Helping others is a way of life for Jerry. So it was in his nature to nurture a dog with medical issues that the Air Force veteran would ultimately welcome into his heart and home.
Born to serve
In 2012 Jerry enlisted in the Air National Guard. He served out of Virginia Beach until his honorable separation in 2018.
Military service allowed Jerry to fulfill his need to help people while sharing his dedication to health and wellness. Moreover, it provided a strong foundation for his transition to civilian life.
“The military gave me the opportunity to better my future while utilizing my passions for physical fitness and helping others,” he says. “My experience as a staff sergeant and electrical engineer prepared me for leadership in my current field [and] civilian position.”
Jerry participated in various military and humanitarian missions during his six-year tour of duty. Towards the end of his service obligation he experienced one of the most memorable assignments of his Air Force career.
“In the summer of 2018 I traveled to El Salvador with my unit to build a school for local underprivileged children,” he recalls. “Seeing the children move their classroom, from an outdoor baseball dugout to the safety and comfort of the building we constructed, is an experience I will never forget or take for granted.”
Since separating from service Jerry lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife, Meghan, and five year-old son, Zeke.
However, the Air Force veteran continues his giving ways by helping others. He works as a customer relations coordinator, serves in the kids’ ministry at their local church, and coaches his son’s tee-ball team.
A dog in need
It was Meghan who first broached the idea of adopting a companion dog for the couple’s young son.
It was early spring of 2022. After careful consideration Jerry and Meghan began to search for a dog who would fit into their household. However, it did not go as smoothly as they had hoped. Often they applied for dogs who were ultimately adopted by other people.
Still, Jerry was undeterred. Soon afterwards he and Meghan were given the opportunity to foster a dog named Gordon.
Gordon was a big Labrador Retriever in the care of our partners Portsmouth Humane Society.
Since 2011 the shelter has given veterans in our program 20 percent off adoption fees when they save eligible dogs and cats.
“After a long wait and several disappointments,” Jerry shares, “we agreed to foster Gordon for a few weeks as he recovered from some health issues.”
“We loved the benefits offered through the program, and the chance to help a dog that may have been overlooked in other circumstances,” Jerry says. “The discount, and welcome gifts from Pets for Patriots made it easy for us to bring Gordon home and stock up on food and toys for him.”
The big dog could have not picked a more perfect home or more perfect people. After all, Jerry is a person dedicated to finding ways to help others – including a rescue dog who needed time to convalesce.
All together now
Jerry officially adopted Gordon a few weeks after bringing him home as a foster. The long wait – peppered with various disappointments along the way – was worth it.
“Now it’s hard to imagine what life was like without him!” Jerry exclaims.
The Air Force veteran so devoted to help others was rewarded by his efforts. Gordon is fully recovered. He inspires his family to be more active and spend more quality time together as well.
“Gordon is more than a pet; he is part of our family,” Jerry shares. “We look forward to the way he greets us each morning and anytime we come home. We spend more time outside, on walks, and all together at home since adopting Gordon.”
Meanwhile, Zeke gained a sibling who is always ready to play.
“Our son calls Gordon his brother,” Jerry shares, “and they love playing fetch and tug-of-war together.”
The big retriever brought a new level of joy into this young family’s household. Every walk or car ride is an exciting adventure. The prospect of a treat gives him ‘happy feet.’ And while Gordon can be playful he is equally happy to snuggle when the opportunity arises.
Jerry has centered his life around helping others; it is simply in his DNA. Everyone around him – including a once beleaguered shelter dog – benefits from his giving spirit.
And so it is no surprise that Jerry is sharing his experiences. He hopes to help other veterans who may be thinking about pet adoption.
“The benefits and service from Pets for Patriots made it so easy for us to find our new companion. We loved our experience with Pets for Patriots and their partner shelters,” he says. “We would not have found Gordon without them!