Freedom Service Dogs 2018 7th Annual Diamonds in the Ruff
Story by Lorenzo Chavez
Photos by Lorenzo Chavez
Diamonds in the Ruff benefitting Freedom Service Dogs
at Wings Over the Rockies- Exploration of Flight, Centennial, Colorado benefiting Freedom Service Dogs at 5:30 pm - 9:30pm
Who doesn’t love dogs? And several well-trained service dogs from the non-profit Freedom Service Dogs were on hand for the FSD’s Diamonds in the Ruff. The annual fundraiser, held Saturday, October 20th, served as the inaugural event for Wings Over the Rockies: Exploration of Flight facility located near the Centennial Airport in Littleton, Colorado. The sold-out gala raised a record amount of approximately $330,000 with more than 500 guests enjoying this year’s theme: Year of the Dog.
Allison Peltier, Karen Moldovan, Lisa Davenport
FOX31 Anchors Aristea Brady and Jeremy Hubbard served as emcees. Former Denver Broncos running back Reggie Rivers returned as the auctioneer extraordinaire. Guests enjoyed a demo featuring service dog-in-training Squints, shopped the fabulous silent and live auctions, and purchased flutes of champagne for the chance to win a one-carat, custom diamond pendant, donated by Larry Blauweiss of Fifth Avenue Designs.
FSD President/CEO Michele Ostrander welcomed the crowd and reviewed the past year’s programs which was followed by a service dog demonstration, program video, and live auction. Among the highlights of the evening was the demonstration by service dog Squints who followed commands to the letter including painstakingly picking up a credit card from a slick stage floor. This year’s Diamonds In The Ruff (DITR) Event Chair was Lani Kessler who with her team of 21 DITR committee members ensured a smooth celebration. Live auctioneer Reggie Rivers generated a lively competitive bidding war for several stuffed golden retrievers, travel packages and other gift items and general donations.
Based in Englewood, Colorado, Freedom Service Dogs provides well-trained service dogs to military veterans, children with autism and people with mobility disabilities to handle life tasks which enable them to regain their independence.
Guests enjoyed an Asian-inspired buffets, silent and live auctions, special entertainment by vocalist, Navy veteran and FSD Client Angela Walker (accompanied by service dog Brave) with guitarist Chris Winter, and a drawing for a diamond pendant (designed and donated by Larry Blauweiss of Fifth Avenue Designs). Several FSD clients and their amazingly trained service dogs were on hand throughout the evening.
This year’s Presenting Sponsor was VISA. Silver Sponsors were: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Denver Life Magazine, Jay’s Valet, Decorative Materials. Bronze Sponsors: Giovanni, TCA ETrade, Baird, FOX31, Mile High Sports Magazine, and The Denver Post. For more information visit the web site at freedomservicedogs.org or call 303-922-6231.
Guests enjoyed the silent auction under the tent at the new Wings Over the Rockies Centennial facility
This year’s Diamonds in the Ruff was the very first event for the Wings Over the Rockies venue in Centennial
The theme for 2018: Year of the Dog
Presenting Sponsor VISA ensured a well-attended and successful event
Special Thanks to Newberry Brothers and Annie O’s
Among the highlights of this annual event are the well-trained service dogs
Year of the Dog was the theme this year
Silent and live auctions helped raise funds for this signature event
Dog trainer Morgan Karol demonstrating service dog skills with trainee, Squints
Allison Peltier, Karen Moldovan, Lisa Davenport
Kevin and Carole Shaw
Karen Coleman and Addie Coleman
The Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight facility in Centennial opened this summer
Molly Pilch, Gilda Kaplin
Freedom Service Dogs Board Chair Tom Scanlan, Nadine and Andrew Pace, and Squints
Christina Turissini, Diane Dubose
Lucy and Michael Mullins
More than 400 guests attended the annual Diamonds in the Ruff
Margot Hampleman, Nancy Jeffrey
Guests took advantage of several funding opportunities
VISA was the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Diamonds in the Ruff event
Phillip Cameron, Claire Duclos, and Holly Cameron with Frosty
Michele Ostrander, President and CEO | Laura Edwards, Director of Dog Operations | Erin Conley, Director of Communications | Lindsay Ganassa, Director of Philanthropy | Patricia Al-Abssi, Administrative Assistant | Kimberlee Bow, Client Services Coordinator | Lisa Davenport, Content Coordinator | Stephanie Guild, Animal Health Manager | Ryan Holman, Volunteer Manager | Morgan Karol, Dog Training Manager | Fran Menley, Dog Intake Manager | Karen Moldovan, Grants & Foundation Relations Manager | David Neff, Adoptions & Program Coordinator | Bob Neuberger, Veteran Services Coordinator | Nadine Pace, Events & Community Partnerships Manager | Laura Rogers, Business Operations Manager | Kate Goble, Donor Relations Coordinator | Sarah Sypolt, Client Relations Manager | Ruby Purdy, Lead Dog Caretaker | Dog Caretakers: Anne Burgess, Sam Graeff, Sierra Knotts, Lisa Krieger, Amy Leewood, Laura McGaughey, Allison Peltier, Shelby Casey, Irene Fobe, Carolyn Gentile, Kelly Lazarczyk, Alison Lentz, Amy Medina, Nina Muller, Hannah Perruccio, Tara Perry
FOX31 Anchors and Emcees Aristea Brady and Jeremy Hubbard
Vocalist and US Navy Veteran Angela Walker with service dog Brave and Guitarist Chris Winters
Presenting Sponsor: VISA | Silver Sponsors: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Denver Life Magazine, Jay's Valet, Decorative Materials | Bronze Sponsors: Giovanni, TCA ETrade, Baird, FOX31, Mile High Sports Magazine, The Denver Post | Beverage Sponsor: Breckenridge Brewery, Republic National | Entertainment Sponsor: Colorado State Bank and Trust
Alsco Linens, Annie O's, Jay's Valet, Newberry Brothers, Table Sponsors, and the many sponsors, volunteers and staff who assisted in making Diamonds in the Ruff a success
Diamonds in the Ruff (DITR) Committee Chair Lani Kessler | DITR Committee: Meghan Aspden, Megan Beigl, Kiaya Chapman, Megan Freas, Michelle Herian, Gilda Kaplan, Cathy Kennedy, Lauren Lechner, Karen Lowenstein, Anne Belle Merrill, Melissa Morrow, Nina Muller, Diniele Nepper, Karen Novick, Jacquee Peebles, Julie Roberts, Paula Roth, Sharon Scanlan, Jan Serach, Michelle Search, Ali Tanner
Board of Directors:
Board Chair: Tom Scanlan | Vice Chair: Blake Johnson | Vice Chair: Gabriel Koroluk | Secretary: Margaux Trammell | Treasurer: Heidi MacIntyre | Board Members: Dr. Allison Friederichs, Ryan Godsil, Kristi Graning, Margot Hampleman, Lani Kessler, Peter Meyers, Lee Mickus, Debra Nelson, Josh Robbins, Michelle Search, Neal Stanley, Brian Sward, Shon Wilson