NEAR HARTFORD, S.D. (KELO) – Veterans Day is just days away and Levo Credit Union is giving back to service members and their dogs.

The dogs at Big Paws Canine are being trained to handle a big job — helping a disabled veteran or retired first responder.

Veteran Kelly Smith knows the importance of not only the dog’s job, but also the job of the trainers.

“It is actually a life-changing difference, not only with me, but I’ve seen the other vets, the other first responders,” Smith said. “The difference that Gail and Big Paws makes in somebody’s life is absolutely astronomical.”

Levo Credit Union recognizes the importance as well, that’s why they’re donating $1,000 to the non-profit.

“We have many members who are veterans and we also have several staff members who are veterans and we like to do that to honor them and to honor all veterans for the sacrifice they’ve made for our country,” Jen McKeown, executive director of the Levo Cares Foundation, said.

Gail Dickerson with Big Paws Canine says the donation will go toward expanding training facilities.

“The crunch is on to get it done because the weather is not going to hold out much longer and we’ve been doing a lot of training outside,” Dickerson said.

The help means a lot ahead of Veterans Day.

“It’s fine for us to say ‘thank you for your service,’ but steps like this actually help our veterans know that their service has been appreciated,” Dickerson said.

Right now there is a donation challenge happening with Big Paws Canine where each donation up to $10,000 will be matched by an anonymous donor. So Levo’s donation will become $2,000.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can contribute to the challenge, click here to visit the Big Paws Canine website.