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For Good: Tampa community raises funds for Southeastern Guide Dogs

Bolt of Southeastern Guide Dogs

A cigar roller at J.C. Newman Cigar Company prepares the tobacco leaf.

Supporters of Southeastern Guide Dogs watch a cigar being made.

Rolled cigars ready for trimming and boxing.

A cigar roller at J.C. Newman Cigar Company puts finishing touches on cigars.

Bobby Newman kicks off fundraiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Paws for Patriots

The Tampa Bay Trust Company and USAmeriBank teamed up to sponsor HISTORY & HOPE, a recent event at the J C Newman Cigar Company in Ybor City to raise awareness and funds for Southeastern Guide Dogs (SEGD).

More than 150 guests supported the cause by attending an event within the charming and historic cigar factory that is treasured by Tampa locals. Guests were treated to fascinating tours in this factory that is one of the last in the country to hand roll their own cigars. Guests also enjoyed libations and delicious cuisine by Columbia Restaurant and Cigar City Brewing.

Bobby Newman, third generation owner of the cigar company is a longtime devoted board member of the Southeastern Guide Dog organization. He has a retired guide dog of his own, Jeanie, trained by SEGD and who serves as unofficial mascot, loved by employees and friends of the company. Al Rogers, EVP of USAmeriBank highlighted the organization’s invaluable place in our community and nationwide, as SEGD provides dogs wherever people need them across the United States.

A trainer works with Bolt of Southeastern Guide Dogs.Kim Hyde, lead trainer at SEGD confirmed the talent and dedication of the dogs and their trainers during a brief demonstration with her enthusiastic companion, “Bolt.” She explained that the training of one dog takes no less than 2 years and an investment of $60,000.   

The HISTORY & HOPE event is also an opportunity to showcase our appreciation for our military, since many veterans receive guide dogs to assist with PTSD and physical disabilities. The event was honored by the presence of Command Sergeant Major Patrick McCauley, Command Senior Enlisted Leader of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), housed at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. He captivated the audience with highlights on global security coverage provided by USSOCOM to protect not only the people and borders of the United States, but our interests and people worldwide. CSM McCauley has his own connection to SEGD through his close personal friendship with a veteran who received a dog trained through the organization.

Following the talk, Terry Igo, CEO of The Tampa Bay Trust Company, hosted an impromptu pledge drive and brief auction to fund the training of one dog. Guests from that night’s event have donated over $40,000 and counting. Touched by the effort, partners of Skyway Capital Markets LLC, Martin Traber and Roger Overby, have now pledged an additional $10,000 gift on behalf of their company, bringing their total contribution to over $50,000.

For more information or to support as a volunteer or through donations, visit the website for Southeastern Guide Dogs.  

Funding for stories about philanthropy is provided by The Tampa Bay Trust Company. Judy Bricker is Director of Corporate Marketing at The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company.

The Tampa Bay Trust Company and The Naples Trust Company are divisions of The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company of Sanibel, Florida; an independent firm with $1.7 billion in assets under management that provides family office and wealth management services, including investment management, trust administration and financial counsel to high net worth individuals, families, businesses, foundations and endowments. Founded in 2001 as a state-chartered independent trust company, the firm is focused on wealth management services that are absolute-return oriented and performance driven. Each portfolio is separately managed and customized specifically to the client’s yield and cash-flow requirements.  Offices in Tampa, Belleair, Winter Haven, Sanibel-Captiva, Naples and Marco Island. 
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