SD Gunner Fund Press


A Forest Acres teenage is set to embark on a 110 mile trek to raise awareness about the issues veterans and active duty members face.

16-year-old Ellerbe Kinard will take part in the “Face of America” ride from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia to the Civil War battlefields in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from April 24th through the 26th. The bicycle and hand cycle rise will comprise of about 600 veterans and active-duty members, with injuries ranging from amputation to PTSD.

A 16-year-old girl from Forest Acres is planning on making quite the trip in April. She’s going to be riding 110 miles on an electric trike bike to help raise funds in support of military vets.

Ellerbe Kinard says she got the idea in part because her family has a strong military history. Her grandfather served in the Vietnam War. Her father, Hamilton, also received the Purple Heart for his service in Iraq and currently struggles with PTSD

Cross country runner Ellerbe Kinard was a young girl in March, 2005 when her father, US Army Corporal Hamilton Douglas Kinard, sustained severe injuries in an IED attack in Iraq. This April 22-24, 16-year-old Ellerbe will be joining her father in riding national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Face of America from Arlington, Virginia to the historic battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The old adage about dog being man's best friend has special meaning for a Brooklet man who returned home from serving his country with a heavy load on his shoulders.

Retired United States Marine Cpl. Josh Donaldson suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from what he endured as a Marine serving in Afghanistan, but a dog named Abram is his medicine.

Through a program that trains and provides service dogs to soldiers in need, the SD Gunner Fund, Donaldson received Abram, a black Labrador retriever, about three weeks ago. The nonprofit agency assists veterans and disabled children with the financial side of obtaining and owning much-needed service animals, and Donaldson was united with Abram during a ceremony recently at The Dog Spot in Ellabell.

The Dog Spot in Pembroke was recently the site of a significant occasion in the life of retired U.S. Marine Cpl. Josh Donaldson. On Jan. 5 Donaldson received a service dog through the SD Gunner Fund.

Donaldson, an Iraq War veteran, who suffers with stress and anxiety issues since leaving the military in 2013 will now receive some coping assistance from a specially trained black Labrador retriever named Abram.

For the month of December Seeds of Service Project, the Evans County 4-H program will be collecting pennies to donate to the SD Gunner Fund


[Britnee Kinard] one of the most influential disabled veteran caregivers in the southeastern United States, has been recognized by Georgia Senator’s Hill of the 4th, Hill of the 6th, Dugan of the 30th and Harbison of the 15th in Georgia Senate Resolution 475 for her work with veterans and caregivers.

Get to know Britnee Kinard, recipient of the 2015 Caregiver Lincoln Award.

The SD Gunner Fund assists Veterans and disabled children with the financial expenses associated with owning much-needed service animals, which require a variety of items in order to perform their duties.

[Senate Resolution] recognize and commend Britnee Kinard for her dedicated service to United States veterans 24 and military families and congratulate her upon being honored with the Lincoln Caregiver 25 Award.

Who's Who Among Notable Alumni profile

I can’t imagine what our lives would be like without Gunner, so we started the SD Gunner Fund in June 2014. It’s a nonprofit organization to financially assist others with owning and caring for much needed service animals.

We kinda stepped in... because, there's a lot of organizations that provide service animals, but a lot of them, once you get the service animals, that's it

The SD Gunner Fund, named for the sergeant’s service dog, assists veterans and disabled children with the financial expenses associated with owning service animals, and the organization expects to be able to help 3,000 military families in the coming year.

This surprising presentation after more than 60 years is thanks to the dedication of people at the SD Gunner Fund, a non-profit organization that was created to assist Veterans and disabled children with the financial expense of owning much needed service animals.

Mauer and Smith immediately gave the box to Kinard, president of the SD Gunner Fund that provides assistance to veterans and children with disabilities.

Kinard was soon able to track down Campbell and his family to return the box.

President Britnee Kinard said that “Donations from the community such as the Rotary Club grant will help us extend our important work to the many veterans and their families who could benefit. Our family benefits so much from Gunner, our own service dog who helps my husband Hamilton, an Iraq war veteran who has severe PTSD and our five year old son Blayne who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

Kinard, whose husband is a disabled OIF Army Sgt., feels a strong connection to the military and was excited to help reconnect the letters to the family.

... the love letters from the World War II veteran and his wife Elizabeth were discovered by Britnee Kinard and her friends Lara Mauer and Stephanie Smith, who were clearing out an abandoned home in Claxton, GA. In addition to the letters, the box contained a Purple Heart and a marriage license.

... more than 70 years later, Michael finally got a glimpse at his parents' love affair through a newly discovered box of letters the couple wrote to each other during the war.

During the event fund founder Britnee Kinard shared her personal family experiences of dealing with her husband’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and son’s autism; and more than 60 attendees listened to presentations and watched videos demonstrate the benefits of service animals to handicapped veterans and children with special needs.

However Mr Campbell has now been given the incredible chance to get to know his father, after a trove of love letters that were sent to his 19-year-old mother during the war were found in a box inside an abandoned house in Augusta, Georgia - 70 years after his dad died.

"Take good care of yourself and our son, write to me as often as possible and remember I love you so much." Those were the last words written by Campbell to his wife. Their only son Michael read his words for the first time Saturday.

[translated from Dutch] Only a month old was American Michael Campbell when he lost his father. More than seventy years after the death of Father Charles Michael has finally heard from him.

The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill donated $2,000 to the SD Gunner fund to provide a local family with a service dog. Jake, a yellow Labrador, is being trained to assist the Aklan family and specifically Ryan (10 years) and Trevor (6 years) who have autism. The money goes towards registering and training Jake as well as providing him with the necessary service dog equipment. John Aklan, the boys’ father, is deployed with the US Army and the boys’ mother Erica Aklan received the check on the family’s behalf.

The SD Gunner Fund was created to assist Veterans & disabled children with the financial expense of owning much needed service animals. Service Animals require a variety of necessary items in order to perform their service. Those items can include but are not limited to: vests, custom harnesses, other assistance items, veterinary visits, and more. Service dogs are trained to support individuals with mobility, hearing, psychiatric, and brain/neurological disabilities. These dogs are professionally trained to meet the individual needs of their partner and completes tasks such as opening doors, picking up dropped objects, assisting with daily dressing, or pulling a manual wheelchair. The SD Gunner Fund can also assist Veterans and disabled children with a variety of “other” financial assistance if needed.

Promotional video for SD Gunner Fund (YouTube)

The SD Gunner Fund is hosting a luncheon on Veteran’s Day to aid in fundraising efforts to help disabled veterans.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:45am – 1:00pm

In 1944, love letters connected high school sweethearts half a world away, and more than 70 years later, they bring a father to his son. Charles Campbell was killed in action in October of 1944, during World War II. His son, Michael, was born a little more than a month after. “He was always my hero, even though I didn’t know him,” Campbell says. His father was just 21-years-old when he died at sea.

In July 2014, Kinard founded the SD Gunner Fund, inspired by her 15-month struggle to get her husband’s service dog approved by the V.A.

Through the fund, she provides assistance to soldiers and their families in Evans County, GA. Narrated by Alec Baldwin

'We didn’t know at the time, but that house was going to be condemned for black mold,' Laura Mauer told People.

'I found the box on a Thursday and by the following Monday everything had been bagged and destroyed.

'It’s pure luck that I picked up that dusty box when I did or none of this would have happened.'