How Molly, My Service Animal, Changed My Experience As A Student Veteran
Student Veterans of America | September 22, 2017
Written By: Adam LeGrand, SVO Disability Services Liaison, Syracuse University
Service Animals save lives and make activities of daily life easier for their human. I have a Medical Service Animal because of my military related injuries – both visible and invisible. Molly, my Service Animal, became a part of my life two years ago. Since then, I have been able to do so many things that I never thought possible. For instance, I was afraid of crowds and public speaking. Two major things I needed to work through to be where I am today. I am an active father, friend, student, public speaker, lobbyist, and more – all because of Molly and the support I have received from K9s for Warriors.
I am in my senior year at Syracuse University. Guess what? I will be graduating with a BS in Communications and Rhetorical Studies with a concentration in public speaking. Without Molly, I would have a hard time navigating the hills, stairs and packed lecture halls that are a part of college life. My local student veteran organization (SVO) has been incredibly supportive of me and have provided more tools for my success by active engagement through Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) and the many programs offered through both the Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, and Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.
Because of the steps I have overcome and the support from my veteran network, I feel a part of the community and will succeed in my academic career. I was recommended by two Syracuse University staff members to become one of the first Disability Services Liaisons in the nation. Working with SVA's Director of Disability in Education, Dan Standage, I have helped pave a way to assist our veteran community. Working with other disabled veterans in obtaining services from Syracuse University Office of Disability Services is an honor. Interacting and spearheading initiatives at other colleges and universities has been rewarding.
I encourage all disabled veterans to seek services from their healthcare team, SVO, SVA chapter, local school disability/accommodation service offices. If this crusty and grumpy medically retired USAF medic can, you can too!