Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May Showers

As always here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog.

As the month of May flies by it is time hard to keep up with everything that is going on.  Hopefully everyone had a chance to visit the last blog entry to see the great time we had in Annapolis, MD with the 5k.  The totals from the event have not been released as of yet as far as I know but the estimated numbers I heard put the amounts raised in the 50-55k range.  That is just amazing if you ask me.  I can not say thank you to every single person out there that has help in any way with this and any other event.  Every dollar raised helps a veteran get one step closer to a service dog. 

For those that don't know the difference a service dog makes in the lives of our nations veterans please take a few moments to read my thank you to America's VetDogs for my service dog.  I will post it at the end of this update in hopes that you will get a better understanding of why it seems I so committed to helping VetDogs with moving forward with their mission on a daily basis.  I know it seems I am constantly fishing for fundraising for them (yes I know I spent a few days at the beach and took some fishing pictures so I had to find a way to word them into the blog ;). 

As always here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog.

So what else has been going on?  There was a North East Truck Camper Rally in Mystic Ct.  A great time was had by all.  Many new friends were met and of course Iris stole the show.  It is amazing how many veterans live the Truck Camper lifestyle.  I could not stay the entire time there because my future daughter in-law or as I like to say it in-love, graduated from WSU on Sat morning.  Many Congratulations go out to Laura for a job well done and good luck in you search for a teaching job.

In my search to stay active and busy I have changed my post with the American Legion to Post 111 in Woodstock Ct. and have signed up to attend the CT legion college so that I can learn more about the comings and goings of how the leadership works inside the legion.  It is time for me to take a more active role in the community and the Legion is a great avenue for me to be able to do that.  

With Memorial Day coming this weekend I hope that everyone remembers the reason they are given the time off from work.  Take some time and remember those hero's that gave their all so that we could live freely and speak what we feel.   

Ok now for the thank you letter I wrote to America's VetDogs.  If this touches your heart please remember that my words are but one persons and that there are many who can not find the words or the way to pull themselves out of the despair they are living in.  We as a nation need to do more then just pay lip service to the lost veterans who are not just failing to do well by themselves but are taking their lives at an unacceptable rate of 33 suicides a day.  You may not have much to give but a pebble makes a ripple and that ripple makes a difference.  Find a way to make a difference. 

How America’s VetDogs changed my life? How can one put into words something that mere words cannot express? When I medically retired from the Army I felt the pain of rejection and failure because I could no longer do what I was trained to do. It was because of that same training though that I found a way to go forward.

A few years after my retirement, this nation was brutally attacked and all I could do was watch from the sidelines. This was the trigger that caused something to snap in my head and started me crawling into the hole that would become so dark I would almost lose everyone that ever cared for me. The feeling of failure and deep depression welled up inside of me knowing all those years I stood proudly in the Army, serving with many of the same soldiers that would now go and fight for our Country yet again while I was forced to watch, totally useless. Having been the sharp edge of the sword as one of the best of the best, Airborne Infantry Ranger, then Special Forces, only to find that I could no longer do my job because I was physically unable was almost too much to bear. The anger of the past along with the continued progression of my malady continued to eat away at my self worth.

By the time my doctors recommended that I look into getting a service dog I was toying with the open end of my 45 everyday. I felt like a prisoner in my home, unable to function, needing someone to watch me like I was a baby, I could not leave without an escort. The loss of my driver’s license because of seizures had such an impact that I gained weight and lost interest in everything.
When I showed up at the America’s VetDogs campus I was terrified . This dog I was about to meet could change my life. I had seen other brothers that had found something that allowed them to go forward and now I was going to meet my pup, my hope of moving forward.

Iris, a small dog by all accounts, a 60 pound black lab mix with brown eyes, looked up at me and my fear disappeared. She proceeded to get sick, allowing me the opportunity to take care of her, and our bond was formed. Five days later, Iris would wake me for the first time to stop a seizure. Since that time she continues to alert me of health issues, calls the ambulance, has brought my family back together, stopped me from becoming a statistic, and has helped me have a goal in life again.

Iris not only helps with the physical issues that I have, she has helped with everything I come in contact with. Her being with me everywhere I go opens conversations that I would have never have engaged in before her. My PTSD has been held in check, but when it does rear its ugly head she is right there either pulling me to a safe place or crawling into my lap to pull me back to the present. When I have nightmares, she wakes me up and for some reason I never come up swinging like I do with people. We are truly a team that is there for each other, no questions, just like being in a foxhole.

I am 100% disabled and not allowed to work which allows me to dedicate my time to finding ways to raise awareness and money so that other veterans who need service dogs will be able to experience the joys I have. Recently I purchased a camper that I am getting wrapped with a personal campaign to raise awareness everywhere Iris and I go. Our bucket list is to give back tenfold and it still will not be enough to repay what has been gifted to me.

All of this and so much more has happened because of this little rescue out of Georgia who has become my rescuer. The gift of living was given back to me. I still have all the medical issues but I no longer want to die, I want to live and be part of this world. There is no way to really say thank you to America’s VetDogs for all they have done for me other than live the life they have given me back.

 Thank you all for reading my blog and I am sorry I was a bit more long winded today but with Memorial Day Weekend upon us it is imperative that we take the time to do whatever we can to help our living veterans.

 As always here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog.

1 comment:

  1. Kent, I have read your story a couple of times now, and know some of the pain you have. Having come from a different era and war, there are many things we have in common. My job, as you know, was quite different from the average, and seeing what I saw, and experiencing what I did, was completely different than what you went through. We are still brothers and sisters as vets. I appreciate and respect your goal, although I wish it unnecessary. Good luck to you my friend, I wish you success in your goal and health through the years.

    Don Mitchell