Robert Brown, an Army veteran, and Guardian Angels volunteer, has worked with the organization for almost three years in a variety of capacities.
“I was in the Army and was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Desert Storm. While deployed, I witnessed a lot of stuff that I struggled to deal with over the years after coming home,” Robert said. Robert took to drinking to deal with the things he had witnessed and eventually sought help at the VA, where he was given medications but did not like the way they affected his daily life.
After a few months of taking these medications, Robert said he chose to stop the medications but, unfortunately, began drinking again as a result.
“In 2014, my wife Sarah was paired with her service dog, and I was introduced to Carol. During Sarah’s training, Carol looked at me and asked why I hadn’t applied for a service dog yet. I didn’t have a legitimate answer, so I applied. Two years later, I was paired with my Sirius. She has changed my life, given me the desire to change myself,” Robert said.
Robert’s “Why” for Working with Guardian Angels
Robert said in 2017, his job at the time was not going well, and he made the decision to leave. He said his wife Sarah had the idea for them to sell their home and move to Williston, FL, for a fresh start with a new town, new home, and new life. In 2019, Robert and Sarah sold their home and bought a new house in Williston near the Guardian Angels’ Florida campus.
“Sarah and I are both retired now, but were are not ready to sit around and do nothing for the rest of our lives, so I decided to volunteer at Guardian Angels, which was awesome for me. I have been doing odd jobs there for almost three years now,” Robert said.
Robert said what initially began as a way to start fresh became a new love for small-town living while giving back and paying it forward.
“Guardian Angels has given me my life back. For one, by giving me a service dog, and second by letting me work at the farm. It brings me peace in my heart to do what I can to help. Without Guardian Angels, my life would be very different and not in a good way,” Robert said.
How Guardian Angels Has Touched Robert’s Life
Robert said the biggest impact Guardian Angels made on his life occurred last year.
“In April of 2022, my wife attempted suicide. My wife’s 10-year-old service dog stopped her from continuing to harm herself and comforted her while my 8-year-old service dog ran to me outside and alerted me that something was wrong. If it weren’t for both dogs acting together and having the ability to communicate with each other, my wife would have been successful that day. Their teamwork earned them “Hero Dog of The Year” for 2022,” Robert said.
What Robert Want You to Know About Guardian Angels
Robert said the dedication of the staff is what should be highlighted. “I remember one of the trainers telling me she cried after her first pairing. The emotions, the expression on the recipients’ faces, their reactions to seeing the dog for the first time, it just got the best of her. It is amazing knowing that the work they do day in and out is so life-changing!” Robert said.
To learn more about Guardian Angels and how you can support their mission, click here.