The Sigma Pi chapter at the University of San Diego has taken a puppy philanthropy to a new level. Sigma Pi brother JesseNebres had noticed that fellow USD student Michael Girard, who had lost his sight after being the victim of a hit and run a number of years before, was having a difficult time getting around campus. Nebres struck up a friendship with Girard, and asked why he didn’t have a service dog. According to NBC7, “Girard said he’s on scholarship at USD, and while he qualifies for a service dog, he didn’t have the means to pay for the costs that come with having a service companion, including medical care and food.”
So Nebres did what any self-respecting frat guy would do — he rallied his brothers to help. Together, they launched “Operation Bow Wow.” For the next eighteen months, the chapter worked to raise the $10,000 to cover the expenses for Girard to receive a service dog. And the campus sororities’ got in on the act too. One sister’s dad, a local vet, promised free care for the animal for life.
“We thought it’d be a good idea to try to make his life a little bit better. He’s been through a lot. Knowing that we could make a difference for him, to get him a guide dog that could be with him when students are not able to help him out, that was a cause everyone rallied around,” Nebres said. “It was incredible to see how many organizations knew Mike, and wanted to help get him that guide dog.”
Everyone’s hard work came to fruition last month, when Girard received Eric, a 19-month-old German Shepard trained as a seeing-eye dog. Girard told NBC7 that the difference his new best friend has made in his life is incredible.
I have greater mobility; I have greater confidence in crossing the street. Because I was hit and run down, I still deal with some post-traumatic stress of wondering where the other side of the curb [is]. I don’t worry that I’m going to be hit and run down again. Most of the fraternities helped me before I tried to help myself. I have been so honored to be a recipient of so much service from people associated with Greek organizations. I’m still overwhelmed by so many people’s outreach. The support has touched me in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. The kind support of the people from Greek life – that I find a new life with Greek life – and it can enable me to transform my very challenging life into a very remarkable life
If you ask me, the brothers of Sigma Pi are pretty remarkable too..
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