It’s not often you see a dog leading a parade; especially as Grand Marshal in a major event honoring military, held in a place where veterans are highly revered by local communities. Atlas, the Battle Buddy Service Dog and designated Grand Marshall, is no ordinary dog though and his service is nothing less than extraordinary.
Atlas belongs to the Battle Buddy Foundation that helps connect veterans suffering with things like Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD) with service dogs to help them cope and adjust back into society.
The Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission (VSC) typically holds their annual Veterans Day Parade in the Village of Batavia. This year, due to construction, the Village of New Richmond has graciously agreed to accommodate the VSC and their annual show will go on! The VSC Veterans Day Parade will be held at at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 and will run along Front Street in New Richmond, Ohio. Participants will begin lining up at 6 p.m. and the parade will start at 7 p.m. beginning at Light Street.
Front Street will be closed to traffic for the parade. Citizens are encouraged to participate and show their appreciation for all our service men and women.
The Cofounder and Executive Director of The Battle Buddy Foundation is Kenny Bass. Kenny Bass is a disabled Marine combat veteran from the Iraq War. He served with the Marine infantry, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, for the first 8 months of the war in 2003. On July 20 2003, he was wounded during a counter-ambush patrol, where he was hit with an Improvised Explosive Device. He has suffered PTSD, hearing loss, and multiple other physical injuries due to his combat service since 2004. He was diagnosed with Behcet’s Disease in 2007 that has been linked to his anthrax and smallpox vaccinations.
He has spent the last nine years of his life in treatment for his PTSD, in individual, group, and family counseling among other PTSD treatments, as well as the treatment for Behcet’s Disease.
He has been prescribed a PTSD service dog that enables him to better manage his PTSD, continue rebuilding his life, and assist with his physical struggles due to Behcets.
“As a disabled combat veteran, I struggled with Post Traumatic Stress for too long thinking I was alone. When I was pushed and driven to make a change, it required displaying my struggles for everyone to see. Most veterans are not willing to take those drastic steps and our goal at The Battle Buddy Foundation is to meet these veterans where they are, connect them with the necessary resources, and help guide them through to recovery,” Kenny Bass, The Battle Buddy Foundation Executive Director.
The Battle Buddy Foundation asks veterans and community members to stand with them during the upcoming Veterans Day parade as they strive to serve our nation’s wounded heroes.
The foundation diligently works to remove the stigma associated with Post Traumatic Stress on a national level, educate the public, and help guide the nation’s wounded Veterans to the needed resources.
The foundation is currently working to build the infrastructure in order to further their service dog breeding and training program. Atlas is a part of their service dog program. This program is designed to include the veteran in his/her service dog’s training, and maximize the service team’s bond early on in the development and training stages. All of the service dogs will be placed with the veterans after eight weeks of age, and will train and prepare for the certification training/testing that will take place on the service dog’s first birthday. All of the service dog teams will meet for a week of intense training, ending with full service dog certifications.
“The Clermont County Commissioners strongly believe in showing support for our military and their families. PTSD is an invisible wound and a condition that sadly our veterans often face alone. Trained service dogs are a wonderful idea to help them cope,” said Commissioner Bob Proud. “We’re looking forward to meeting Atlas at the parade!”
“We must do everything we can to help these Veterans and The Battle Buddy Service Dog is a great program that helps these Veterans lead a normal life! As a proud citizen you can do your part by showing your support for our Veterans and line the streets of New Richmond for our Veterans Day Parade,” Bob Derr, member of the Clermont County Board of Veterans’ Service Commission said.
For more information about the parade, please call (513) 732-7245. For more about The Battle Buddy Foundation and Atlas, call (513) 720-7886 or visit http://kennys.battle-buddy.org.