From Volunteer to Recipient
We surprised the Stone family, Van and Nicole with a check presentation on Monday, September 13, 2021 as the official recipients of the 2021 Tee It Up for DAWG Nation Invitational. Van Stone was coming to “volunteer” with his friend Therese Saurber. Van was helping pass out the official Breckenridge Brewery beer at hole ten. We had asked him, his wife Nicole, and Therese to stay for dinner.
What this incredible trio didn’t realize was that golfers were hearing Van’s story all across the tournament and were “passing the hat” in support of Van’s ongoing recovery and care. Golfers were inspired by Van’s resilience and grit in his ongoing efforts to rehab from his traumatic brain injury he suffered on December 21, 2021. DAWG Nation was honored to receive these donations and pour in more to create a check for the Stone family of $60,000. Our generous sponsors, like Trevor Ahbe from TAG, Justin Chalfant from Patch My PC, and George Altz (representing team DREP) gathered around the Stone family as we presented the check.
A Heartfelt Thank You from the Stone Family
How do we even begin to thank you for your unconditional love and generosity? While Van’s life tragically took a turn for the worse along with his family’s lives, back on December 21, 2018, he and his family’s lives would once again be dramatically changed, but this time for the better; on September 10, 2021. DAWG NATION HOCKEY made it possible for Van to get back on the ice and his smile said it all! With DAWG NATION HOCKEY survivors on each side of him for support and the rest of them cheering him on, Van finally got to do what he loves the most, get on the ice and and score a goal, and that he did. This was life changing for Van and the first time in more than almost 3 years, Van was back on the ice. Each and every survivor and DAWG NATION HOCKEY family member that skated with and for Van on Friday September 10th, were there because they truly and whole heartily knew what it was like to get back on the ice for the first time. While we could never thank those players enough for what they had done for Van, they were thanking us for letting them be a part of Van’s first skate, AMAZING! They wanted Van to have the same incredible experience they had and he did! We have never been a part of an organization that truly gave of themselves so selflessly, for another individual that they didn’t even know, but who was experiencing the most difficult time of their life.
After the incredible golf tournament and awesome dinner/presentation Monday night, it was more than difficult to sleep so this allowed us to reflected back on the short time we have known about DAWG NATION HOCKEY. After Meeting with Marty and Mike, ( the 2 most amazing people we know), and watching a short video on what this unbelievable organization is all about, we were dumbfounded to see what these 2 wonderful men accomplished day in and day out. They are definitely at work more hours in a day than they are at home. This could only be because of the loving support of their families. So Monday night, we realized that while Mike and Marty should be called the energizer bunnies, Heroes, seem more appropriate. They have surrounded themselves with DNH survivors and recipients, as well as with a phenomenal and compassionate staff and an endless group of loving volunteers; who are also Heroes. We can’t begin to tell you how excited we are to jump in and volunteer alongside our new DAWG NATION HOCKEY FAMILY.
What we are trying to say, is that DAWG NATION HOCKEY is an exceptional nonprofit organization, that is there for their fellow hockey players and/or DAWG NATION HOCKEY family members. DAWG NATION HOCKEY is beyond generous and we could never say thank you enough for not only getting Van on the ice once again, but for your benevolence in awarding our family an amazing financial gift. Finally, let us say that without DAWG NATION HOCKEY there would be a hole in our society, one that could not be easily filled. Thank you all once again for the wonderful generosity and love but mostly for welcoming all of us into the DAWG NATION HOCKEY FAMILY.
Van and Nicole Stone and Therese Saurber