SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – American tennis star John Isner, who played last week in the US Open, is donating 20 percent of his prize money to a Long Island organization that helps train canines for blind and disabled veterans.
Isner’s donation to America’s VetDogs in Smithtown is estimated at $20,000.
“This is the first donation that has come out of the US Open that I’m aware of,” the organization’s Katherine Fritz said. “We’re very excited about it.”
Isner, 28, said he is a huge dog lover and that it was his mother’s idea to donate a portion of his winnings to the organization.
“You know, I feel kind of bad that I am not — that I didn’t advance further to give that cause more money,” Isner said during an interview following his US Open loss Saturday. “I think that’s a very worthy cause, given that these dogs save our soldiers’ lives and in turn they save American lives. I feel like I’m helping out our troops as well as these canines.”
Although Isner called his donation “small,” Fritz said his gift is quite generous.
“This is what we would consider a major gift,” Fritz said. “That $20,000 will definitely help us place another dog in the hands of a veteran.”
Fritz has invited Isner and his mother to visit the 10-acre Smithtown campus “to get a firsthand look of what he’s donating to.”
Service dog manager Kenneth Kirsch said the dogs love tennis balls and would love to meet Isner.
“Have John bring his tennis rackets and some stuff and we’ll have the dog retrieve it all for him, pick it up and put it in his basket,” Kirsch said.
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