McLEAN, Va. (Dec. 28, 2010) – For Ean Williams, a 9-year-old boy from Bulgaria who along with his sister were adopted by an American family, life just got a little easier with a grant from the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation that provides him with a skilled companion dog named Kobe.
“Ean’s disabilities are very complicated and very rare,” said Nancy Williams, Ean’s adoptive mother. “Kobe helps Ean in the morning get his brace and his shoes. [Ean] needs assistance with dressing, so Kobe’s just there to help bring things to him.”
Williams said Kobe helps her son to the bus, making sure that he’s safe crossing the street. Kobe also opens handicap doors by pressing the button, she said.
“And then after school, just in terms of daily living, [Kobe] really bridges the gap socially with children who are not disabled and brings them a little bit closer to Ean,” Williams said.
The partnership between Ean and Kobe was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Frank E. McCarthy Memorial Fund to Canine Companions for Independence, which provides highly-trained service dogs to assist children and adults with physical disabilities.
McCarthy served as NADA’s chief operating officer for more than three decades. NADA’s charitable foundation established the fund to honor McCarthy after his death in 2001.
“I am always so grateful that the car dealers have chosen to honor Frank in this special way. I think he would be delighted with this,” said Pat McCarthy, referring to her late husband. Mrs. McCarthy presented the $10,000 grant to Canine Companions at NADA in McLean, Va., on Dec. 13. “It’s very meaningful to us to see handsome young men like Ean receive these beautiful dogs.”
To date, the fund has provided grants of more than $110,000 to help train and place 11 dogs.
Click here to watch the related NADA-TV report.
About NADA: The National Automobile Dealers Association, founded in 1917, represents nearly 17,000 new-car and -truck dealers with about 37,500 franchises, both domestic and international.
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