Nonprofit Cofounder Dixie Whitman Honored As 'A Voice For Human And Canine Soldiers'
By: Military Working Dog Team Support Association, Inc
CANTON, Ga. - Nov. 5, 2016 - PRLog -- Today, the Military Working Dog Team Support Association (MWDTSA) celebrates its 10th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R--6th Congressional District) introduced a Congressional Resolution to thank MWDTSA co-founder Dixie Whitman for her work as president of the organization through 2015 and for "being a voice for human and canine soldiers."
With a mission of "supporting both ends of the leash," MWDTSA sends quarterly care packages to K9 teams from all branches of the military deployed overseas. These dogs and their handlers protect our troops via explosives detection, security, tracking, patrolling, specialized search, and drug detection.
With volunteers in 23 states and a notable roster of generous donors, MWDTSA has mailed over 4,000 care packages since 2006. Additionally, the group supports stateside military kennels with supplies, commemorates fallen handlers and MWDs, and provides public education about military working dogs.
MWDTSA's journey from homegrown to a national nonprofit has been a humble one. In the late 1990s, Whitman visited the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association (VDHA) website, which contained a Q&A feature. A German Shepherd Dog enthusiast, she started asking questions, and MWDTSA co-founder LTC Ken Besecker, US Army (Ret.), was one of several Vietnam veterans who answered those queries. He shared about the Vietnam dogs and their handlers, the tragic end many of these MWDs faced, and the shameful welcome Vietnam veterans received upon their return home.
Whitman recalls, "It became clear to me that many of these veterans had never heard a simple thank you for their service." She set out to rectify this, pouring her own time and money into helping organize events to honor MWD handlers and their dogs.
In 2006, Whitman sat at her cluttered kitchen table, packing homemade peanut brittle, cookies, and dog supplies into 12 boxes destined for K9 teams deployed overseas. She had been doing this on her own dime for a few years, but this was the first care package as an official nonprofit.
Coming full circle, the group is back at Whitman's home assembling its 41st set of quarterly care packages--this time, 175 of them. Though the number of teams supported has expanded, as well as the caliber and quantity of the care package contents, one thing remains constant. "What hasn't changed over ten years is the deep patriotic emotion and gratitude sent with each box," says Whitman.
For more information on MWDTSA's history and the Congressional Resolution, email email@example.com. MWDTSA relies on donations from the public and local businesses throughout the United States. To learn more about how you can support MWD teams, visit http://mwdtsa.org/
Nikki Rohrig, President
Military Working Dog Team Support Association, Inc