We here at Pets for Vets Washington have started the year off with a bang! Our first match was on January 17, with a very deserving Purple Heart award winning veteran. Here is his story:
In Aug 2006, Nick joined the U.S. Army as an Infantryman. He was first deployed to Iraq in April 2007 for what was then called the Iraq war troop surge. During his deployment, Nick suffered critical injuries during a bomb blast and witnessed the death of one of his closest friends. He returned from his first deployment in August of 2008 and received a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
Nick was then redeployed in 2009 for the drawdown of combat troops in Iraq. He was a member of the very last battalion to drive out of Iraq in 2010. In 2011, he was honorably discharged from the Army. He worked a variety of jobs before being introduced to Operation Military Family founder Mike Schindler, who brought him onto the OMF team as a project manager and technical support lead.
In October 2011 Nick and his wife helped to save the life of a 7-year old kid & elderly woman who were involved in a car accident. Unfortunately the 7-year old kid passed away but Nick was able to help keep the elderly woman alive, later that same night Nick and his wife welcomed their second son, Nathan, into this world.
Nick is married to his wife Felicia McCallon, together they have 2 kids: 5-year old Coltan, and 1-year old Nathan. They currently live in Lynnwood, WA. Nick has also attained his Associates Degree in Computer Science.
Nick sustained a traumatic brain injury during combat, and suffers from post-traumatic stress as well. We received Nick’s request for a companion dog in 2013, and set about finding him the best pet ever. That’s when we decided on Enzo.
Enzo is a year old black Labrador. He was severely neglected, suffered malnutrition, and had separation anxiety. You could say Enzo had PTSD too! When we got Enzo, he was 35 lbs underweight. We took him to a local veterinarian, and he was given all his shots, dewormed, and de-fleaed. The vet gave Enzo a clean bill of health. Aside from needing food, he was in great shape.
We paired him with our trainer, Daphne, and he thrived under her care. She worked out the separation anxiety, found the right food so Enzo began to gain weight, and taught him his manners. No one needed to teach him how to love, Enzo is a natural at that! He’s the most affectionate dog ever.
On January 17th we presented Enzo to Nick and it was love at first sight! Enzo has won a permanent place in the hearts of Nick’s wife and children as well. We see a bright and loving future for the whole family.
Our thanks to the “Brothers in Arms” motorcycle club. They held a benefit ride for us this past summer. They presented the “Welcome Package” and biker teddy bears for Nick’s two children. The club members wanted to personally thank our veteran for his services.