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June 8, 2018
Meet Brandon Stone; he is Vice President and an Account Executive on our Employee Benefits Team here at Parker, Smith & Feek. Brandon is passionate about helping organizations in the community create a meaningful impact in people’s lives.
Brandon’s youngest brother, Alex, was born with cerebral palsy, and uses a wheelchair to get around. Alex received his service dog Fraser, a black Labrador retriever, from Summit Assistance Dogs in 2006 when he was getting ready to attend Seattle University. Alex had a dream of being able to live on campus independently; Fraser provided him with the ability to do so, completely changing Alex’s life by giving him a partner to help him accomplish things he couldn’t on his own. It tremendously expanded his view of what was possible. As a result, Alex was able to attend graduate school in Vermont and study abroad in South Africa, where he worked with a disability advocacy group; things he would have never dreamed he could do before he had Fraser. Alex now works for Summit Assistance Dogs, and recently started his own non-profit, The Amandla Project, to provide educational opportunities in South Africa to American university students with disabilities.
The entire family is actively involved with Summit Assistance Dogs, as they witnessed the life-changing transformation Fraser provided Alex. They began attending the organization’s luncheon events before Brandon joined the organization’s board of directors in 2013. He has served as vice president since 2016.
For Brandon, it was his brother’s big trip to study abroad that had left a lasting impression on just how significant it was for his brother to have a service dog. This was not simple everyday life; it was a huge undertaking to be able to pick up and live by himself in a foreign country. Brandon’s support for his brother may not be able to take his limitations away, but this dog was able to lift those limits for him. In Brandon’s words, “People have a perception. No matter what it might look like or what you think of those with disabilities, they are some of the most vibrant and intelligent people. They want to be treated like everyone else. I am amazed by my brother regardless of his disability. I look up to him, and his disability is irrelevant.”
Brandon sees what a non-profit organization like Summit Assistance Dogs has achieved in his life as a ripple effect. Whether it’s the positive impact on the men of the Monroe Correctional Complex that help train Summit’s dogs or the students supported by the Amandla Project, it all started because Alex expanded his horizons. Each of those endeavors makes ripples of positive impact as they touch more and more people in our communities.
Through his professional role, Brandon has been able to help non-profits manage their costs and provide benefits to help retain and attract talent. He has been able to take what he would do with any other employer and make a real difference in these organizations, in turn helping them add value to their own missions. Throughout the year, Brandon hosts events during his workday at the Parker, Smith & Feek office, as he enjoys getting the staff involved and sharing his cause. The way the company is structured and focused on community involvement is what initially encouraged Brandon to get involved with Summit at the board level. Brandon has been able to include many clients as well, maximizing what Summit Assistance Dogs can do through his professional role. This year, he hosted 40 guests made up of friends, clients, coworkers, and industry partners at the annual “Unleash Your Love” fundraising luncheon. His client, evo, sponsored two tables of their own and have also hosted fundraising events at their office. Recently, they organized a work party at the site of Summit’s future headquarters for which the capital campaign has officially kicked off!
Brandon is looking forward to continuing his involvement with Summit as the organization grows its operations and expands the amount of lives they can impact with service dogs.
– Brandon Stone
To learn more about Summit Assistance Dogs and how you can get involved, visit: Summit Assistance Dogs