ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Hundreds came together for the 1Oth annual Hero’s First Golf Tournament benefiting paws4vets, and organization that helps raise and train service dogs for veterans suffering with a variety of illnesses.
“The amount of money that’s raised and the amount of care and compassion you see its just genuine," said two-tour war Veteran Andrew Doble. Doble is among the almost 600 people to receive a paws4vets service dog. “It saved my life, really literally and figuratively,” added Doble.
Doble completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said after being medically retired he lost his purpose and began drifting about into depression.
“I wasn’t really here but I was here, even with my family. At a certain point you just kinda keep saying why would want to go on like this because you're miserable and you're making the other people around you miserable”, said Doble.
That’s when paws4vets paired Doble with his service dog HARBOR and a transformation began.
“A lot of our veterans returning from service they either have TPI’s or they are experiencing PTSD from events they have seen from their time serving, and we have found that the service dogs are a huge help in helping relieve their symptoms," said Samantha Cleary with paws4vets.
It’s estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide each day, and paws4vets officials said the more dogs they provide, the more they can help decrease that number. But at a cost of $60,000 per dog, getting the animal to a veteran in need can be difficult. That’s why each year the nonprofit Heroes First holds an annual golf tournament benefiting the organization.
“This is our 10th year being a beneficiary of this golf tournament and each year we get a $100,000 from this tournament and this really helps us offset the cost to all our clients to receive their dogs at no cost,” added Cleary.
And, the golfers participating like George Ford said it’s their honor to help.
“Out of all the golf tournaments we play this is my favorite because of the dogs for the veterans and getting to interact with veterans out here, it’s just a good time," said Ford. “I’ve talked to the soldiers that get the dogs and they say they would be here without it, so that’s one of the reasons I keep coming back.”
As for Doble and HARBOR, the pair have an unbreakable bond.
“She really brought me out of that place I was in,” said Doble.
If you're interested in donating to paws4vets, click here.