The Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) provided an instrumental gift to the Texas A&M University Veterinary Emergency Team (VET). TVMF’s $50,000 contribution will support team operations and future deployments.
TVMF, the philanthropic partner of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association since 1978, prioritizes disaster preparedness and response. The Foundation leverages veterinary partnerships and financial resources in support of the veterinary profession by providing financial assistance in times of crisis, connecting veterinarians with opportunities to serve their communities, advocating responsible animal ownership, and promoting and improving the well-being of animals.
As the largest and most sophisticated team of its kind in the country, the VET provides medical support to urban search and rescue teams and resident animals in response to natural and human-made disasters at the request of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas A&M Task Force, or county jurisdictions, while training future Aggie veterinarians in emergency preparedness and response.
The expansion of the partnership is a natural fit with important significance, according to Dr. Wesley Bissett, VET director.
“Whenever someone invests in our program, it signals that they believe in our mission of being there for a person, an animal, and a community in their greatest time of need,” Bissett said. “An investment in our team also signals that the donor shares our commitment to selfless service.
“This gift is particularly meaningful, because it is from veterinarians who share and value our mission. It says that the veterinary medical community values what we do,” he said.
Dr. Jayton Bailey ‘09, ‘11 (MS) ‘15 (DVM), a TVMF board trustee, became acquainted with the VET as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Bailey said his clinical rotation with the VET as a student prepared him to serve animals and human beings affected by disasters.
In March 2022, Bailey’s experience with the VET became vital to his community when wildfires struck his hometown of Eastland.
“When the fires happened, Dr. Bissett and Dr. Zoran (a VET leader who has served as a Texas A&M Task Force member and veterinarian since 1997) called our clinic and told us they were coming pretty early on,” Bailey recalled. “They let me ride around with them one day, and it was amazing to see them in action. That’s where it hit home that this is an invaluable organization. Seeing them in action in my own backyard really emphasized the impact of what they do.”
Troy Alexander, TVMA executive director and TVMF president, said the organizations will support the VET as both donors and as advocates.
“TVMF and TVMA prioritize the issue of preparedness. We hope to carry that message of the importance of the VET and what a difference it makes in our state and nation,” Alexander said.
The VET relies on the generosity of donors to support its work and mission.
“Investments like this from the TVMF support the largest, most sophisticated veterinary emergency response team in the country,” Bissett shared. “It takes a lot of equipment to respond to disasters the way we do, and this investment will help us make sure that we’re equipped appropriately to go out into the field, whether it’s within or outside of the state. At this point, we don’t have a line-item state budget, which makes donations like this critical to carrying out our mission. TVMF and TVMA’s support and advocating to change that is important.”
Dr. Chad Harris, TVMF board of trustees president, said the VET brings pride to the state of Texas.
“I work with several other states from coast to coast through my job,” he explained. “I’m confident saying this is an outstanding opportunity to support veterinary medicine in response to disasters nationwide. I’m thankful for the VET, and I’m proud to be a part of a foundation that supports them.”
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216