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  • Mark Olivito

Our Great Vets & The Healing Powers Of Man's Best Friend

My 4:30am commute from North NJ to South NJ leaves for plenty of time to absorb what goes on the 'ol radio. I tend to select podcasts and CNBC business news for the bulk of the time.


Last Thursday was Veteran's Day. I love the outpouring appreciation on social media for our nation's best.....but at the same time I always find it puzzling how this type of appreciation doesn't extend throughout the ENTIRETY of the year.

People that risk their life to defend all that is right in our country is a level of Patriotism and heroism that is simply remarkable.

We do lots of work at PAVERART with Veterans Memorials, and it's a real thrill and honor.


I've poked fun of business owners that say they "can't pick their favorite product, it's like picking your favorite child!" Such drama, give me a break! I have zero problem with this question. All things Military designs. I digress...


The communication and experience we have with Veterans Organizations is always wonderful.


Every year for 19 years we do a handful of these projects, each one is special.


A wonderful client of ours sent us in this photo for a Veteran's Memorial Park in Framingham, MA. We completed the Armed Forces Medallion and the Engraved Pavers. I can't wait to go visit in the spring.

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Framingham Veterans Memorial Park

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Engraved Pavers

Even better then visiting the park? Meeting Assistant Fire Chief John Schultz, who managed to raise $200,000 and personally donate over 100 hours of his time pulling the revitalization project together. These projects take much more than money, takes an enormous amount of overall leadership and tenacity. Chief Schultz has plenty of family ties to the Military with his parents and 2 sons serving.


“I grew up down the street from this park. Now, I hope the public comes and appreciates the service so many gave. I hope they appreciate the Veterans Park for a long time to come and are proud of this park. It is something special,” said Chief Schultz.


Great article recapping the project.

https://framinghamsource.com/index.php/2021/11/10/framingham-veterans-memorial-park-to-host-veterans-day-ceremony/


The physical beauty of these Veteran's Parks is amazing, and they serve as a wonderful education tool as well. But our country needs to do more....

There's a hard reality many Veterans face when they return home from combat: PTSD.

A story on CNBC discussed a Veteran who is now working as a commercial truck driver had a frightening experience. While driving, a tire blew out, creating a loud gun-like sound, triggering a panic attack that lasted 5-7 minutes. He was lucky to be able to safely pull over but hearing this Vet talk through how this sound brought him back to the battlefield in Iraq was chilling. The thought of the safety risk he was personally under by this trigger is scary.


The Veteran went on to discuss his SERVICE dog, and how that's helped him through many tough episodes upon his return back to civilian life.

I couldn't remember the name of the organization but found one that matches service dogs with Veterans and people with Autism.


https://www.retrievingfreedom.org/service-dogs


The healing powers of our canine friends are too many to count, but they are real. So many great videos of service dogs show their amazing abilities, here's one that caught my attention.




Quick PERSONAL story:

As many parents can relate, we "resisted" the calls for getting a dog for our kids, but we finally relented, and Bruno, the pug was added to the family. Less then 2 years later we decided Bruno needed a playmate, so enter Mickey, the Pug/french bulldog mix. Life hasn't been the same since!


About a month ago a great friend of mine passed away.......WAY too soon at 44 years old, and tragically. The first day was rough and I remember tossing and turning in bed. Enter Bruno...


Bruno always sleeps with my son Dominic, and if Dominic sleeps past 6am Bruno will bang the door down/scratch it until we let him outside for his walk. EXCEPT for this night when I first learned of my friend passing, Bruno starts to bang and scratch the door at midnight, only he did not need to go outside, he wanted to come into MY bedroom. I woke up, way passed 6am (Bruno's normal awakening time) and guess who's asleep on my neck with their tongue hanging out? Bruno. 2 years of sleeping in Dominic's room, waking up at 6am. Somehow, little Bruno sensed something off and did what dogs do.


Dogs: So much more then Man's Best Friend. If you are open minded to considering new charitable organizations, organizations that train service dogs are not a bad place to look. Dogs rule!

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Bruno, Mickey, Officer Kevin & The PAVERART Compass Rose


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