Army Veteran credits Food Network celebrity chef for helping him find life-changing service dog organization
The veteran now has a PTSD service dog to help his transition to civilian life
(Ponte Vedra, FL) – US Army veteran Jeremiah Galembush recently returned home to Pennsylvania with his new, highly-trained service dog, Vinny. Jeremiah says that watching Chef Jet Tila raise money for the charity K9s For Warriors on The Food Network show Chopped was how he learned about the national nonprofit that trains service dogs for veterans. He credits the celebrity chef with introducing him to the organization that helped him get his life back.
Vinny is a shelter-turned-service dog that was trained to helped Jeremiah manage symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder that resulted from his military service. Jeremiah says that every part of his service in the Army contributed to the PTSD he was later diagnosed with. His primary role was an Infantry Soldier; duty stations included Korea, Ft. Lewis, and a deployment to Iraq.
On the reasons for applying to K9s For Warriors, Jeremiah said, “I started to realize staying in my house would be the death of me.” An integral part of the training program at K9s For Warriors is helping veterans reintegrate into society, as PTSD symptoms often keep them confined to their homes. Upon arrival to K9s For Warriors, Jeremiah was paired with Vinny, who had already completed his formal service canine training at the campus in the months prior. Along with the other members of Jeremiah’s class, the team trained in public every day, received instruction on matters of service dog access, dog health care and more, and established a bond that would facilitate Jeremiah’s healing from the invisible wounds of war.
“This is why it means so much to me to support K9s For Warriors,” said Chef Jet Tila. “The impact they have on helping veterans has a ripple effect which flows into their homes and relationships, improving everything around them. As both a professional and family man, I know how important that is.”
Jeremiah recognized signs of improvement almost immediately after being paired with Vinny, including the ability to go out in public more easily, and experiencing a renewed structure to his life thanks to his newfound symbolic relationship with Vinny.
K9s For Warriors CEO, Rory Diamond, says that’s exactly why the nonprofit exists. “There’s an epidemic of veteran suicide in our country. Service dogs are a proven method of alleviating the debilitating symptoms of PTSD; they not only get our veterans back on their feet, but they also help them regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. Most veterans with PTSD think they’ve lost that forever.”
K9s For Warriors is a national nonprofit that takes eligible shelter dogs and trains them to be service dogs to mitigate symptoms of PTSD, Traumatic Brian Injury, and/or Military Sexual Trauma for post-9/11 servicemembers and veterans. It operates from two facilities in North Florida that perform the work of procuring and training the canines, pairing them with an incoming veteran, then training the veteran and canine pair together. After three weeks with his or her new service dog, the veteran has learned how to reintegrate into society and, most importantly, reduce suicidal ideation.