ALBANY — U.S. Army Veteran Jimmy Thomas has been peddling his bicycle across the country since June to raise funds for Woofs for Warriors in Queensbury.
And now, after 3,400 miles on the road, the 58-year-old Ballston Lake man has raised $20,000 for the local not-for-profit that pairs rescued dogs with veterans, many with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He started in Newport, Oregon in June and he made it to the VA in Albany today,” said Chris Gaunt, Woofs for Warriors secretary.
Thomas’ ride was inspired by his relationship with Boots, a two-and-a-half year-old Golden Retriever that he was paired with by Woofs for Warriors.
“I got him for free. I should do something to make it possible for a couple other people, at least one, to get a dog,” Thomas said in a previous Post-Star story.
According to Thomas, Boots has helped him with seizures brought on by his anxiety, and since Boots has been in his life, he has remained seizure-free.
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“We are not only saving the vet, we are saving the dog,” said Cathy Reichen, president of Woofs for Warriors, in a previous interview. “When we are contacted by a vet, we figure out what they need and want and work closely with them and their ‘fur-ever’ friend. The bond, I can’t describe it, but when it is the right dog, the connection, you can’t teach those things.”
According to Gaunt, 100 percent of the money Thomas raised will go back into the Woofs for Warriors program.
“We will use it for training and medical care,” said Gaunt. “For vet bills, training, supplies, transport.”
As Gaunt explained, just a basic adoption (not including training and other needs) costs between $200 and $300. Since June, Thomas and Boots have been apart; and on Friday, the two were reunited.