Skyway Concession Company's 2018 Veterans Support Grant Goes to K9's for Veterans Chicago

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K9's for Veterans Chicago, helping veterans facing PTSD, is the recipient of Skyway Concession Company's $10,000 annual grant to programs providing direct assistance to military veterans and their families. K9's for Veterans rescues and trains shelter dogs to become service dogs for veterans confronting problems in returning to civilian life.

Veteran and SCC General Counsel Margaret OConnor and Executive Assistant Lindsey Heys present $10,000 check to K9's for Veterans Chicago's Michael Tellerino.

" K9's for Veterans saves these dogs and they become life-savers for our returning vets with PTSD," says Tellerino.

K9's for Veterans Chicago NFP is the recipient of the Skyway Concession Company's (SCC) 2018 Veterans Support Grant. To commemorate Veterans' Day, each year, SCC donates $10,000 to an organization that provides direct support to veterans and their families. Since 2005, when Skyway Concession Company (SCC) was formed to operate the Chicago Skyway Bridge, more than $130,000 has been contributed to veterans support causes. This year, K9's for Veterans Chicago was selected because of the organization's outstanding work to assist veterans struggling with Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder.

"Skyway Concession Company is very proud to support K9's for Veterans Chicago in this important mission," said SCC Chief Executive Officer Fernando Redondo. "Returning veterans need our support and these dogs have proven to be critical in helping some of our veterans reclaim the quality of life they richly deserve."

Everyday, returning veterans are trying to cope with recurrent nightmares, flashbacks, depression and crippling anxiety that prevents them from successfully re-entering society. K9 companions have been shown to help these veterans transition back into civilian life. That is the mission of K9's for Veterans Chicago.

What makes this organization unique is the fact that it rescues and trains dogs from shelters to become partners for veterans. "K9's for Veterans saves these dogs and they become life-savers for our returning vets with PTSD, " said Michael Tellerino, Chief Executive Officer. "We are so grateful to Skyway Concession Company. $10,000 goes a long way for an organization like ours."

It takes a special dog to be a service dog because these dogs are so much more than pets. Many service dogs are highly intuitive and selected for their potential to love and bond so deeply with their owners that they can signal issues such as migraines, seizures or debilitating mood shifts even before the veteran is aware of what’s happening. They are chosen for their easy temperaments, calm demeanor and ability to focus and serve under pressure.

Working dogs are partnered with veterans and undergo 8 to18 months of training to really get to know and understand their veterans and learn minimum behavior standards. Because of their special status, service dogs are allowed to accompany their veterans anywhere general members of the public are allowed, including supermarkets, restaurants and places of entertainment. K9's for Veterans Chicago provides all the training for veterans and their dogs and also provides food and medical care for the life of the dog.

About the Chicago Skyway: Built by the City of Chicago in 1958, the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge is a 7.8-mile-long toll road that connects the Indiana Toll Road to the Dan Ryan Expressway on Chicago's South Side. The main feature of the Skyway is a 1⁄2-mile-long steel truss bridge, known as the "High Bridge." The bridge itself spans the Calumet River and Calumet Harbor, a major harbor for industrial ships – its main span extends 650 feet long and provides for 125 feet of vertical clearance.

The City of Chicago maintained and operated the Chicago Skyway until January 2005 when Skyway Concession Company assumed those responsibilities pursuant to a 99-year lease. The lease agreement between Skyway and the City of Chicago was the first privatization of an existing toll road in the United States. In February 2016, the Skyway was purchased by three Canadian Pension Funds - OMERS Infrastructure, CPP Investment Board, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

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