Foundation Grant Goes to the Dogs

Indian River Colony Club Foundation provides $5,000 to Patriot Service Dogs; program matches trained dogs for veterans with a range of issues

(VIERA, FL) March 25, 2024– Once more, the veterans at Indian River Colony Club (IRCC) have donated to help make life better for their brothers and sisters in arms. On March 18, the Indian River Colony Club Foundation presented a $5,000 grant to Patriot Service Dogs of Ocala, a nonprofit organization that matches trained service dogs to veterans with a range of issues, including PTSD. Patriot Service Dog puppies are raised and trained for approximately two years, at a cost of up to $20,000, before being given to a qualifying veteran. The Indian River Colony Club Foundation represents the Viera, Florida community comprised largely of military veterans. The ongoing practice of donating to an assortment of veterans causes and charities embodies the community motto of “Service to Those Who Served.” The $5,000 grant was the Foundation’s first outreach to Patriot Service Dogs. For more information about the charitable work of the Indian River Colony Club Foundation, call 321-255-6000.

Victoria Sanderson, lead trainer for Patriot Service Dogs, accepted a $5,000 grant from the Indian River Colony Club Foundation on March 18 in Viera. Also shown is Marine veteran and IRCC resident, Jack DeFreytas, matched previously with Bailey, a trained labrador retriever service dog. Patriot Service Dogs provides trained service dogs for veterans with PTSD and other issues.Volunteer coordinator and lead trainer for Patriot Service Dogs, Victoria Sanderson couldn’t be happier about the grant and the support of the Indian River Colony Club Foundation.

“Patriot Service Dogs is excited to see our continued growth on the Space Coast,” said Ms. Sanderson. “We’ve been growing in the area for the last year, but the IRCC Foundation is our first financial supporter! We hope this is just the beginning of a long relationship with the community. This grant will make a significant impact on our ability to continue supporting our veteran/service dog teams. And we are very thankful.”

Indian River Colony Club resident and retired Marine, Jack DeFreytas received his Patriot Service Dog only two months ago and can’t say enough about his “Bailey Boy.”

“Bailey is not my dog. I am honored and privileged to be his Marine,” said DeFreytas.

“The world would be a better place if more people had a buddy like Bailey. From the bottom of my heart, I thank Patriot Service Dogs for uniting us.”

“As a combat veteran, I know what stress and anxiety feel like,” said Indian River Colony Club Foundation Board Vice Chairman, Mike Feener, Lieutenant Colonel USAF (Ret). “And as a former dog owner, I know how the unconditional love of a dog can heal those hidden wounds. For these reasons, I enthusiastically support the important work being done by the Patriot Service Dog organization.“

Indian River Colony Club resident, Sarah Kedzierski and husband Dr. Mark Kedzierski are volunteer puppy raisers for Patriot Service Dogs.

Bailey is a labrador retriever trained by Patriot Service Dogs to serve veterans with PTSD and other issues. His Marine is Jack DeFreytas of IRCC. The Indian River Colony Club Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Ocala-based organization, to continue their work on behalf of veterans.“After becoming a puppy raiser with Patriot Service Dogs, I developed a huge respect for the integrity of their program,” explained Ms. Kedzierski.“ They train the dogs for service, while maintaining care and compassion. By matching veterans’ needs with their dogs’ skills, some of their dogs have literally saved veterans’ lives. The thrill of being part of such success makes it easy to commit to this program – for a long time.”

Anyone interested in donating to Patriot Service Dogs can sponsor a dog, sponsor a veteran and/or send a check in any amount to: 603 E Fort King Street, Ocala, Florida 34471.

The Indian River Colony Club community of nearly 800 homes is a dedicated supporter of veterans causes. In recent years, they were presented with the Outstanding Military Service Award by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, for their ongoing efforts on behalf of U.S. military veterans.

Viera’s very first neighborhood, Indian River Colony Club is known as “The Place Patriots Call Home.” A haven for military veterans, the par 72 private golf course community has a patriotic culture and country club amenities for active adults aged 55 and over. Residents have dedicated their lives to military service and continue their efforts in retirement, with a host of ongoing efforts for the betterment of Brevard County veterans and the regional military community.

The generous donors of Indian River Colony Club are represented by the Indian River Colony Club Foundation, Inc., under the leadership of Foundation Board Chairman and retired U.S. Navy Commander, Timothy Higgins and Vice Chairman, Lieutenant Colonel USAF (Ret), Mike Feener.  Military Services Organization Committee is chaired by retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Brian Whalen. The purpose of the IRCC Foundation is to provide grants for educational, medical, emergency, and other charitable purposes to employees and residents of IRCC and to organizations that assist individuals who are current or former members of the Uniformed Services of the United States. For more information about Indian River Colony Club or the Foundation, call 321-255-6000.

Featured Photo: The presentation of the $5,000 grant to Patriot Service Dogs included, (L to R) Sarah Kedzierski, IRCC Foundation Board member; Mike Feener, Foundation Vice Chairman; Victoria Sanderson, Lead Trainer for Patriot Service Dogs; Jack DeFreytas, Marine veteran and IRCC resident; and Bailey, Jack’s trained Patriot Service Dog. The Patriot Service Dogs organization provides trained service dogs for veterans with PTSD and other issues.

About Patriot Service Dogs — Founded in 2009 and based in Marion County, Florida, Patriot Service Dogs trains high-quality service dogs for veterans without charge. The organization is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International, the leading authority on assistance dogs world-wide. All dogs are trained to assist veterans struggling with a range of issues including PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma, mobility loss, and more. To date, Patriot Service Dogs has matched 59 veterans with a service dog.

The two-year training each puppy undergoes is supported by sponsorship donations and conducted by volunteer puppy raisers and incarcerated women in the WOOF Prison Program at Lowell Correctional Facility. This dual training program creates a unique bond between volunteer members of the community, incarcerated women, sponsorship donors, and the veteran recipients.

With an average of 15-20 dogs in training at any time, Patriot Service Dogs is not a large organization, but its size is its strength. No volunteer, veteran, sponsor, or dog is just a name on a spreadsheet. Patriot Service Dogs is a community working hard together to improve the lives of veterans. Patriot Service Dogs is a registered 501(c)(3) organization–EIN 27-0537995. To learn more, visit

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