3200.00 for CHAMP Assistance Dogs. CHAMP Executive Director, Pam Budke stated, “This is the 20th anniversary of CHAMP Assistance Dogs. Working with organizations such as GM and their UAW employees is helping give our Veteran’s Independence Partners program greater awareness.” It costs up to $20,000 to train and place a service dog. Typically, CHAMP charges a $50 application fee for a service dog. Yet, CHAMP waives this fee for all veterans.
Nola Ewers, Founder and Director of the Assistance Dog Program stated, “We are honored to be partnering with GM and the UAW particularly when it comes to helping our veterans. And, it’s heartwarming to see the smiling faces of GM employees when greeted by the assistance dogs at the entrances during the event.”