Featured Entrepreneur / Operation Delta Dog–Trisha Blanchet

Entrepreneur Profile: Operation Delta Dog
Chelmsford Mom Fights for our Veterans

The numbers are alarming. One U.S veteran commits suicide every eighty minutes. Some of our servicemen and women go all around the world and fight to protect our liberties and then come home to fight illnesses such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Trisha Blanchet, a mother of two from Chelmsford, was especially bothered about this problem. “This summer on the news, I kept hearing about soldiers committing suicide,” says Trisha. “It started to upset me that nothing was being done for these vets. I knew I wanted to do something to help the situation.”

Trisha did some research and found out there were organizations that provided service dogs to veterans. She was ready to volunteer, but realized there were no organizations near her. So what did she do? “I decided I would start my own organization.” Operation Delta Dog rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be service dogs for veterans. “The dogs get the homes they need, and the veterans get support, companionship, and a built-in social network with the other men and women in the program.”

Trisha was looking for ways to turn her idea into a reality. On October 4th, 2012, Trisha pitched her idea at the Sandbox’s All Ideas Welcome Pitch Contest and took both 2nd Place and the Fan Favorite Awards. Qualifying for the Sandbox’s Winners Showdown Pitch Contest, Trisha pitched her idea and took the 10K Grand Prize. As the winner, she got an automatic seat in the Sandbox Winter Accelerator Program. “I don’t have a business background, so being a part of the Accelerator Program has been a great opportunity to learn about business 101, accounting, and the legal work needed to start up your own organization.”

 

There’s been a lot of great momentum for Operation Delta Dog. Trisha has already courted a few influential people to be her Board of Directors including:
• Susan Arapoff – Assistant Vice President, TJX Corp.
• Stephen J. Irish – COO and Executive Vice President, Enterprise Bank
• Karen Roehr – Associate Professor, UMass Lowell Art Department

“Being a veteran that served in pretty much peaceful times, my heart and thanks goes out to our veterans that have made some pretty dramatic sacrifices and in many cases, living with those sacrifices everyday,” says Stephen Irish, a Board Member of Operation Delta Dog. “Also, as being a long-term member of the Board of Directors for The Lowell Humane Society, I have a deep interest in the plight of abandoned companion animals. I saw Operation Delta as an opportunity to have an impact in both of these areas.”

Trisha has big plans for Operation Delta Dog. In the long-term, she hopes to have staff and a facility with full-time dog trainers all across Massachusetts. With over 400,000 veterans in Massachusetts alone, Trisha knows she has a big task ahead of her. “With more and more veterans coming home every day, the problems associated with PTSD are only going to get worse,” she says. “We need to find some creative solutions. The statistics show that what we’re doing isn’t working, and our veterans deserve better.”

For more information on Operation Delta Dog, click here