JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As part of this year’s Celebration of Valor, the Jags team and the City of Jacksonville Department of Military and Veterans Affairs distributed grants to several local organizations that help our military and Veterans.
K9s For Warriors, which provides service dogs to veterans, and Operation New Uniform, which helps veterans re-enter the workforce, both received $5,000.
“What this city helps us do is create hope for veterans, for our warriors,” said Greg Wells, program director for K9s For Warriors.
“It helps veterans,” added Sean Stull, director of training and transition at Operation New Uniform. “It’s about making sure no veteran struggles like I did.”
Stull retired from the Navy two years ago and still remembers how disorienting it was. “Once you take that uniform off, it’s hard to know who you were,” he recalled.
“I had a little trouble trying to figure out where I stood.”
He now mentors other veterans, hoping to use the money to grow. “[Operation New Uniform wants] to help more veterans, to expand our reach,” he explained.
Meanwhile, this grant will support the construction of a mega-kennel at K9s For Warriors, which will allow the organization to more than double the number of service dogs that will be paired with veterans and reduce downtime. ‘waiting.
Instead of having to wait up to five years for a service dog, veterans will now wait about a year.
“What we need to do is focus on helping the warrior right now,” Wells stressed. He served in the US Army for eight years and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. “I got a service dog and I knew right away that everything would be fine. I love this dog.”
He has been in a relationship with his service dog Utah for nearly six years.
These veterans want others to love them to know that there is plenty of support available and all they have to do is reach out.
“There is a light. There is hope,” Stull said. “You have value, you don’t have to settle for it.”
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