Wheel Dawgz to fundraise for vets, pets

Back, from left, Wheel Dawgz Members Bill Shepard, Norm Taylor, Randy Graham, Jim Flynn. Middle, President Justin Boes. Front, from left, Justin Growden, a veteran, and Princess. (File photo by Anna Skinner)

Back, from left, Wheel Dawgz Members Bill Shepard, Norm Taylor, Randy Graham, Jim Flynn. Middle, President Justin Boes. Front, from left, Justin Growden, a veteran, and Princess. (File photo by Anna Skinner)

By Anna Skinner

On July 9, members of Wheel Dawgz will once again ride their motorcycles to raise funds for Pets Healing Vets, a 501c3 organization that connects dogs from the Humane Society of Hamilton County with veterans returning to the states.

The fourth annual “Randy’s Memorial Ride” will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 9 at the Moose Lodge, 900 W. Jefferson St., Tipton. The namesake of the fundraiser is for Randy Boes, a Vietnam veteran who was the uncle of Justin Boes, president of Wheel Dawgs.

Many members of the Wheel Dawgz are Westfield residents who work at IMMI, Indiana Mills and Manufacturing, Inc.

“I really can’t think of a better charity (than Pets Healing Vets) and a charity that gives back to our veterans and gives them companion animals,” said Westfield’s Randy Graham, a Wheel Dawgz member. “It also rescues animals from the Humane Society of Hamilton County.”

Many veterans that return to the states experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or have other mental and physical issues.

“A lot of veterans just feel unwanted, and 22 veterans on average commit suicide every day in this country,” Graham said. “It’s a monumental problem, and if we can pair a veteran with a companion animal, it’s a win-win situation for the veteran and the dog. That’s why we continue to make this our charity that we raise money for.”

Many Wheel Dawgz members are veterans themselves, including Graham. All members share a love of pets, motorcycles and veterans.

Graham said those who attend the fundraiser don’t have to ride a motorcycle to participate.

There will be food for sale and a raffle. The Tempos will provide music.

Those who wish to ride can register for $20, or $30 if they have a passenger. People can pre-register, or register the day of the event.

Since its creation, Wheel Dawgz has placed more than 25 dogs from the HSHC with a veteran.

For more, to donate or to register for the event, visit wheeldawgz.com.