Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hanscom AirForce Base Graduation

We had the most incredible day. Today was Larry and his Hearing Dog Stewie's graduation. We were supposed to go in March but the kids had the flu so NEADS (http://www.neads.org/) got us in with the summer graduating class. We arrived at Hanscom Airforce Base in Massachusetts at 12:30 and Stewie was quickly rushed off for his class picture with the other 17 graduating teams. Six Combat Vets, three hearing dogs and nine service dogs graduated today. Each team was presented a diploma and the human part was able to speak and say a few words. Needless to say I was in tears most of the time listening to how the dogs helped our injured vets, disabled and hearing impaired gain independence and their lives back. NEADS has recently started placing dogs with Children who have Autism and to listen to some of the stories was just amazing. I counted about 30 dogs there today. There were several dogs in training from NEADS. All of the dogs are so well behaved that I am always amazed at how many could be in the same room and you don't hear a peep out of them.
What better day to be on Hanscom Air Force Base then on Flag Day.

Stewie lounging on Tae with some down time before the program begins.

Everything was Flag themed today.

Executive Director of NEADS, Sheila O'Brien and Larry pose for the camera.

We found our seats quickly. They had these 8 x 10 photographs of the graduates in the reserved seating for us. Great photo of Larry and Stewie up at NEADS for training.


Ayla Brown, American Idol Contestant, sang the National Anthem. She is now a spokes person for NEADS along with her father, Senator Brown.


Colonel David Orr, 66th Base Wing Commander, gave the welcome address.


Dan Rea, Nightside WBZ Newsradio 1030, was the Graduation Speaker.


Larry, with Tae playing shy by his side, thanked everyone for helping to sponsor Stewie. He thanked me too, for organizing our fundraiser last fall.

This is Louise, one of the Hearing Dogs we helped to sponsor through our fundraising efforts. She was very smitten with Stewie. Louise was my Grandmothers name...coincidence...I think not. She was a beautiful Golden Retriever that was placed as a Hearing Dog with a Minister. Louis travels and helps him on his mission trips.

There was lots of time for photographs. Stewie was posing nice but Tae decided he need a Scoobie Swipe from Stewie's lips.

The highlight of the day was being able to meet James Montgomery, blues musician.
Larry was thrilled to meet him and James told Larry to contact him and he'll get him free tickets to any of his concerts. Larry tried last year to get tickets to the concert and couldn't and James was very sympathetic and offered them up. Mr. Montgomery has also become the new spokesperson for NEADS. Really awesome day all around. Many moments today when you realize the dedication and training it takes to bring these teams together.
We are honored and blessed to have Stewie with us. He has helped Larry regain his independence and their bond is unbreakable.

1 comment:

Momma Snail said...

Reading how Stewie has helped Larry has touched my heart! Through my sorority, I have always been a supporter of The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Paws With A Cause. It looks like you guys had a great time!