As a young man, Jake was taught the importance of being a “good man”, one to be respected and admired by others. With a sense of duty and responsibility, he joined the Army in January 2009. While in Basic Training in Ft. Benning, GA, he was selected to attend Airborne School and was also placed in the top 30 of his class. When speaking of running with family members, he would always say “that he would walk the dog” on us. Upon completion of his training, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Ft. Campbell, KY. There he became a member of Bravo Company (The Renegades), 2nd Battalion 502 Infantry Regiment. Due to his expert marksmanship, he was assigned as the assistant gunner to Jacob Carver, also a 20 year old from Kansas City, Missouri. Although they were the youngest machine gun team, they were considered the best and received special recognition while training in Ft. Polk, LA.
In June 2010, Jake’s unit was deployed to Afghanistan. During a mission on November 13, 2010, both Jake and Jacob Carver lost their lives while providing security for their unit. Both showed great courage and strength as they gave their lives while protecting our rights and freedoms.
Jake was well known for his smile, his loving heart, an endless sense of humor, loyalty to his friends and family., and a great love and compassion for animals. Jake never met a stray he did not love nor bring home. Jake’s life will forever be defined by loyalty and dedication to others and the amazing manner in which he touched and affected so many lives.
Thomas Campbell, a Revolutionary War era poet, paid tribute to the soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary War with these words, “The Patriot’s Blood is the Seed of Freedom’s Tree”. His words serve to remind us today that we would not have the freedoms we hold dear if it were not for the sacrifice of our country’s patriots.
PATRIOT ROVERS, A Healing Mission.
As a member of Patriot Guard Riders I’ve attended hundreds of funerals of our servicemen and women who have served our nation with Honor and Distinction. I’m a U.S. Army Veteran, and Canine Behavioral Expert. In the fall of 2009, into the spring of 2010, I noticed a trend that troubled me deeply. Many of these funerals were of soldiers who had survived multiple combat deployments, only to return home to succumb to Post Traumatic Stress. This did not sit well with me – it was unacceptable.
Recalling the tragic events of my own life, I reflected on the support system I had in helping deal with life changing events. The one constant in my life, the companions that provided me with 24-hour a day, 7 days a week, unconditional love and support…were dogs. I then asked myself, “How can we provide unconditional love and support, to soldiers struggling with conditions such as PTSD?”Combining my compassion for my fellow Veterans, my affinity for dogs, and knowledge of canine behavior and training, I promptly set in motion the creation of a program that would become a healing non-profit organization.
Memories of how my own dogs never failed to provide me unconditional love and support, an organization that could provide a Task Trained Psychiatric Service Dog that could do all of this, and more.
I invested personal money, time and passion into rescuing dogs and providing their medical care and training. I applied my expertise and best practices for service dog training and the work being done with service dogs to help PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries. My 20+ years of experience as a canine behavioral expert and dedicated trainer staff allowed me to professionally train the dogs. I work in concert with the Veteran’s Administration Poly Trauma, and Psychiatric Services Unit to identify soldiers that would benefit from a Psychiatric (or mental health) Service Dog. These soldiers train alongside their assigned dogs, developing a bond with their dog, learning about dog behavior, and learning skills as a handler before bringing the dog home. My relationship with Gold Star Families (Families of Fallen Heroes) brought about the third part of the Patriot Rover Mission extending our healing mission to those affected by war the most. Gold Star Families can request that a Patriot Rover be named after their loved one who paid the ultimate sacrifice in their service to our country. I tested the program on a limited basis and when I saw the tremendous impact it made on the dogs, vets and their families, as well as the families of the fallen I brought together a Board of Directors and started Patriot Rovers Inc.