A charity gala to benefit the Middletown-based Forever In My Heart Foundation will be held Sept. 28 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino Grand Pequot Ballroom.
The event, which features Montel Williams as celebrity guest speaker, will run from 5 to 10 p.m.
“Forever In My Heart Foundation was founded to make an impact in the lives of homeless dogs in animal shelters and disabled U.S. veterans in our communities,” Alicki said.
Heidi Voight from NBC Connecticut will emcee the evening, and Los Angeles-based Dr. Barbara J. Gitlitz, who “is devoted to changing laws and protecting animals against cruelty and abuse,” are also expected to attend, according to foundation founder and president Mira Alicki, owner of Mira’s Jewelry Designs at 476 Main St.
The event will include live entertainment, food prepared by Foxwoods’ executive chef and dancing. Proceeds will go toward the foundation’s mission to save dogs in shelters and improve lives of Connecticut’s disabled veterans, according to Alicki.
“His work and devotion to military and veteran community matches the mission of our foundation,” Alicki said of Williams, who is hosting a new season of “Military Makeover with Montel,” a reality show focused on rebuilding houses and lives of military and veterans families.
The night will feature representatives of the Navy Submarine Base, the Foxwoods Tribal Color Guard, Eastern Pequot Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot veterans. Col. Robert Carter, command chaplin at West Point, will offer a blessing of the foundation and animals, according to Alicki.
The all-volunteer charity works with experienced, certified trainers and various animal shelters/rescue groups in efforts save the lives of homeless dogs and train them to become service dogs for disabled veterans, Alicki said.
All dogs are donated for free to veterans with mobility and PTSD disabilities, Alicki said. Most are unable to afford these dogs, which cost between $18,000 and $25,000 to train, she added.
Recently, the foundation worked with the state Department of Correction to place dogs at York Correctional Institute in Niantic.
“It is a great rehabilitating program for inmates, as well as wonderful opportunity for our organization to expand and create additional program focused not only on training service dogs for disabled veterans, but also on rehabilitating the inmates,” Alicki said.
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