On Friday, May 27th, community members came together to support the loving memory and birthday of James E. Riley at the initiation of the annual James E. Riley Memorial Golf Outing at Klinger Lake Country Club. The James E. Riley Fund partners with the Emotional Support Animal Program of the St. Joseph County Office of Veterans’ Affairs to bring together trained dogs with Veterans.
When asked what the James E. Memorial Fund is doing, Shelia Riley noted that the program is,
“Providing emotional support dogs for vets. The family also loves dogs and golfing on Klinger Lake Golf Course.”
Naturally, the families’ interests inspired the meaning behind the fund. The Riley family, including Jim’s Wife Shelia and daughters Jessica and Ashley, were in attendance and set up the James E. Riley Memorial Fund through the Sturgis Area Community Foundation in November of 2021.
About James Riley
James was a Michigan native and a longtime Klinger Lake resident who would often be found playing golf when not spending time with his family. Jim served the surrounding local communities by being a member of numerous boards, including Klinger Lake Country Club. James also served in the United States Army from 1971 to 1972, where he was stationed in Korea. The Riley family shared that James met Shelia shortly before he was shipped overseas but carried a picture of her through the floods of Korea as a keepsake.
About Emotional Support Animal Program of Veterans’ Affairs
The Emotional Support Animal Program of Veterans Affairs was founded in 2019. Currently, the Director of the Program, Stoney Summey, stated that they only had two dogs when they first got their start. Today, the program has grown to 26 dogs that are trained in a four-week period and then connected to veterans that may require additional aid. The program's trainer, Nicole Ernsberger, works with the Emotional Animal Support Program to ensure dogs are on their best behavior by the time they are bridged to their new veteran owner.
To learn how SACF can help you reach your charitable goals, explore the Giving section of our website, or contact us at (269) 659-8508.