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Santa, Peter Strauch and Kitty Baker at the Irving Senior Arts Christmas Party

For 20 years, Kitty Baker has thrown a Christmas Party for her Senior Arts members. This year’s event included a tribute to a wounded warrior. She had been wanting to honor someone from the military for a while and said she finally found the perfect candidate. Donna Cranston, who started Defenders of Freedom, helped Baker find Peter Strauch.

Strauch, who has custody of his two young daughters, sustained a back injury and some brain damage from a roadside bombing in Afghanistan. To help him gain his balance and walk, Strauch received a service dog named Maya from K9s for Heroes. The nonprofit is dedicated to providing service canines to warriors suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury as a result of military service post 9/11.

Baker presented Strauch with a check for $1,500. Strauch then said a few words to guests about his service and expressed his gratitude.

Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne also recognized the young veteran. She then read a proclamation honoring the 20th anniversary of Senior Arts.

The evening included dinner and dancing to music by the band UpSwing.

To learn more about Senior Arts, call 972-254-9389.

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