(Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/CANADIAN PRESS)

Lacombe group raising funds for service dogs for people living with PTSD

Order of the Eastern star hosting talk on Oct. 12

The Order of the Eastern Star Lacombe chapter is hosting a fundraiser for Courageous Companions — an organization that provides service dogs to people living with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Beth Tripp, general grand chapter committee member for service dogs and Lacombe resident has been raising money for the organizations for the past three years and said the majority of the dogs go to former military members and RCMP officers.

“At Grand Chapter, we had speakers come from Courageous Companions and the lady who spoke really touched people,” Tripp said. “She went through a lot and that led to our chapter asking if we could have a fundraiser for Courageous Companions.”

The event, which will be on Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Masonic Hall in Lacombe, will cost $15 per person and Tripp hopes they will be able to comfortable fit around 100 people in the hall.

Tripp said they are hoping to have at least three members of Courageous Companions speak about how service dogs help people living with PTSD.

The first expected speaker is John Dugas, who is the chairman of Courageous Companions and the second is First-responder Katherine Freeman, who was present at ground zero during the New York City 9-11 attacks; the Desaparesio — which was in El Salvador during the 1980s when 70,000 civilians were tortured, assassinated or went missing; and many other international disasters including the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Tripp is also hoping to have at least one other speaker at the event.

Tickets must be pre-purchased for the event by Sept 30 and coffee, light refreshments and light snacks will be served. There will also be gift baskets raffled off, along with door prizes.

Tripp said anyone living with PTSD, or knows someone living with PTSD, will benefit from the talk.

“They are amazing. I saw one of the speakers and her dogs can actually turn on the lights for her if she is having a nightmare. It is mind-boggling what these dogs can do,” Tripp said.

Tripp is hoping to raise as much as she can for the organization which inspired her.

“We usually pull from Eastern Star people, but we are hoping outside people come in and see what we are doing,” she said.

The Order of the Eastern Star is a fraternal organization who’s membership is based on either being a Free Mason, or being associated with a Free mason in the case of females. The organization is the largest fraternal group int he world that has both male and female members.

The organization is always looking for new members, according to Tripp.

“We try to look after our members and we do a lot of charity work. Now that we can work at casinos, we donate a lot of money to a lot of charities,” she said.

Tripp has been a member since 1978 and was a former Grand Matron for the province of Alberta. She said her experience shows the group does great work, while also having an enjoyable experience.

“We are good people doing good things and are having a good time doing it,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Tripp at 403 391 9107, Jo-Anne at 403 588 1234 or Diane at 403 343 3086.


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