“No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” – Douglas MacArthur
Freedom Dogs is a nonprofit organization devoted to serving wounded members of the military who are being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and/or other physical impairments. In May of 2009, Freedom Dogs completed a pilot program with the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton as requested by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The study paired specialty service dogs and their trainers with Marines – becoming an indispensable part of the Marines’ rehabilitation and recovery from post-traumatic stress. This pilot was so successful that it resulted in an ongoing close partnership between the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West and Freedom Dogs – the only one of its kind in the country. Because Freedom Dogs does not charge for their specialty service dogs and programs, the revenue from their annual golf tournament makes it possible for wounded heroes like Brent Smith to get back into the game of life.
#1 I grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I joined the Marine Corp at age 18 and retired in 2016.
#2 If I could live anywhere, I would live in Bozeman, Montana where I could hunt, fish and enjoy the wildlife.
#3 Most people do not know that I am good at drawing and drafting.
#4 I would like to master golf! Realistically, I would like to be able to play the guitar.
#5 In my free time I practice putting and go for a swim.
#6 In 2022, I am going to create a bucket list for the New Year rather than make resolutions that will be broken within a month. This way I have a list of things to look forward to.
#7 I have a service dog named Russell who was named in honor of SSGT Klika, an award-winning combat photographer/photojournalist. I also have my retired service dog, Gunner. Both dogs are from Freedom Dogs.
#8 I was at Wounded Warrior Battalion West when I first noticed Freedom Dogs’ involvement with the Marine Corp. I inquired about the organization and felt that if I could get involved with this organization it would help my healing process in so many ways.
#9 Along with the Freedom Dogs trainers, the specialty service dogs help our Country’s wounded warriors successfully make the challenging transition back to civilian life, or in some cases, return to active duty.
#10 I am grateful for the support of family and friends and organizations like Freedom Dogs that have kept in touch throughout the year and especially during the height of the pandemic.