The Vets Helping Heroes Founder and President Irwin Stovroff is passionate about providing disabled vets with service dogs – he was a Veteran himself, you know! Let’s take a closer look at the Vets Helping Heroes Founder and President Irwin Stovroff, a World War II Veteran with an incredible story to tell.
Where did the idea for Vets Helping Heroes come from? How old is VHH?
In 2007, at a directors meeting at the West Palm Beach V.A. Hospital I was informed that a Disabled Vet in need of a Service dog had to rely on private donations as the government had no appropriations for money for this problem. This was my motivation to start Vets Helping Heroes.
Why are you so dedicated to helping veterans receive service/guide dogs?
I was fortunate to complete my combat experience in spite of being shot down on my 35th mission, being a POW in Germany, and still returned home with eyes, limbs, brains, and the ability to go forward to be educated, have a family, and enjoy retirement. My service was from 1943-1945. I realize others were not so lucky and I want to do all I can to help those less fortunate.
What were your experiences in World War II? Did I hear something about the German Commander also being a former neighbor?
I flew a B-24 Liberator Bomber for 35 missions before being shot down on my last mission. I was captured and became a POW in Germany. My interrogator was the son of a neighbor in Buffalo and I was his parents’ newspaper boy.
Have you always been involved in Veteran affairs?
Upon retirement I then became seriously involved, first as a National Service Officer for Ex-POWs for 12 years before starting the non-profit organization Vets Helping Heroes.
What are your goals for Vets Helping Heroes?
To be a part of the program that by raising private funds will insure that every veteran in need of a service dog will receive one.
What are some of your favorite memories and moments since you began VHH?
Meeting and corresponding with all of our wonderful and generous supporters. Appearing on national television shows like Fox News and The Bonnie Hunt Show, inspiring Representative Ron Klein to present a bill to Congress in support of service dog programs that was passed for five million dollars, and of course, presenting $50,000 checks regularly to the Guide Dog program for the training of the dogs.
What can the general public do to help?
Realize that freedom isn’t free and they too have a duty to donate so those veterans in need who so bravely fought for all of our freedom receive a service dog. These dogs will give our heroes a life of independence and an opportunity for a worthwhile future life.
Vets Helping Heroes needs your help – we just can’t do it alone! Why not make a donation today and help a Veteran receive the help she or he needs with a Service or Guide Dog for life.