American Red Cross Real Hero Awards

Thank you to the American Red Cross, San Diego/ Imperial Valley for the following recognition of Mellisa and Gunner at their American Red Cross Real Heroes ceremony held on the USS Midway on October 3rd, 2014:

Animal Welfare Award: Gunner and Melissa Ramirez
Presented by US Bank

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When retired Navy Corpsman Melissa Ramirez returned from two traumatic combat tours on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, she suffered from PTSD, which quickly took debilitating control of her life. She wouldn’t go out in public, and had significant issues connecting and communicating with others, including a serious stutter. That’s when she met Gunner, a friendly and loving 5-year-old service dog who she was placed with. Gunner was the first dog permanently placed by Freedom Dogs, a local nonprofit organization devoted to serving wounded members of the military who are attempting to return to civilian life. Melissa readily admits that if it weren’t for Gunner, she probably wouldn’t be here to tell her story. Because of Gunner, Melissa has her life back. She’s now happily involved in her family life and has a 1 1/2-year-old son. Melissa is in school and has been placed on the Dean’s List. She no longer stutters and has been able to share her story and even speak publicly on PTSD – all with Gunner by her side. Together, they triumphed over adversity and today they help others to do the same.

Watch the video story about Melissa and Gunner.

Other pictures from the event:

Melissa and Gunner1

Melissa and Gunner receiving their award.

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Melissa and Gunner posing in front of their story.

Melissa and Family

Melissa, Gunner and family

Melissa Beth and Family

Melissa, Gunner, immediate family and Beth Russell, Founder of Freedom Dogs

Beth and Melissa

Beth Russell, Melissa and Gunner

Melissa and Gunner in simulator

Melissa and Gunner in a simulator. They got to enjoy the USS Midway too!

Featured Video >

TPI Accreditation Decal
In 2006 Freedom Dogs became a pioneer in the use of service dogs for warriors wounded by either emotional or physical injuries of war