Impact of War, Part 2

Lynn Bennis trains Molly at the Southeastern Guide Dogs campus
Lynn Bennis trains Molly at the Southeastern Guide Dogs campus
BRADENTON (2009-03-25) -

There's little doubt when you walk into Ed Burton's home near Cortez that he's got salt coursing through his veins. He's wearing a "Navy Sailing" shirt, has a tiki bar set up near his pool, and out back is a 41-foot Morgan Out-Island sailboat.

But these days, the retired - and legally blind - Navy veteran needs help just getting to the boat - let alone sailing it from the canal in his backyard out to the Gulf. That's where "Van" comes in.

Van is 90 pounds of sweet-natured Labrador who hops onboard and becomes his first mate.

The genesis of Paws for Patriots can be found in a spacious campus run by Southeastern Guide Dogs, near Palmetto.

The veteran's program was begun in 2003, when one of Southeastern's board members read about a Marine who was blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. The Veteran's Administration doesn't provide guide dogs to injured soldiers, so Southeastern Guide Dogs stepped in.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Paws for Patriots program.

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