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Cedar Bend

Making a Difference for Man's Best Friend

When the VGM Insurance Services team chose the Cedar Bend Humane Society (CBHS) as their charity to support in 2019, little did they know the difference they would be making. The team-building experiences for themselves would be secondary to the positive effect they would have on the 30+ dogs at the facility, and the CBHS organization as a whole.

Of the many projects and needs on CBHS’ wish list, the group decided to tackle a large one: update two outdoor play spaces for the dogs living at CBHS. It would involve not only raising money for 92 tons of pea gravel, but doing the labor as well.

According to VGM employee Nick Rohle, the choice to support CBHS was simple. “A lot of us had adopted pets from here, so it’s something that was near and dear to a lot of our hearts,” said Rohle.  

February kicked off the fundraising part of the project with a “Breakfast Pizza for PAWS” event within the Insurance department. Additional fundraisers in March brought in more money for the project and were fun in the process. A March Madness NCAA basketball tournament pool had 38 participants placing their “bets” on the winner of the tournament, but after the final game, the winners chose to donate their winnings to support the cause.

A final “Pizza for PAWS” event in March was extended to all VGM employees in Waterloo and was enough to push the group’s net profit to nearly $2,000 – enough to cover the cost of the rock.

With the funds finally available, the group secured delivery of the gravel and lined up a skid loader operator who also donated his machinery, time, and labor. Three months after initially taking on the task, on May 15, 20+ volunteers spent hours prepping the ground and spreading the gravel over the two large fenced-in spaces.

Transforming the uneven dirt areas with the small rock not only makes the spaces more inviting and safe for the dogs, it also means the dogs—and their kennels—remain clean after playing outside. Kristy Gardner from CBHS said the change has had an enormous impact on the animals and on the shelter.

“I know the volunteer groups like VGM. They give back to the community on a regular basis,” said Gardner. “I don’t know that they realize that it’s life-altering for our organization and some of the animals in it. It really makes a huge difference on a lot of lives for our adoption dogs.”

VGM employee Michelle Newman, who has three dogs of her own at home, enjoyed the experience for the team building and the difference made in the lives of the animals at CBHS. “I just wanted to come out, see all the animals, and help to give them a better place to live,” said Newman. “Keep ‘em happy until they find their forever home.”

If your business is interested in supporting CBHS through volunteer work or financial support for larger projects, visit CBHS Buildings and Campus Projects or the CBHS volunteer page.



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