Fallen Soldiers March finds veteran for service dog

Xavier Smith • Updated Aug 10, 2016 at 12:00 PM

An organization dedicated to providing service dogs for wounded veterans has found a veteran to pair with its first service dog after months of searching.

“A short time ago, I completed an important phone call to a U.S. Military veteran. It is my honor and privilege to announce the Fallen Soldiers March selection committee has chosen the veteran to receive our first service dog, ‘Glory,’” Fallen Soldiers March president Jim Retzke said.

The reception for the pairing will take place Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Wilson County Veterans Park.

“This Army veteran has an amazing classified and unclassified background. We hope you will attend to celebrate sacrifices with us and learn what he desires to share with you,” Retzke said.

Retzke said the veteran has strong character and strength, highlighted by his nine air medals, included two distinguished by the "Combat V,” authorized for heroism or meritorious action in conflict with an armed enemy.

“Special thanks to Dr. Amy Hastings, Jim “Bull” Bachman and Dr. Bill Robertson for assisting the Fallen Soldiers March selection process & reaching a unanimous decision,” he said.

The group’s advisory panel consists of men and women with a variety of backgrounds, including medical and military, who are tasked with making the best decision in pairing the service dog with a wounded veteran.

“Also, thank you for everyone who has volunteered, contributed and supported advancing our mission and objectives,” Retzke said.

The Fallen Soldiers March raises funds to provide service dogs for wounded veterans. The highly trained service dogs go through rigorous screening process and several years of intense training before they are qualified as a service dog. 

Retzke said the organization would love to provide service dogs for thousands more wounded veterans, which typically costs $15,000-$30,000 to train. He also said it typically takes about four months of analyzing and testing to spot a worthy service dog, which goes through more extensive training than a therapy dog.

For more information, visit fallensoldiersmarch.com.




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