Blog : Charity

Southern hospitality thrives at newest NextHome franchise

Southern hospitality thrives at newest NextHome franchise

Martha & Todd LeBlanc

Pleasanton, CA — September 24, 2019 — NextHome is happy to announce the latest addition to the franchise in Louisiana, NextHome Bayouside. Led by business partners Martha LeBlanc and Todd LeBlanc, the company represents NextHome’s sixth office opened in the Pelican State. The team officially opened NextHome Bayouside’s doors in Schriever, Louisiana on June 1st, 2019. 

Martha and Todd, who despite sharing a last name are not related, hope their brick and mortar location will become an inviting meeting place for locals across their service area. The city of Schriever is located about 55 miles south of New Orleans. The NextHome Bayouside team is happy to help clients across Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, and Assumption parishes including the towns of Houma, Thibodaux, Morgan City, and the remainder of the Southern Louisiana area.

At NextHome Bayouside’s grand opening on September 9th, more than 50 people gathered in celebration as the Terrebonne Parish president officially cut an orange ribbon at the front door. 

The NextHome Bayouside team offers a combined three decades of experience to serve first-time homebuyers and those looking to buy or sell investment properties, mobile homes, commercial properties, and camps. 

Real estate became Martha’s second career after 22 years as a high school home economics teacher, and 10 years a Diagnostician. The Schriever native got her real estate license in March 2008. 

“Real estate is so fun and exciting,” Martha said. “It makes people very happy and I love that I get to be a part of that.”

Martha began her career with Patterson Real Estate where she remained for five years. In her first week, she remembered feeling that she would be successful in a job she loved. 

“In my first week there, I got my first listing just taking desk duty, which I then sold,” Martha said. 

That first year, Martha discovered great personal and financial success in real estate – the former teacher was hooked. 

Martha eventually moved to a boutique company called Propriete Shoppe and remained with them for almost six years. Martha then started working with Pogo Realty LLC and that is where she met Todd. 

Also a Schriever local, Todd LeBlanc enjoyed a career in human resources and property management. However, during a downturn, he lost his human resources job. 

“It was exactly what I needed to start pursuing my real passion – real estate,” Todd said. 

A self-described real estate nerd, Todd has been interested in the local housing market as a hobby for many years. In 2015, he got his real estate license and began working for Pogo Realty LLC, which is where he met Martha. 

“My first year of real estate my broker and I joked that I seemed to attract the most difficult deals,” Todd recalled. “It was just how things coincidentally shook out, but it taught me a lot. It ended up that my first year I did very well, and things have been progressing ever since.”

In 2019, Martha and Todd talked about opening their own brokerage because they wanted to provide one-of-a-kind support and service for both agents and clients in their family-oriented town. 

“I remember telling Martha, ‘Let’s see what we can do to not recreate the wheel,’” Todd said. 

Through mutual friends in real estate, Martha and Todd found NextHome. 

“Humans over houses is a mantra that NextHome uses and it was something that caught our eye,” Martha said. “It’s something we and our agents truly believe in and practice.”

In an effort to make Southern hospitality the core of their business, Martha and Todd plan to host an old fashioned veillié once a week at their Schriever offices.

“When we were growing up, on a Sunday afternoon, we were told by our parents that we were going to make a veillié which means we are going to visit friends and family and sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or have a small snack,” Martha said. “Once a week we are going to have a veillié at our office. On Thursday mornings, we are going to put on a pot of coffee and welcome folks to come and visit from 7:30 am to 9 am.”

In addition to making their office a friendly gathering place, Martha and Todd are active in various community service organizations. Martha is an active member of Rotary and instituted the Angel Gown Project. 

“I take wedding gowns and sew them into baptismal gowns for babies who pass away in the hospital,” Martha said. “Every one of these dresses are unique – one of a kind, filled with lace and details.”

Martha has been honored with the Bayou Board of Realtors Community Service Award two years in a row for her efforts. 

Todd is the incoming president of the Bayou Board of REALTORS® and has been active with the board since 2016. NextHome Bayouside is also proud to support the Thibodaux Recreation Department as a sponsor of their flag football team. 

Martha has been married for nine years to Don Barré, also an agent with NextHome Bayouside. When she is not helping agents and clients, Martha enjoys being with family, traveling, and honing her hobby as a gourmet cook. 

Todd was married in early September to his sweetheart Bryan Scott. When he is not working, Todd enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and good food. He is a self-proclaimed gourmet eater. Martha proudly made the cake for Todd and Bryan’s wedding. 

“We are excited to see the impact Martha and Todd will have on their community and those they serve,” said Imran Poladi, NextHome’s Vice President. “We wish them all the best success.” 

Please join us in congratulating the NextHome Bayouside team in southern Louisiana!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Business Owner Insurance Solutions

Business Owner Insurance Solutions

As a business owner, you essentially have TWO families to take care of: 1) your family at home (spouse, children, relatives, partner, etc.) and 2) your work family (employees, business partners, etc.)  These people rely on you to be present, engaged, and earning income.  With September being Life Insurance Awareness Month, it is a great time to review your business insurance strategy and see if you can implement any of the ideas below:

  • Individual Life Insurance
    1. A policy that covers one person and pays out a claim upon death
      1. Affordable coverage available in a variety of policy types
      2. Ideal for entrepreneur with no staff, but is a contributing income at home
  • Disability Insurance
    1. A policy that covers one person and pays out a claim upon a qualifying disability that removes a person from their normal working capacity
      1. Affordable coverage available in a variety of policy types
      2. Ideal for protecting an income stream for business owners or employees
  • Buy-Sell Agreements
    1. A legal contract among owners to buy out the portion of the deceased’s business share.
      1. Life insurance can be used to “fund” these types of contracts!
      2. Secure a life insurance policy naming the business partner as beneficiary for built in purchasing power to retain the business
  • Key Person Insurance
    1. Life or disability insurance purchased by a business on an employee that is payable to the business.
      1. This ensures business revenues continue even if a pivotal team member is no longer able to function in their usual capacity due to death or disability
      2. Revenues keep business operational even in time of crisis

Your livelihood depends on income and sustained business.  You’d be surprised at the creative solutions our team can develop for business owners like YOU!  We’re ready to help you implement smart insurance strategies.

Contact Gateway Insurance Group at: 858-428-3929 or www.gatewayig.com/nexthome

To learn more, read the brochure, “Taking care of Business” by the nonprofit agency, Life Happens:

https://lifehappens.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Brochure_TakingCareofBusiness_2014_Consumer.pdf

Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated. The information in this email is confidential and is intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the intended addressee and have received this email in error, please reply to the sender to inform them of this fact. We cannot accept trade orders through email. Important letters, email, or fax messages should be confirmed by calling 1-858-GATEWAY  . This email service may not be monitored every day, or after normal business hours.

Michael and Dee Norris Open NextHome’s Newest Franchised Location

Michael and Dee Norris Open NextHome’s Newest Franchised Location

Michael and Dee Norris

Pleasanton, CA — August 30, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce the latest addition to the franchise, NextHome Norris & Company Realty. The brokerage will represent the 59th NextHome franchised location in the state of Florida.

The company will be owned and operated by the top-producing husband and wife team Michael and Dee Norris.

Based out of Winter Haven, NextHome Norris & Company Realty will provide residential sales, investment property, second-home and vacation rental property, luxury, multi-family, condos, land sales, as well as commercial services to the counties of Winter Haven, Lakeland, Auburndale, Davenport, Lake Wales, Haines City, Dundee, Lake Hamilton, and the remainder of Polk County.

Winter Haven is located 50 miles west of downtown Orlando and is home to more than 45,000 residents. The city is home to the Legoland theme park, and is well known for being a part of the “Chain of Lakes” – a body of water that connects 25 different lakes.

After a career in buying and selling restaurants, Michael started his real estate journey in 1980 and worked at Sunset Realty in Winter Haven. Three years later he met Dee and the couple started working in real estate together in 1993.

The Norris’ did much of their own business, with Michael leading the way selling commercial real estate with his stepfather. Whether it was shopping centers, restaurants, bars and lounges, or even hotels, they were involved in selling all types of commercial real estate. 

In 1996, Michael and Dee moved to Brokers Realty, a real estate brokerage in Winter Haven. They did very well, often selling in excess of $20 million in volume annually. 

In 2011, they made the decision to go out on their own and open their brokerage, Norris & Company Realty. They made the decision to run the office as a small independent brokerage with no additional agents. It proved very successful and they continued to do well in the Winter Haven community.

In 2018, things changed as Michael and Dee opened up to the idea of adding agents to their company. 

“We reached that point in our career where we wanted to help other agents and we now had the desire and time to do just that,” said Michael.

“We Googled various real estate franchise companies when we came about NextHome,” said Dee. “It really seemed too good to be true, so I had our daughter research the company as well. We all loved what we saw, but it was meeting the leadership team in Boston at the National Association of REALTORS® Conference in November 2018 that confirmed NextHome was the right company to partner with.”

The Norris’ are proud of their commitment to the Winter Haven community and have recently opened the doors to their brand new centrally located office in the heart of the city. You’ll often find them at local events and working with organizations such as the Winter Haven Boys and Girls Club. 

Outside of  selling real estate, Michael and Dee are proud parents of two daughters, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. When they have the chance, they visit their beach house in Vero Beach to relax.

Please join us in congratulating Michael, Dee  and the rest of the team at NextHome Norris & Company Realty on their new office in Winter Haven, FL!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Meet the NextHomies who made the top one-half percent

Meet the NextHomies who made the top one-half percent

Kimberly Taylor and Pete Torsiello

Pleasanton, CA — June 28, 2019 — NextHome is thrilled to announce that two NextHomies made The Thousand list that highlights the top one-half percent of the nation’s real estate professionals.

The Thousand list is put together every year by REAL Trends, a trusted source for news, analysis, and information on the residential brokerage industry. The list ranks the top real estate agents and teams in the United States, by both sales volume and transaction sides. The ranking is in partnership with Tom Ferry International and advertised in The Wall Street Journal.

The Thousand list is broken evenly into four categories:

  • Individual Sales Professionals – Sales volume
  • Individual Sales Professionals – Transaction sides 
  • Team Professionals – Sales volume
  • Team Professionals – Transaction sides

The two NextHomies on the list both ranked in the sales volume category for individual agents, and we couldn’t be more proud. Congratulations to Kimberly Taylor of NextHome First Class and Pete Torsiello of NextHome Community Real Estate! 

Kimberly and Pete are not only leaders in the industry, but also at NextHome. The two have graciously shared their vast knowledge from the field at industry events, and on a ground level, assisting other members one-on-one. 

Kimberly Taylor is the owner of NextHome First Class based out of Freeport, Illinois. Licensed since 2001, she has always been an early adopter of cutting-edge technology and constant education. With her commitment to providing first-class service to her clients, Kimberly has steadily built her business year-over-year as one of the best agents in her area.

Kimberly has a team of support staff to help her with her transactions but makes sure that each of her clients gets a personal and custom real estate experience. With her hands-on approach, her listings usually go under contract in under 60 days – half of the average days on market of competitors’ listings.

Pete Torsiello is the partial owner of NextHome Community Real Estate that is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Pete started his real estate career in 2008 after 15 years in the sports memorabilia business. Initially, he began selling homes as a side project, but after quickly earning more business than he could handle, Pete converted to full-time real estate in 2010.

NextHome Community Real Estate is more than just the name of the brokerage. Pete and the company are very involved in the Las Vegas community with a focus on working with teachers.

Please join us in congratulating both Kimberly and Pete on their success. We can only imagine the amount of happiness they’ve shared with their clients by helping them find their next home. 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome franchises opens a new location in the Central Valley

NextHome franchises opens a new location in the Central Valley

Denise Martin

Pleasanton, CA — June 21, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Approved. The new brokerage represents the 66th NextHome franchised office in the state of California.

NextHome Approved will be led by broker/owner Denise Martin. She will handle all day-to-day aspects of the company including mentoring, training and brokerage growth. She will be joined on the ownership team by her business partner and fiancee, Xavier Abrams.

Based out of Stockton, the agents of NextHome Approved will handle real estate in the Central Valley area including the cities of Stockton, Tracy, Lodi, Elk Grove, Lathrop, Manteca, Modesto, and the remainder of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

Stockton is located 45 minutes south of Sacramento and is home to nearly 300,000 residents. Known for a rich agricultural community, the area provides produce such as tomatoes, asparagus and cherries.

With expertise in working with first-time home buyers, move-up buyers, investors, and new construction, NextHome Approved will be a community resource for all buyers and sellers for all types of real estate guidance. Denise has been an instructor since 2000, helping new investors understand leverage and the use of credit to begin their real estate investment portfolio.

Denise first became licensed in real estate in 1999. She worked for American Security Financial for over ten years. During those years, she became a top-producing salesperson – selling as much as 85 homes annually.

While a top producer, Denise found her true passion for helping people start investing in real estate. By helping people build wealth through real estate, Denise was able to earn a living, turning a sales process into a rewarding career.

In 2003, Denise was offered the opportunity to open her own branch of American Security Financial and opened American Security Financial – Denise Martin’s Branch.

In 2008, Denise relocated to Texas and lived there for ten years. During that time she worked as an underwriter for Fannie Mae and as an underwriting manager for Chase Bank.

In mid-2018, Denise relocated back to Stockton in order to care for her grandmother. In the midst of her move, she sold a friend’s Stockton home. Realizing that she still had the experience and ability to sell homes, Denise was ready to open her own Stockton-based real estate brokerage. As a self-described “die hard entrepreneur,” Denise was ready for the new challenge.

Knowing the advantage of what a franchise could provide, Denise found NextHome through a simple Google search.

“After researching NextHome, I loved everything I read about the company,” said Denise. “It was everything I was looking for all in one place. Top it all off that (NextHome’s VP of Sales) Charis Moreno responded to me over a holiday weekend, and I knew this was the right company for me.”

Denise is also a published author. Her book, Loving My Season of Good Credit, is a do-it-yourself book to help people improve their credit and put themselves ahead with their scores.

Denise and Xavier are excited about their upcoming business and life together. The couple is set to marry this summer and the launching of NextHome Approved is just the start of a wonderful 2019. Denise has two daughters, Cortney and Brandy, and she has two grandchildren – Rylan (age 9) and Ryelle (6).

Please join us in congratulating Denise, Xavier,  and the rest of the team at NextHome Approved on the opening of their brand new NextHome brokerage in Stockton, CA!

 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Shakti and Service Dog Ember

Shakti and Service Dog Ember

Yoga is well known for its benefits to the mind, body and spirit. But for Canine Companions® graduate Shakti, it also led to service dog Ember.

Shakti, who’s had multiple sclerosis (MS) for 21 years, is an avid yogi and instructs yoga classes for people with disabilities. Two of her long-time students, both of whom have MS, would bring their Canine Companions service dogs to the weekly classes Shakti had been teaching. Shakti was able to see firsthand how expertly-trained assistance dogs can help a person with a disability.

Shakti’s journey to Service Dog Ember

Shakti’s MS causes her to have issues with her legs, and she uses an electric wheelchair for mobility. After observing her students’ dogs and the benefits they provide, Shakti decided to apply for a service dog herself. By having an expertly-trained service dog by her side, Shakti was hopeful her independence would be increased.

Shakti was as matched with Service Dog Ember – free of charge – by Canine Companions for Independence. Ember picks up dropped items and delivers them to Shakti, opens and closes, turns on and off lights, and so much more. Shakti says, “I can count on Ember to help me and be by my side wherever I go.” She continues, “This is such an amazing thing to happen for me.”

To learn more about the Veterans Initiative offered through our partners at Canine Companions for Independence, click here!

NextHome HomeFront opens in Mississippi

NextHome HomeFront opens in Mississippi

Crystal Boggs & Bobby Wantland

Pleasanton, CA — June 7, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome HomeFront. The new brokerage is the fourth NextHome franchise location opened in the state of Mississippi.

NextHome HomeFront will be owned and operated by top-producing REALTOR® Crystal Boggs. The brokerage will service the cities of Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, D’Iberville, and the remainder of Jackson and Harrison Counties.

The brokerage will provide various real estate services for the local community such as working with first-time homebuyers, investment properties, vacation and second homes, multi-family properties, land and lots, and military family relocation. Crystal says more than half of NextHome HomeFront’s business involves military housing.

Crystal will have another top-producing REALTOR® serve as the company’s broker of record. Bobby Wantland brings years of experience to NextHome HomeFront and Crystal is happy to be in business with him.

“Bobby brings a lot of experience and I really love how he builds relationships with people,” said Crystal. “He’s been like a big brother to me and I am so happy to have him be a part of this journey.”

“I never thought I would want to work in a partnership format,” said Bobby with a laugh. “But I couldn’t pass up a chance of working with Crystal. She has a great heart, she is always wanting to grow personally and professionally, she is totally selfless… why wouldn’t I want to be in business with her?”

After selling off her very successful party rental business, Biloxi Bounce House, which did more than 1,000 rentals annually, Crystal decided to go into real estate. Her interest in becoming a real estate agent sparked from the positive experience that she and her husband, Bryan, had with their REALTOR® – Bobby.

Crystal first became licensed in real estate in 2016 and started with Keller Williams Realty.

While she spent most of the first year learning the marketing and prospecting side of real estate, that paid off just a few months into her second year in the business. Within the last three months of 2017, she sold over $1 million in real estate – an incredible number considering the local average home sales price at that time was just under $140,000.

Crystal made the move to a local NextHome franchised office where Bobby was working. That move paid off and in 2018, she sold 24 homes with more than $5 million in total sales volume.

In late 2018, Crystal felt it was the right time to open her own brokerage. As the previous owner of a successful business prior to real estate, her experience and track record gave her the confidence to open NextHome HomeFront.

“NextHome HomeFront will be a boutique brokerage company where the agents will be treated like family,” said Crystal. “That will allow them to connect with the ownership/leadership team and know they will be heard and treated with respect.”

In 2019, Crystal was honored with one of the most esteemed awards a military spouse can receive – Armed Forces Insurance Keesler Military Spouse of The Year.

The Boggs’ have been married for 17 years and are the proud parents of Mecquela (age 15) and Bryanna (13). The family enjoys all types of outdoor activities including four-wheeling, fishing, and crabbing. They also love to travel and visited Germany, England, and France last year.

Please join us in congratulating Crystal, Bobby, and the rest of the team at NextHome HomeFront on the opening of their brand new NextHome office in Ocean Springs, MS!

 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome Gadwood Group expands into Missouri

NextHome Gadwood Group expands into Missouri

Julie Gadwood

Pleasanton, CA — May 29, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Gadwood Group – Gravois Mills Branch. The brokerage represents the fifth office location opened in the state of Missouri for the NextHome franchise.

The new Gravois Mills location will be led by broker/owner Julie Gadwood and she will handle all day-to-day operations for the company.

Located two and a half hours east of their Shawnee, Kansas location, the NextHome Gadwood Group – Gravois Mills Branch will handle all types of residential property sales such as first-time home buyers, investors, farms, ranches and land, military and veteran’s assistance, relocation, foreclosures, short sales, and all forms of residential sales of 1-4 units. The agents will serve the needs of residents in Gravois Mills, Sunrise Beach, Osage Beach, Camdenton, Laurie, and the remainder of the Lake of the Ozarks area.

Julie has been focused on expanding to The Lake of the Ozarks area as many Kansas residents own second homes there. With one of her own agents selling their Kansas home and moving to The Lake of the Ozarks to live full time, it made sense to open the new location.

“The Lake of the Ozarks is one of the few lakes in our area that allow homes to be built lakeside,” said Julie. “This has made it a very attractive place for people to live and play.”

Licensed since 2005, Julie started her real estate career with Coldwell Banker Regan in Shawnee where she worked for six years. She originally intended real estate to be an extra source of income, but after selling five homes in her first six months in the business, Julie realized she had the ability to turn real estate into a viable career.

While she grew her real estate business to see nearly $8 million in sales annually, the most important thing for Julie was that she was able to still spend quality time with her children and not miss any of the important events in their lives.

In 2012, Julie went out on her own and opened Gadwood Group Realty Company Inc.

“I started my own brokerage because I wanted to have a platform and a business that allowed me to put the total focus on the client,” said Julie. “By owning my own company, I was able to have a high level of service and know that our clients would be really taken care of.”

Julie was able to grow the brokerage to over 20 agents and saw the company do more than 125 transactions and over $40 million in a single year.

Additionally, Julie was recently recognized for the tenth year in a row as a 5 Star Award nominee for her outstanding real estate service in her community.

After several successful years as an independent brokerage, it was a random stroke of luck that Julie found NextHome.

“I found out about the franchise during a real estate conference that I attended,” recalled Julie. “Over the years, there were several different franchises we talked to, but none of them really piqued my interest. After years of studying what NextHome was doing and after speaking with (NextHome’s VP of Sales) Charis Moreno, I felt that it was the right time to align my brokerage with NextHome.”

Julie and her agents are excited about the freshness of the company, the consistent branding, and the entire suite of tools and services they now have at NextHome Gadwood Group.

In addition to selling real estate, Julie and her team volunteer time to bettering the real estate industry and providing hope in their community.

As a member of the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS® (KCRAR), Julie has actively participated in Habitat for Humanity, where she and her agents have helped rehabilitate homes in her community for those in need.

In 2018, the Gadwood Group were the recipients of the Spirit Award by KCRAR for their service in the community.

The company has also volunteered in the local coat drive and the local Ronald McDonald House organization.

When not selling real estate, Julie and her husband of 27 years (and high school sweetheart) David love to spend time with their three children.

Their eldest, Jake (25), is a graduate of Kansas State University with a focus on Finance Economics. Nick (22) is currently a student at the University of Kansas and is not only an Accounting major but a licensed real estate agent as well. Their youngest, Carney (19), is a sophomore at the University of Kansas and is majoring in Business.

Please join us in congratulating Julie and the rest of the team at NextHome Gadwood Group on their new NextHome office in Gravois Mills, MO!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Charlie and Devon: a veteran service dog team

Charlie and Devon: a veteran service dog team

It takes a distinct form of courage to take on a job called “Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician.” Especially while serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. Charlie Linville, of Boise, is that kind of brave.

Even while recounting how he was injured, Charlie is matter-of-fact. “I stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device),” says Charlie. “When I came to and figured out what happened, my leg was severely damaged, my hand was severely damaged and I had some brain injuries.” Charlie tried to save his leg but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. “For 18 months after my injury I had my leg. I had several surgeries, but I was in so much pain I decided to have it amputated and live a happy life,” he explains.

Although Charlie had every reason to feel sorry for himself, he’s moving on. He’s still in great shape. He even climbed Mount Everest! And he’s a great father of two little girls. Despite his challenges, somehow he manages to stay positive. “I’m lucky that I’m not in a wheelchair for the rest of my life,” Charlie says.

Still, Charlie needs help with everyday tasks. That’s where Service Dog Devon III comes in. Charlie received Devon, free of charge, from Canine Companions for Independence in August. Canine Companions is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

“I have a lower spine injury that makes my left leg go numb so my balance isn’t always what it needs to be,” Charlie explains. “When I’m using my cane and carrying something, having the dog with me to pick up something that I’ve dropped, open a door or hit a light switch is a big day-to-day thing for me when I’m out in public.”

At home, Charlie does not always use his prosthetic leg. “Devon is learning to bring me the prosthesis when I’m sitting on the couch,” explains Charlie. “Sometimes I have a hard time getting up, and Devon can retrieve something and bring it to me. Just having someone with me to help do things that are really difficult or painful for me really affects my life in a positive way!”

Charlie is one of hundreds of military veterans who have received assistance dogs from Canine Companions. “Canine Companions assistance dogs are amazing, magical gifts,” says Charlie. “They change people’s lives.”

To learn more about the Veterans Initiative offered through our partners at Canine Companions for Independence, click here