UPDATE: 12/20 (1800 EST)
Supporters of Cecil and Orlando - I spoke to an attorney representing Cecil today and has asked to work out the transfer of funds shortly after the new year. I realize it would be nice just to hand Cecil a check, but there are some complex regulations regarding gifts/monies provided to someone on disability. I do not want to do anything that will jeopardize his status and I am sure you would agree. I have asked the attorney for a letter too so that I can post for people to see. I will post that as soon as I receive something, but have patience (and I will too). So, if people still want to donate that is fine -- the funds here will go to Cecil, but as you may have seen in his press conference ( http://nbcnews.to/1bQUwNH
) he says he has enough (note that there is over $100,000 between this site and indiegogo) and he'd like further donations to go to Guiding Eyes for the Blind - -- the team that trained Orlando. You can donate to them - in his honor if you desire - here: https://www.guidingeyes.org/donate-now/
Just so you are aware, a new service-dog can cost about $45,000 so think of it as paying it forward for Orlando's successor who will be with Cecil and Orlando next year. - Mark
As reported in the NY Daily News, Cecil Williams, 60, and his black Labrador retriever, Orlando, 11, fell onto the tracks from the A-train platform at 125th St "” the faithful guide dog trying valiantly to save its master, who escaped with minor injuries. Orlando is 11 so he has to retire from service. Insurance companies will not pay for a "non-working dog" and for Cecil to keep Orlando on top of another service dog is too costly at this time. Cecil said he'd keep him if he had the money otherwise he needs to find a family to adopt an 11 year old dog, which is hard. Let's help him out and get him some funds to pay his expenses to take care of Orlando.
While I do not know Mr. Williams I was very moved by this story and want to make sure that he can take care of Orlando the way such a hero deserves. My intent is to provide the funds raised here directly to Cecil Williams and I'm working through the media reporters to reach him. I will post updates as I have them.
Will continue to raise money even beyond the goal and I've spoken to Guiding Eyes for the Blind the 501c3 that provided Orlando to Cecil and trains service dogs like Orlando. Will work with them to ensure that funds can be used without negatively impacting Mr. Williams disability status.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/blind-man-dog-injured-subway-station-article-1.1550257
About me: I live in Washington DC and am a Senior Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States ( www.gfmus.org
) I've worked on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Department of Defense (Pentagon) and served in Afghanistan both in uniform (U.S. Navy) and as a diplomat. You can read more about my work here though it isn't nearly as moving as the stories about Cecil and Orlando ! http://www.gmfus.org/expert/experts_dirc/mark-jacobson