Friday, January 21, 2011

We the People

This week the world news looked back on the remarkable day when President John F. Kennedy gave his inaugural speech and challenged every American to “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country".  Every day while we sit in our cozy homes and snuggle into our warm beds at night, there is a man or woman who has given that up to defend our freedoms.  They have left behind a mother and father, brother and sister, husband, wife and children and gone to a hostile and harsh land.  When our service members return home, some are bruised and battered, missing limbs, shattered in ways many of us will never know, left to pick up the pieces of their lives and fit back into society. For some, the bruising and battering has gone further than the body.  It has bruised and battered their inner most self and they struggle to once again find who they are.   

We the people need to step up and serve the ones who have guarded and protected us. Some serve by volunteering in their local USO, others by packing boxes of goodies to be delivered to our service members, yet others help to physically build a home or a ramp.  For Carolina Canines, we serve by providing a medical option in the form of a quality trained service dog.  Not just any dog, a thoroughly assessed and highly trained creature that will change a persons’ life. 

This week, we celebrated the partnering of a Carolina Canines for Veterans service dog team.  One person, who has served his country and one dog trained to serve that individual.  Meet James and Abel.  James served his country as a Combat Engineer in the United States Marine Corps.  He has been deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.  In June 2006 during his mission in Ramadi, Iraq he was injured by an IED.  

Service Dog Abel was rescued by a Wilmington, NC rescue group, Tails U Win, and provided to Carolina Canines for Veterans after he  passed a temperament evaluation.  Abel then began his training which took place initially at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Brig before being transferred with the Carolina Canines for Veterans program to the Naval Consolidated Brig- Charleston.  Abel completed over 2,000 hours of training to be ready to serve. 

James continues to serve his country and works on healing his wounds.  Our hope is that Service Dog Abel will make it possible to regain more independence and the quality of life he and his family once knew.   We the people,  helping those who have served and serving our country.