Patriot Rovers Pairs Service Dogs With Wounded Soldiers

6:42 PM, May 18, 2013   |    comments
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High Point, NC - For wounded soldiers, service dogs are bringing comfort and confidence and while they're helping our soldiers, they're honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Patriot Rovers in High Point pairs service dogs named after a fallen soldier with a soldier who's returned home wounded from war. 

WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower met with the some of the families.

Debbie Halstead's son Nicholas was killed while serving in Iraq.

"They were supposed to be out October 2006 and their tour got extended to February of 2007 and then December 6, 2006, he volunteered and that's the night he was killed," said Halstead, a Gold Star Mother.

"I relive it; I relive that knock everyday on my door. He always told me, he said 'Mom, if you get a call I'm hurt. If you come to the door I won't be back.' So when I came to the door, I said 'Please don't tell me what I know you are here to tell me' and I went to my knees," explained Halstead.

Helping her up is Patriot Rovers.

"I hear them say, things like you know, we are going to get to know that everyday somebody is going to wake up calling my child's name and that my child's memory is going to be in helping another soldier," explained Kathy Bull, Executive Director, Patriot Rovers.

"My dog is Captain Mike. He is named after Michael Felder," said Sergeant Joshua Marlowe.

Sergeant Joshua Marlowe is in the North Carolina Air National Guard. He was in a plane crash in South Dakota while fighting a wildfire. Most of his crew died.

Captain Mike the dog helps Marlowe. His constant companionship brings him safety and security. Pokey does the same for James Hamby. He served overseas for two years.

"I have PTSD and TBI, traumatic brain injury, suffered from multiple concussions due to rockets hitting the vehicles I was in, and PTSD from combat," explained Hamby.

His dog is named after Angelia Phillip's son, Michael, whose nickname was Pokey.

"Michael would have just loved this. He would have been very proud," explained Phillip.

"It makes us brothers more than anything. Michael gave the ultimate sacrifice, and Pokey here is helping me through mine," said Hamby.

If Michael was alive, he would be 25 years-old. His birthday was Friday. 

"This is like a birthday gift from my son," said Phillips. "It's very healing for everyone involved. Not just the men and women who receive these service dogs, but for the families that are involved with the program and allowed the chance to honor their child through it."

"I'm so proud. How could you not be proud? Yes, I would give anything to have my son back but how could you not be proud? How could you not be proud?," said Halstead.

Saturday, 9 service dogs will graduate from this 10-month program. Each year, Patriot Rovers trains 20-30 service dogs. To learn more information or to donate, visit Patriot Rover's website here.

WFMY News 2

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