Observer — 4/12/2013
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Upcoming Golden Gala Fundraising Event Will Benefit Wishbone Pet Rescue & Operation Injured Soldiers
Mary Milewski

NY Times Bestselling Author U.S. Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan & Tuesday To Be Key Speaker & Barker April 26

When Holland resident Angel Vogel picked up and read the New York Times bestselling book, “Until Tuesday”, by U.S. Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, she did not realize what it would mean for the future – in her life and that of so many others, human and animal.

Reading “Until Tuesday” was an experience that propelled her to charge forward to make a change.

She connected with Pet Rescue Education Coordinator Lynda Stein, who also read the book, to organize the Golden Gala fundraising event for April 26 at the Laketown Golf and Conference Center in Saugatuck.

The gala event benefits both the Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance, which operates the Allegan County Animal Shelter, and Operation Injured Soldiers.

“I had never read any stories of dogs of courage. So, I read it, and I was so moved by the story,” Vogel said.

“To me it’s the best book I ever read. The book covered many subject areas and issues. It wasn’t just about veterans or just about dogs. It completely encompassed the entire relationship between humans and the healing power of animals.”

When she finished reading the book, Vogel sent an e-mail to Montalván, thanking him for writing it. The event, which comes as we mark the 10th anniversary of Iraq war, blossomed from there.

Montalván, and his service dog, a Golden Retriever named Tuesday, are coming to West Michigan so the author can deliver a keynote address at the Golden Gala event.

Capt. Montalván, an Iraq war veteran, wrote his memoir about his struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other wounds.

Montalván served 17 years in the U.S. Army, including two combat tours, before departing the military, wounded. He is highly decorated with awards, including two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor and the Combat Action Badge.

“These two causes are most near and dear to the hearts of the american people, particularly right now because each happen to be affected by the state our country is in,” Montalván said.

“Tuesday accompanies me everywhere and helps me with my disabililites as a result of military service. What has brought us together has affected me so profoundly that I wanted to help others by educating and helping people understand more about the needs of people with disabilities, more about assistance dogs and animal assisted therapy, and about the plights of veterans and their families.”

Talking about these issues is a means by which I move forward, he said.

“On a personal level, it helps me feel purposeful. Each of us experiences trauma in our lives – humans and animals. And these traumas are different, such as natural disasters, war, crime, the trauma of loved ones passing, disease, illness. All of this trauma that we experience drives to the very essence of life: overcoming trauma, surviving and trying to be happy,” Montalván said.

“Whether it’s rescuing animals that have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or its people who have been abandoned, abused, neglected – it’s important that we do what we can to help each other and overcome trauma so we can achieve happiness.”

Montalván says he is particularly disturbed by the state of Michigan’s veterans.

“Michigan’s veterans are in a terrible place as far as how they’re being supported – or not supported,” Montalván said. “Sadly, Michigan ranks dead last as far as veterans who are utilizing benefits and entitlements that are available to them and their families.

“And, yet Michigan ranks 10th or 11th as far as overall population of veterans. It has a huge veteran population, and yet they’re last in using their benefits. The ratio doesn’t reflect what they deserve. That is a reflection of local, state and federal governments, who are duty-bound to support the veteran demographic, are failing Michigan veterans and their families – that’s unacceptable.

“We are looking forward to educating and inspiring – but also banging the drum to call attention to the plight of veterans and their families – and also our beloved furry spirits,” Montalván said. “They have a huge part in our lives in positive ways. It’s similarly tragic that so many are in need of help.”

Book reviews online call “Until Tuesday” “A heartwarming dog story like no other: Tuesday, a lovable golden retriever, changes a former soldier's life forever.

Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq.

After returning home from combat, however, his physical wounds and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll.”

Then he met Tuesday, a sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived among prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, and he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being--until Luis.

“Until Tuesday” is the story of how two wounded warriors found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. It is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how, together, they healed each other's souls.

Montalván's writing has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The International Herald Tribune (among others), and NPR, CBS, CNN, BBC, C-SPAN, National Geographic, and Democracy Now! They have all featured his amazing personal tale. Montalvan earned a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

The local Golden Gala fundraising event starts at 6:30 p.m. and includes hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, a book signing, encounters with therapy animals, a silent auction, and, of course, the keynote presentation.

“Their story is unbelievable,” Vogel said. “We really want to make this special for the veterans in attendance to show our respect and our gratitude.”

Learn more about the event and the special guests by visiting

To learn more about Montalván and Tuesday go to: