Spotlight on Service is a regular series highlighting those who spend their time giving back. I'm drawn to people who operate in the spirit of service and think it’s important to take the time to acknowledge those who are doing wonderful things for our communities. There are so many positive things taking place in our world that often get overlooked. If you are interested in supporting great causes, or just want to read an inspiring story to make you smile, keep reading!
Since 2013, Britnee Kinard has done so much more than run SD Gunner Fund- A Southern Georgia non-profit that pairs service dogs with vets, first responders and kids with disabilities- and assists with the costs associated with owning and caring for service and therapy animals.
She’s been an advocate and philanthropist, donating her time, resources, and energy to helping people in her own Richmond Hill Community and far beyond.
Britnee is the type of person anybody would want on their side. With unmatched drive- and a determination to make sure if there is a need, she will meet it- Britnee is a force to be reckoned with. So much so, that she recently received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing Britnee for her lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service.
There hasn’t been a person or force yet that could stop her.- She jokes that if she ever stops she’ll die. She heads a small organization of volunteers that reaches across the country from Pennsylvania, to California- Texas, to vegas. Sd Gunner Fund partners with other organizations like Operation At Ease in New York and Sierra Delta in Wisconsin, and finds innovative ways to bring communities together to give back in innumerable ways.
She has an inherent mission to serve others. She quotes the 2005 movie Robots, “See a need, fill a need.” And that’s exactly what she does every day. Even while I was interviewing her for this piece, she was asking me questions and giving me information and resources on local services for my own son, as we both have children with autism. Britnee has a gift for serving others that
Britnee’s family’s own service dog- A Great Pyrenees named Gunner is a local celebrity, and the face of her non profit organization.
SD Gunner Fund: A Growing Legacy of Service
Britnee was built for this noble work. But this particular story begins after her husband Hamilton suffered a brain injury after being hit by an IED while serving our country during operation Iraqi Freedom. He was told by the VA that he would benefit from a service dog to assist him in daily mobility functions . The VA wouldn’t cover any of the tens of thousands of dollars in expenses it would cost, so Britnee began a fight that went all the way to congress to get the assistance approved for them to get Gunner and have him trained for service in early 2014.
From there, her mission grew to helping other Veterans, 1st responders, exceptional children, and others with traumatic brain injuries or disabilities. SD Gunner Fund assists not only with obtaining service animals, but also receiving financial assistance for housing, caregiver support services, and emergency assistance.
SD Gunner Fund is run solely on donations and has provided dozens of service and therapy animals, and financial assistance for others in the community like classroom support and field trips for students with special needs, and financial support for local families in need in the Coastal Georgia area.
Supporting the Cause
SD Gunner fund relies on generous donations from the community, and holds events throughout the year to raise funds for their organization.
Among the most popular events scheduled this year are the annual Calendar, and the Savannah Carnaval event.
This year the theme for the calendar is Paws and Plies and features dogs and dancers ( both children and adults) from the Savannah Area- including dancers from Savannah Ballet Theater. The calendar will be available for purchase by early April.
Usually held in the summer, in 2020 the Savannah Carnaval was postponed until late October to prepare for Covid safety restrictions. I wrote a feature in October on this awesome event, and this year it’s coming back better than ever on July 24th. Mark your Calendars!
Other Upcoming Events
March 27th :5K at the BelHaven Venue in Richmond hill
April 17th: Annual Sporting Clay Shoot at the Dorchester Shooting Preserve in Midway
May 22nd: Fore Paws Classic Golf Tournament at Crosswinds Golf Club in Pooler
September 2021: Hell Yeah USMVMC Bikers in Surrency
Fall 2021 Fishing Tournament at in Richmond Hill
Want to make an instant donation today? Here is a link to their Paypal Giving Fund
Donations are tax deductible and SD Gunner Fund will issue a tax write off for large and small donations.
Stay tuned later this year for more on Britnee Kinard and the amazing things she has planned. She’s not even close to being done serving our local communities, and she has some awesome things on deck for 2021. Check Back Soon.