Paddling down the Mississippi for PAD

Need money for the kayak and expenses for the over a month long fundraising trip. After the trip all equipment will be sold and all proceeds will go to Patriot Assistance Dogs. Patriot Assistance Dog (PAD) Mississippi River Trip I am Michael Giovingo, Master Sergent, Retired from 24 Years of Service I joined the armed services of the United States in 1981. I have been deployed with the 214th Engineering and Installation unit in New Orleans, LA 6 times. I was deployed (2nd Tour) to Iraq in 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and destroyed my house in Arabi, Louisiana. My house was under 11 feet of water when I returned from this second deployment. I was homeless and my only possessions were what I came back with from deployment. The next 4 subsequent deployments were in Afghanistan. During the last deployment I was a Quality Assurance (QA) for jobs done all over the country that teams of my fellow troops completed. Unfortunately I had to travel by any means necessary to get to these locations. That included convoys which were attacked by the enemy several times which included Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs). I was very lucky to survive these attacks but did suffer from the effects of these attacks. I have severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which meant I was a shut in, who was too “on guard” to leave the house. I suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), no sleep and distrust of any strangers. I went to the VA and got some help but was unable to return to somewhat normal life. My doctor suggested I try to get a service dog. This was a daunting task. I finally found Patriot Assistance Dogs (PAD) in Detroit Lakes Minnesota. I was lucky enough to get my service dog Scout who transformed my life for the better. I was able with his help to go out of my house and into society. I am doing so much better now that I want to give back and help other veterans who are out there right now with similar issues. I came up with the Idea of a fund raiser for PAD. This would enable them to get and train more service dogs for disabled veterans. They provide these magnificent animals at no cost to the veterans. The cost to train and provide one animal is about $18,000.00. These great people dedicate their time and skills on a volunteer basis. My fund raiser concept is for me to hand-build a “Stitch & Glue” Kayak and navigate it down the Mississippi River from Minnesota all of the way to the Gulf of Mexico. This trip is very important to me since the folks at PAD have literally saved my life. I hope that this 2318 mile trip from the headwaters to the mouth of the Mississippi River raises as much money as possible to help those people and my fellow Military Service Veterans. I am planning to make stops along the way to promote and show awareness to the others who suffer from PTSD and give them hope. 23 veterans a day commit suicide and that is totally unacceptable. I am trying to do my little part to help lower that number. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Donations

  • Denis Finigan 
    • $75 
    • 6 mos
  • Kathy Giovingo 
    • $20 
    • 6 mos
  • Lisa Grillot 
    • $150 
    • 6 mos
  • John Seither  
    • $20 
    • 6 mos
  • Jason Vidacovich  
    • $50 
    • 6 mos

Organizer

Michael Giovingo 
Organizer
Arabi, LA
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