published Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Town Talk

GOODWILL IS hosting its first "Pickin' for the Pups" fundraiser on Oct. 1, at Bessie Smith Hall. Proceeds for the event will go to the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy, a partnership with McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center that trains rescued dogs to be service animals for people with disabilities.

A $20 ticket will allow the ticketholder to hear eight bluegrass acts, sample an all-you-can-eat barbecue while at the same time helping to provide an assistance dog for a local person with disabilities.

It costs an average of $25,000 to provide an assistance dog to an individual, according to a Goodwill press release.

"We train six to 10 dogs for around two years to find an animal that can master all of the commands needed to help someone with physical disabilities," said Sarah Hollyday, academy director, in a news release.

The 90 commands the dogs learn includes opening and closing doors and drawers to turning lights off and on and summoning help in an emergency, she said.

Among the entertainers is musician, author and former Hamilton County Executive Dalton Roberts. Mr. Roberts is headlining the event with Tom Morgan and Lynne Haas. Also entertaining will be Noah Collins, Butch Ross, Kelsey's Woods, Slim Pickin's, New Binkley Brothers, Neal Stamey and Friends, and Tiffany Taylor. The entertainers will perform on two stages from 6 to 10 p.m.

Tickets are available at the discounted price of $20 from now until Sept. 30 and can be purchased online at www.goodwillchatt.org or at the East Ridge, Highway 58 or Hixson Goodwill retail stores. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $25.

All tickets include all-you-can-eat barbecue from Niedlov's Breadworks, as well as unlimited soft drinks provided by Double-Cola and beer from Budweiser of Chattanooga.

Pickin' for the Pups is presented by Mellow Mushroom, KZ-106, Talk 102.3, News Radio WGOW, 107.9 The Duke and Blush magazine. The event is sponsored by Blood Assurance, Scott Ferguson/BB&T Huffaker & Trimble Insurance Services, SunTrust Bank and Penske.

THANKS TO the staff and patients at BenchMark Physical Therapy Clinic on Gunbarrel Road, a local resident is now mobile outside his own home. Money raised was used to build a wheelchair ramp for the patient who had not been able to leave his home for more than a year.

The fund-raising team raised money for materials while Chris Vandergriff from J Plumbing and Home Repair donated his skills and time to build the ramp.

"The patient has been receiving treatment at the Gunbarrel clinic for lymphedema," said BenchMark spokeswoman Lisa Kelley. "Each time the patient was scheduled for treatment he had to be transported to the clinic by ambulance," she said, explaining that he had treatments four or five times a week for four weeks.

"Prior to his treatment, he had been practically homebound and rarely left his home in over a year," she said, noting that the painful disease causes severe swelling, limited mobility and poor balance.

"I thought the fundraiser was a good idea," said Evelyne Burtis, physical therapist and clinic director. "It makes you feel good to see people come together for a worthy cause."

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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