A Hero’s Homecoming: Checkered Flag Foundation Celebrates Graduation of Second Certified Service Canine through Partnership with Black Paw Canine
Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation (BKCFF) recently celebrated the graduation of service canine Khaos to her new owner and handler, United States Navy veteran Matt Wheeler. Khaos became the second certified service canine to be awarded to a deserving military veteran through the BKCFF Service Dog Fund, a grant program that sponsors the full cost of preparing and training canines for veteran service through the experienced training team at Black Paw Canine.
Meet the Heroes
Matthew Wheeler: Matthew Wheeler worked as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operator in the United States Navy for more than 15 years and retired in August of 2019. During his service he was injured twice due to explosions. When Matt started researching different options for service dogs, he pursued a few different avenues, but none proved to be the best fit. That is until he found the team at Black Paw Canine who worked with the Checkered Flag Foundation to award Matt his service dog Khaos – and at no cost to him or his family.
Khaos: Khaos is a Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd who comes from a long line of working dogs. Both Khaos and her sister Tango were trained at Black Paw Canine and have graduated to become certified service dogs in their respective training areas.
The Checkered Flag Foundation is excited to continue their partnership with Black Paw Canine for years to come and will continue to work hand-in-hand with their team to connect heroes through the Service Dog Fund.
BKCFF Partners with Autotrader to Honor Military Heroes in 2021
Statesville, NC (Nov. 12, 2020) – Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation today announced the return of the Tribute 2 Veterans presented by Autotrader program. For its third consecutive year, the program will honor America’s heroes on the No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang piloted by NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski during the NASCAR Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 21, 2021.
The Tribute 2 Veterans program gives people an opportunity to honor former servicemen and servicewomen. Building upon the success of previous years, the program will now also give loved ones the opportunity to recognize active military, military family members and their caregivers—acknowledging the ongoing commitment to the well-being of Veterans and those who play a role in Veterans’ lives daily.
“We just celebrated Veteran’s Day and this program is such a great way to continue that celebration,” said Keselowski. “I always appreciate the fan stories I hear about the Tribute 2 Veterans program and how they enjoy the chance to honor their friends and family on the Autotrader Ford Mustang. I’m blessed to have a platform that gives me a chance to salute our nation’s heroes, and I’m thankful to have sponsors like Autotrader that embrace that and support the Checkered Flag Foundation in all we do to honor and assist heroes. I’m looking forward to extending the honor to family members and caregivers as well since they too make sacrifices.”
The cost is $100 per submission to be part of the campaign, with proceeds benefiting the Checkered Flag Foundation in its mission to honor and assist those who have sacrificed for our country and our communities. Each submission will receive a personalized certificate and a commemorative gift following the March 2021 Atlanta Motor Speedway race weekend.
“Our culture at Cox Automotive and Autotrader is rooted in giving back and being a force for good—especially when it comes to supporting our veterans, current military personnel and their families,” said Greta Crowley, vice president of Marketing for Autotrader. “The support that The Checkered Flag Foundation is able to provide at some of the most challenging times is extraordinary. I hope others join in celebrating this cause to benefit this incredible foundation.”
Those wishing to submit a veteran, service member, or military family name can do so via www.CheckeredFlagFoundation.org. Submissions will be accepted through January 5, 2021.
Participating individuals in the program can show their involvement and support by using #Tribute2Veterans on social media. For additional information on the Checkered Flag Foundation and ongoing updates on the Tribute 2 Veterans program, you can also visit CheckeredFlagFoundation.org or follow the Foundation on Twitter (@BKCFF), Instagram (@CheckeredFlagFoundation) and Facebook (@CheckeredFlagFoundation).
Sheldon’s K9s, Checkered Flag Foundation Donates to Officer Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Dog Park K9 Agility Course
Two 501(c)3 charities have teamed up to donate to the Town of Mooresville’s “Officer Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Dog Park” project, designed to honor Officer Jordan Sheldon, who died in the line of duty on May 4, 2019.
Since the loss of Officer Sheldon, the Town has wanted to honor his sacrifice in a lasting and meaningful way. With the “Officer Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Dog Park,” the Town is carrying his legacy forward by instituting a permanent place where Officer Sheldon’s passion for dogs can be shared with the community, while his fellow K9 officers can use the park to train with their partners. The Officer Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Dog Park, which is expected to open in May 2021, will be a premier facility with three distinct areas, and will also include a K9 Agility Course, public seating, and the appropriate signage and artwork to honor Officer Sheldon.
Checkered Flag Foundation and Black Paw Canine Show Support for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
June 27th is recognized as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day. PTSD is a mental health problem that people can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event like combat, a natural disaster, car accident or sexual assault. It affects about 1 in 10 men and 2 in 10 women who have had a traumatic event in their lives. For those who serve or have served in our military, experiencing combat and stressful situations is not uncommon, and in turn, can put military members at an elevated risk of being affected by PTSD.
The Checkered Flag Foundation recognizes the importance of supporting veterans suffering from PTSD. As a part of their overall mission to aid our nation’s heroes, they have worked to implement programs and fundraising efforts that assist military members who are affected by this mental health condition.
Since 2017, The Checkered Flag Foundation has developed a partnership with Black Paw Canine; a veteran owned and operated company that trains canines to become both service and law enforcement canines. Together they have been able to raise donations and implement programs that support military members and their families in their road to recovery. Programs include opportunities to provide service canines free of cost to select veterans who have selflessly served our country on the frontlines.
Watch the below video to learn more about this partnership and how a Black Paw Canine trained service animal can benefit those suffering from PTSD.
Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation relaunched the United2Gether initiative to support those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. What started in 2018 as a program to support hurricane relief in eastern North Carolina, United2Gether has since expanded its reach into supporting natural disasters and crises.
With the help of Atrium Health Cabarrus and Mr. C’s restaurant in Concord N.C. BKCFF was able to bring a little positivity to healthcare heroes. As a small thank you, BKCFF provided meals to those working tirelessly on the front lines of COVID-19. Through the generosity of donors and the amazing staff at Mr. C’s, BKCFF was able to feed over 1,000 Atrium teammates! Thank you to those who have supported United2Gether. We will continue to thank those who are serving us during this uncertain time!