Rochester Rotary Provides Service Dog to Oakland County Veteran

Rochester Rotary, a member club of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service and encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, is pleased to announce it has matched an Oakland County veteran with a service dog from the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc., which provides service dogs to those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), diabetes, autism, seizures, hearing impairment, and mobility issues.

Rochester Rotary members Vito Pampalona (far left) and John Crossley (far right) with Ann and Patrick Tackett and service dog, Trooper, at the August 4 Rochester Rotary meeting. Phto credit: Lindsey Pieper

Rochester Rotary members Vito Pampalona (far left) and John Crossley (far right)
with Ann and Patrick Tackett and service dog, Trooper, at the August 4
Rochester Rotary meeting.
Photo credit: Lindsey Pieper

Rochester Rotary member and Korean War veteran John Crossley became acutely aware of the challenges facing returning soldiers after listening to a presentation at a Rochester Rotary meeting in 2014 by residential homebuilder Vito Pampalona, a Vietnam veteran who remains active in veteran support initiatives and has subsequently become a Rochester Rotary member.

“After Vito’s presentation, it became vitally important for me to help our veterans in their adjustment to civilian life,” Crossley said. “I then learned of the mission of Guardian Angels program and brought the idea of the Rochester Rotary donating a medical service dog to a veteran with PTSD.”

The Rochester Rotary Charities Board, led by then-President Karen Lewis, unanimously approved the donation in January 2015. Working together, Crossley, Lewis and Pampalona ultimately identified Patrick Tackett as the recipient. A grateful Tackett, along with his wife, Ann and service dog, Trooper, were introduced to Rochester Rotary Club members at the Club’s August 4 meeting.

“Receiving the dog has been a blessing to me and my family,” said Tackett, of Madison Heights, who received Trooper in late July. Ann Tackett seconded her husband’s comments and thanked the Rochester Rotary for the donation to obtain Trooper.

Many returning soldiers are forced to cope with financial burdens, along with disabilities that leave them feeling hopeless and vulnerable. Speaking at the Rochester Rotary meeting, Guardian Angels founder Carol Borden noted the growing suicide rate among returning soldiers is an estimated 32-39 suicide attempts daily, with 22 of them successful. The service dogs can literally be lifesavers for these individuals.

For more information on applying for a service dog, making a donation, sponsoring dogs or volunteering, please contact Michigan Guardian Angels Advocate Jolanthe Bassett at 248-904-0579, or visit the website at:

About Rochester Rotary
Celebrating 61 years as a club in 2015, Rochester Rotary is one of 34,000 member clubs of Rotary International, which has more than 1.2 million members and raises and disburses funds for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. Monies are raised through social events and service projects organized by the club, ‘fines’ collected at Rochester Rotary meetings and gifts offered to the club through members and supporters.

The club welcomes new members who live or work in Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township. For membership information, contact Jeff Whitbey at  Rochester Rotary meets each Tuesday at noon at the River Crest Banquet Hall on Avon Road and Livernois in Rochester Hills. Like us on Facebook or visit our website.

About Rotary International
Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who hail from Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self. Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations. Learn more at

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