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Veterans Helping Veterans Behind Prison Walls
HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- You wouldn't know it, but inside the decorated halls of north dorm, vets are helping vets.
Inmate Kent Brewer's life spiraled out of control after his years in the coast guard.
"I did some terrible things," he said. "You look at my record, i killed two men in a space of 20 years."
That tough shell was eventually cracked, when Brewer took in a puppy named "Trooper" more than a year ago.
He agreed to raise and train the pup in prison, always aware, he'll have to give him up eventually.
Trooper and puppies roaming the yard at north dorm, are bred to serve. They're raised by hand-picked inmates with the hope of someday helping a disabled veteran.
Prisoners, many of them veterans themsevles, teach the pups how to pick up items and open doors. Some will even act as seeing eyes for the blind.
"we have a trainer that comes in once a week. she teaches and trains the inmates on the tasks these puppies are going to need," said Sheila O'Brien with America's Vetdogs.
"I have children on the outside but i wasn't a good father so this is a real experience for me. a good one." Brewer said. "It showed me that i could love something or someone."
Another inmate, Terry Torsey found a friend in his dog, "Delta."
The 50-year-old incarcerated vet nurtured the tiny runt into a healthy service dog.
"Delta" offered Dorsey a chance out of what he called, his selfish ways.
"Like my sister told me, she said, I'm so proud of you today," Dorsey said. "That's something she would have never said before. she would never tell me. she used to down rate me every time I'd talk to her on the phone. now it's like, it's a joy, you know, when she says,you now, I'm real proud of you, what you're doing. She says, because it's not about you, it's about doing for that dog, and helping veterans."
Inmates rarely get to see their dogs again after they go to their new homes.
But not Brewer.
Trooper returned with his owner, wounded army specialist Ken Doyle to spend time with Brewer.
The two veterans shared a moment. Each a little better off having trooper in their lives.