Stella & Andy- Miles of Meows Lead to Happy Reunion

Many are the paths that bring healing to our wounded veterans, from surgery to sports to spiritual care. Would you believe a “fur-st” for Air Compassion for Veterans were cats? That’s right, the company of two beloved cats (Stella and Chloe) were the best medicine for Andy, a brave soldier who was nearly blown up in Afghanistan. Jan, a friend of mine from church was a co-worker of Andy’s mother-in-law. She explained that Andy was seriously injured by an IED blast while on foot patrol. His wife, Sam, got a phone call early on May 6. Andy was in shock, and not able to tell her much other than the fact that nothing was missing. ‘I have all my body parts.’” After being treated in Landstuhl, Germany, he was sent to Washington State and then to Alaska, where his unit is based with Sam right by his side. She had been living in Springfield, VA with her parents and Chloe and Stella attending college while Andy was deployed overseas. The kitties were wedding presents to the couple when they married in 2009. Jan told me that Andy desperately wanted his two cats so much so that he and Sam were trying to figure out a way for Andy to get a four-day pass so they could fly back to Virginia to get the cats. Andy would talk to the cats in his sleep. Emotionally, they would probably help with his recovery. I asked Jan to call ACV and see if we could assist. She did.

Patrick & Jessica Zeigler

Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler, a medically retired war veteran, finally returned to his hometown in Hawaii after serving two tours in Iraq and after surviving nearly fatal wounds during the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. Zeigler spent a year in the hospital, undergoing full-time rehabilitation after surviving a severe brain injury that caused him to lose about twenty percent of his brain. His fiancée, Jessica, never left his side. She promised him that when it was all over, she would take him back to Hawaii.

Joel Dulashanti

In 2007 Joel and his Army sniper partner were tracking two guys. It was 110-degrees outside with zero humidity. The enemy had AK47s and were lying in the prone position only 10 meters away. Joel followed his nose to find them. But all he could smell was earth and burnt grass. Then there was body odor. In knee-high grass, Joel turned right to follow the stench. In a split-second scent and sight collided. The enemy spotted Joel and his partner and the firefight began instantaneously. The shooter hit Joel’s right knee twice, destroying his knee and severing the femoral artery. Another round penetrated his left knee. The final—and worst round—pierced under his arm, ricocheted inside his rib cage down to his pelvic bone. They returned fire and those guys were finished. Joel collapsed at that point.