FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
A Way to Help Our Wounded Vets: Get them Guide Dogs
I don’t know if any of you have heard of this yet, but for those of you looking to help our returning veterans who have been wounded in the war on terror, here is one way.
FOX News ran a story about a man named Irwin Stovroff, a distinguished WWII vet himself, who is running something called “Vets Helping Heroes,” which is an organization dedicated to getting those wounded vets a guide dog to help them in their daily lives.
MIAMI — No one knows first hand the horrors of war more than World War II hero Irwin Stovroff.
That’s why when Stovroff — who was held for one year in a Nazi POW camp before being freed by allied forces — learned that the U.S. government didn’t supply service dogs for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the 85 year old decorated hero from Boca Raton, Fla. made it his mission to overhaul the policy.
“It is a shame.” Stovroff says about the lack of an official federal program that pairs up battle-injured veterans with guide and therapy animals that can greatly improve their rehabilitation. “I wanted to do something about it.”
Stovroff has raised nearly $2 million dollars to help train and match up service canines with wounded combat vets. Stovroff is also pushing lawmakers for federal funding to finance the program that he says has received lots of bi-partisan praise.
Stovroff is not someone who shirks away from a tough mission.
Stovroff is not just a World War II vet, but a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient whose own personal tale reads like a Hollywood movie.
After Stovroff was shot down behind enemy German lines on his 35th bombing flight, he had to hide his Jewish faith from his captors to survive, even throwing away his dog tags before his plane crashed.
“The dog can become his eyes. He can become his legs. He can bring him anything he needs.” Stovroff told Fox News with his golden retriever, Cash, lying by his side. “A dog is probably the best thing that can happen to these soldiers.”
Stovroff says that the dogs help the injured soldiers, not just in a functional way, but therapeutically.
“They need a guide (but) they need the help and love of a dog as well,” he says, petting Cash.
But raising these dogs is not easy. That’s why he needs all the help and donations he can get. It can cost quite a lot of money. As Stovroff says in the article, it can run between $30,000 and $50,000 to train them.
For those of you interested, you can visit Stovroff’s site at Vets Helping Heroes.
There is also a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Klein (R-FL) called the Wounded Warrior K-9 Corps Act which would create a federal program to help the vets who need them get guide dogs. Sen. Al Franken has also sponsored a similar bill in the Senate. Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to support these bills!