Friday, 30 April 2010 00:00
Come join Soldiers Walk on May 15, Armed Forces Day at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park Marina located at the end of South Street. It is a benefit for America’s VetDogs, organized by Brooke Mahoski, Oyster Bay High School, Briana Labia and Meghan L’Ecuyer, of Hicksville H.S., Erica Pietzak from St. Anthonys and Jessica Commisso, Port Washington, H.S.). Taking part in Soldiers Walk will be several of our veterans who gave up so much for us and their service dogs.
Among the veterans who will lead the Soldiers Walk is Army SPC Frank Pierson and his wife Arielle. Frank was only four months into his first deployment when he was left a double amputee after his vehicle came under attack in Iraq. Frank has been paired with his service dog, “Leo” a black lab golden cross. Leo was trained by VetDogs to assist Frank with balance and ease the transition to his new prosthetics. Leo provides pulling power and retrieval of objects, as well as opening doors and stabilizing during transfers.
Another participant is Carolyn Jette who joined the U.S. Navy and began training as a radio operator, with plans to become an officer. As she was finishing training she began to have severe seizures was diagnosed with epilepsy. Her seizures became uncontrollable with medication. Even brain surgery in 2007 did not end them. Jette learned of seizure alert dogs and contacted America’s VetDogs. In 2009 she was partnered with “Troy”. The two have bonded so strongly that if Carolyn is about to experience a seizure during the night, Troy is able to break the cycle by waking her before the seizure begins. If it’s during the day, he alerts her before one comes on, which gives her time to take her seizure control medication. Troy also retrieves her cell phone or keys. With Troy at her side, Jette completed college and received her bachelor’s in psychology.
Carolyn’s excitement about participating in the Soldiers Walk in Oyster Bay combined with her deep appreciation of what her service dog provides motivated her to get her town of Spencer, MA to contribute the $6,000 needed to Sponsor a Puppy. The puppy’s name will be “Spencer” and Carolyn will present the check at the Soldiers Walk.
Kathy Genovese, director of Development, said she hopes the community will come out to welcome, walk, sponsor and more importantly thank our countries heroes. Genovese added, Thank you to the History channel for your generous sponsorship and ongoing support.
America’s VetDogs trains and provides guide dogs for veterans who are blind or visually impaired, service dogs for veterans and active duty personnel with disabilities other than blindness, therapy dogs for in-theater deployment and to serve at select military and VA hospitals.