PNC has launched Mutt Struts in Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa. Organizers said hosting a Mutt Strut in Dayton is a good fit due to the number of area veterans and retirees and the presence of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Army veteran’s life changed when he got his ‘catalyst’
Michael Clark’s 23-year Army career took him to many places during multiple deployments — Bosnia, Iraq, Africa and Afghanistan.
After multiple injuries, including shrapnel wounds, a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, it also took him to dark places. His marriage failed, he wasn’t the father he wished to be; he was miserable and frustrated, finding it difficult to integrate back into society when he retired in 2015.
That all changed when PNC made it possible for a female German shepherd named Blade to come into his life in October 2017.
“It felt like I had tapped into a part of my life that I had long given up and I craved life again,” Clark said.
Now a PNC program manager in technology and innovation in Sewickley, Pa., Clark said he has never been happier, spending quality time with his children, Emily and Noah.
“In many ways I feel like I am living the life I have always been waiting for,” he said. “I’ve been able to move forward, and I have found my catalyst. Blade has brought me so much joy and purpose.”
Creating awareness, saving lives
“Hopefully we are going to make a strong showing here in our community to help our veterans,” said event co-chair Patricia Stover.
Eid Dibbini, a PNC employee and company commander of an Army Reserve unit at Fort Campbell, Ky., is the other co-chair.
“This is about awareness and saving lives,” said David Melin, PNC regional president for the Dayton market. “What a positive impact an animal can have on somebody’s emotional state. But this is different from that — it’s about veterans getting their lives back.”
The goal for the event is to raise funds to underwrite placement of 10 service dogs, he said.
“That’s 10 lives we can help impact,” he said.
The PNC Foundation has already pledged $22,000 for one dog.
For more information on registration, sponsorships, vendors or volunteering, go to www.muttstrut4servicedogs.com.