• Volunteer affects community with pet therapy

  • Jim Iverson is the second featured volunteer.

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    Volunteers are a vital part of the Fort Leavenworth community, giving tens of thousands of hours of their time and saving the post millions of dollars. This is the second of a series of articles on volunteers who support the post. They represent the many who will be recognized in a ceremony at 1 p.m. April 20 at the Frontier Conference Center.
    Jim Iverson has two therapy dogs and participates as a volunteer with Fort Leavenworth Human Animal Bond. He has been a volunteer member for more than one year. ​
    Iverson takes his golden retrievers, Mabel, 3, and Mia, 2, to visit people at the Joint Regional Correctional Facility and Munson Army Health Center on post every month. ​He takes time away from his printing business to attend Human Animal Bond events throughout the community.
    Human Animal Bond Inc. is a non-profit service organization staffed by area volunteers dedicated to providing animal-assisted activities and promoting the human-animal bond. It consists of teams that go on scheduled visits to area schools, health care facilities and convalescent centers. Iverson said he and his dogs also visit the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth where they visit students before final exams, and visit the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth’s retirement facility at Ross Hall. He said they visit autistic children and classes at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School in Leavenworth and Lansing Elementary School in Lansing, as well as regularly participate in the Lansing Library’s “Read to the Dogs” program.
    “Last year I logged over 80 visits with Mia and Mabel,” Iverson said. “I’ve had golden retrievers all my life. I have found they like to do any service work. They love to please.”
    Iverson said volunteering has been an important aspect of his life since childhood. He said the effect of volunteers on their community is significant and often immeasurable.
    “​I was always taught to give back to my community,” Iverson said. “My grandfathers and grandmothers, as well as my father and mother, were role models for me growing up. It is important to me to serve.”
    Iverson said anyone interested in becoming a member of Human Animal Bond should contact the group and complete a membership application. He said the organization website contains details about the organization and how people and their pets can get involved. For information, visit www.ftleavenworthhab.com/.
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