When Frank Carter landed on U.S. soil after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, a first course of action was to pet an animal. He says after what he had experienced tracking Taliban operations overseas, he was looking for a friend.
“There was a man with a service dog and I asked him if I could pet it,” says electrical engineering sophomore Carter, who was an Army intelligence specialist. “Animals don’t judge you. They don’t ask you questions you aren’t ready to answer. They are comforting and intuitive. I can’t say enough on how much veterans appreciate animals.”
On Monday, Carter spent time with Top Secret, an 18-year-old spotted Kentucky mountain horse from the organization Horses Heal Hearts.
Veterans Coordinator Tom Pitock brings the nonprofit to campus twice a year — for Finals Week and National Veterans Awareness Week, which is observed the week leading up to Veterans Day. “We want to help our service people find ways to reduce their stress. Spending time with animals has been proven to do that.”
Carter, Veteran Student Organization treasurer, assisted Pitock in organizing campus’ Veterans Week events.
• A Care Package Packing Party from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Fairlane Center North, rooms 121 and 122. If you know anyone who is deployed and you would like that person to get a care package, to please email Pitock so a package can be sent out to her or him.
They are still seeking volunteers to help pack and people to donate items like toiletries, jerky, canned goods and non-aerosol personal hygiene items. “I really liked when I got a care package with socks,” says Carter, reflecting on his deployment. There is nothing I liked more than socks. “We’d go through so many socks and putting on a fresh clean pair always made you feel so good.”
See the full list of events.