Spending years as a combat Army medic meant trauma was a part of Thomas’ daily life. His return to civilian life was marred by post-traumatic stress disorder. Thomas was anxious, depressed and withdrawn. He felt worthless and thought about suicide all the time.
Sadly, many of United States veterans struggle similarly to Thomas. Every day, approximately 20 Veterans die by suicide and K9s For Warriors is working to change that. As the largest provider of military passenger and cargo airlift globally to U.S. service members, our support for U.S. service members, veterans and their families extends beyond each mission through partnerships such as the one we have with K9s For Warriors.
In keeping with our commitment to improving the lives of others, Atlas closed out 2023 with a significant donation of $30,000 to K9s For Warriors. This was part of a matching campaign that was promoted on Instagram, featuring Thomas with his service dog Titan, an Atlas-sponsored dog, and Gary Wade, Senior Vice President, Security. In this Instagram video, details on the match campaign were provided, along with Gary’s insight into Atlas’ commitment to K9s for Warriors, “There’s nothing that makes you feel better than giving – that’s what it’s all about – and that is ingrained in the Atlas ethos. That’s what we believe in.”
According to Thomas, being paired with Titan has helped him get his life back.
“K9s for Warriors helped me be the father I needed to be for my children and the husband I needed to be for my wife…K9s gave me the gift of the life I wanted to live again.
“All that was made possible from the generous support of Atlas Air. Atlas has gone above and beyond to make sure not only my life has been saved…but that I’m thriving in this new life. They have gone above and beyond to help other warriors as well and pair them with service dogs.”
At the end of the one day campaign, funds raised plus Atlas’ contribution totaled just shy of $60,000.
“That is the cost for us to pair two Warriors with their Service Dogs,” explained Carly Braun, Development Manager, Corporate Partners. “Or it covers about ten Warriors’ needs during their 21-day, residential training with us. It also equals 150 Warrior K9 essential packs to get the veterans started caring for their dogs. As you can see, there are multiple ways to say, major impact. We are so grateful to Atlas for their support.”
To date, Atlas has sponsored three service dogs – Atlas, Titan and Polar – who have been matched with Warriors Zoe, Thomas and Joey respectively. For those interested in supporting K9s For Warriors, please click here.