Where did you serve and what did you do?
I am a Veteran of Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom III and 09/10. i also spent a year in Ukraine training the Ukrainian Army in 2018-2019. I am a retired Army Infantry SGM, I served in the 82d Airborne Division, 24th Infantry Division and the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment in combat.
Tell us how your dog is helping you continue #StillServing in your community.
My wife, Ashleigh, a member of our Post Auxiliary, and our Golden Retriever, Jaxson, are a trained Therapy Dog team who visit our local State Veterans Home in Huntsville, Alabama, Floyd E. “Tut” Fann, Veterans Home at least once a month to allow our veterans the opportunity to experience Jaxson’s ability to heal and provide some interaction. Ashleigh and Jaxson also visit our Veterans in other assisted living facilities, adult day care sites, and nursing homes as part of their program to give back and serve the community in which we live. It is amazing to watch them as they deliver their gifts of love and caring to these men and women who have given so much to our country. Each and every Veteran knows Jaxson by name and relishes their time with him. Our Veterans at “Tut” Fann come out to our game nights we hold monthly as much to see and interact with Jaxson as they do to come play cards, dominoes, and trivia. Jaxson and Ashleigh take great care and spend time with each Veteran who comes to game night, and she and Jaxson are the first team to be permitted to go room-to-room to visit our veterans at the Home. Jaxson brings a smile to even the most hardened souls and leaves them with a warm heart. There is a special resident at “Tut” Fann who has extreme PTSD (spatial issues). This resident would not allow people within 8-10 feet and always was backed into a corner of the room; we held a tailgate party last football season, and as Jaxson entered the courtyard, the resident came forward to Jaxson and hugged Jaxson and spent about 20 minutes just petting and loving on him. That resident now is the first person to come to the activity room for game night and is interacting with us and the other residents and even leads the Dominoes games. Jaxson was a rescue dog, but he’s turned into a rescuer of lost souls.
Why do you do it?
We do this as one way to give back to our Veteran community to show our appreciation for what they have sacrificed in the name of freedom. It’s our way of thanking these men and women for all they have done for us and for our Country. We want the folks to know that there are still people who care about them and want to share time with them.