A Heart For Heroes: One Mom, Hundreds Of Veterans

Written by: 
Samantha Epstein

Mother’s Day is a time to honor the women who go beyond the call of duty as mothers. Shari Duval embraces the role of motherhood with strength and purpose. She is a mother to over 300 disabled veterans and the founder of our organization. After Shari’s son, Brett, came home from Iraq with PTSD, She was desperate to find an effective treatment method for him. Because Brett was a civilian bomb dog handler, Shari understood that canines had a profound impact on her son.

She began researching service dogs and PTSD, finding valuable evidence showing that trained dogs could mitigate the symptoms associated with the invisible wounds of war. Soon thereafter, K9s For Warriors was born. Today, Brett not only has a service dog, but he is the President of K9s, leveraging his experience with PTSD to help others afflicted with the disability. Each veteran who attends are program refers to Shari as “Mom.” Warriors are often withdrawn and unable to trust others in the beginning. Shari provides warriors with an understanding ear and an open heart. She establishes strong relationships with program participants that are outlast the test of time, which is another reason our program is so effective.

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