Veteran raises money at Santa-Cali-Gon Days to help other vets get service dogs

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Santa-Cali-Gon Days festival was in full swing this weekend in Independence.

FOX 4’s Molly Balkenbush went out to check out the festival, where action still hadn’t slowed down even after 9 p.m. Sunday.

Festival organizers estimated a quarter of a million people stopped by the festival this weekend.

There were plenty of different things to do, like see live music, eat good food, and ride some wild rides.

And of course, some came out mostly for the corndogs.

For some attendees, it was about more than food and fun. Veteran marine Tom Goode is taking advantage of all the foot traffic and raising money for his favorite veteran organization.

“For two days, I’m out collecting money to help one vet to be matched up with a dog,” Goode explained.

Battle Buddy Service Dogs does just that. Goode said even though he never had PTSD, it’s his way of helping his brothers who do.

“Some of them are hurting so bad, they can’t leave their house. And the ones that I have met so far, they’ve gotten to the point where they’re actually able to speak in front of a group,” Goode said.

As for the decades-old festival, organizers said there was a little something new this year.

“We’ve actually incorporated some dress re-enactment, so people walking the square that are dressed like in the 1800s, we have a blacksmith on site this year which is really exciting,” said one organizer.

If you haven’t made it out, don’t worry. The festival continues until 5 p.m. Monday.



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