FranServe is proud to support Freedom Service Dogs (FSD). Founded in 1987 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization by Michael and PJ Roche who worked tirelessly to transform FSD from a local, two-person organization to one of the leading service dog training organizations in the country, at a time when the assistance dog industry was in the early stages of development. As FSD expanded, its leaders recognized a need for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to have additional support as they entered civilian life, leading to the launch of Operation Freedom, a program that provides disabled veterans with trained service dog companions.
FSD helps veterans and active-duty military find a new level of confidence and independence with the help of specially trained service dogs. Operation Freedom was developed to help returning war veterans and military personnel transition from active duty and combat to civilian life. Many military personnel and veterans face challenges like PTSD, depression, immobility, and inactivity, sometimes resulting in destructive consequences, including homelessness, crime, drugs, alcohol, and even suicide.
Operation Freedom works alongside the services of local VA medical centers, community groups, and on-base transition programs to combat these challenges using highly specialized service dogs that give veterans independence and confidence. Our service dogs can help veterans with a multitude of everyday tasks, like picking up dropped items and mobility assistance, as well as mental and emotional support.
FranServe’s CEO, Alesia Visconti, became passionate about their mission and met with Michele Ostrander, CEO of Freedom Service Dogs. FranServe immediately donated $20,000 to help the mission of bringing more service dogs to more veterans. FranServe continues to be active in fundraising programs and initiated Heels & Paws, a $65,000 program to replace hard pebbles with soft turf. The turf will prevent injury to the dogs’ sensitive paws as pebbles and reduce leg strain by staff and volunteers. When Alesia visited the organization, she had trouble walking on the pebbles and thought there had to be something better for both heels and paws … and thus, the program was initiated.