Steve Devries, an army veteran who served two tours as a combat medic in Iraq got a big surprise at a football game he was invited. For his service in the military, he was awarded a medal of honor.
Steve was in a vehicle that got hit by an IED from underneath it while on tour in Iraq. He suffered major spinal injuries that rendered him incapable of walking for a while. He is being honored at the game as one of the men and women that have sacrificed everything they have for the safety peace of the world around them. They leave behind their closest relations, friends and their beloved cities to fight for the interest of the country thousands of miles across the world.
He retired from active military service in 2013 citing his medical condition, after undergoing extensive surgeries on his back. Steve came back home as one of the lucky heroes but suffered from his injuries in the war.
More work will still need to be done on his back to make him better. Steve has been on the waiting list for over 18 months to get a service dog that will assist him. Service dogs as he Steve as seen with some of his friends are special assistance dogs specifically instructed and trained to provide help for people with different disabilities such as mental illness, visual and hearing impairments, seizures, mobility impairments (as is the case for Steve), and even diabetes.
They are also called “seeing eye dogs” because they are usually seen with visually impaired individuals. They are trained by organizations, experts, and even the person to use it.
For Steve, getting a service dog is a matter of necessity in his rehabilitation for better mobility. It is his belief that it would help him in gaining balance and stability as he and the dog get closer. And thanks to the Semper K9, the American Humane team, and United War Veteran Council his wait is now over.
Being a lifelong fan of the Long Island native team Giants, he was invited to the MetLife Stadium for a game against the Eagles on a Sunday, November 6, 2016. He was brought to the pitch after the first quarter of the game with his 12-year-old daughter. He was completely caught unawares with the surprise awaiting him. Since men and women veterans are usually honored at sports events across the country, it was a perfect opportunity to make his dream come true and celebrate him in front of the live audience and millions that would be watching.
He initially thought the invitation was just the routine ‘Salute to Service’ game to honor him for his time of service. Looking up at the screen in the stadium, he immediately realized there was something else going on.
DeVries got a 3-year-old yellow Labrador named Levi as a surprise on the day. He was glad he got what he has been waiting so long for. He said in an emotional video online that he was overwhelmed and almost rendered speechless by the surprise he got.
According to him, he said his medals do not even compare to the gift he got. He said, “I’m so thankful and so grateful for all that did this for me.” The dog had already been training for two years and the training he’s had promises to help soothe the scars for the veteran. Their bond will be further strengthened through training together.
DeVries added, “Instead of a cane now; I think I can find a way to lean on Levi a little. That will be wonderful.” He has two friends that have done pretty well with service dogs, and he hopes he can have a similar experience. “I hope I can do much more with my family and be a better husband and father.” The now Mr. Steve DeVries and his wife are at the time of the report expecting another baby. “Just being at my favorite team’s game was awesome enough and then everything else was added on top of it. I was so overwhelmed with joy.”
It was truly an amazing gift for him, far less than he has given in service to his country. Gestures like this are necessary to encourage and celebrate these people, the impact the gift will have on Steve will be a long lasting one for him and his family.
It is simply the least anyone could do for all of these humans, they need to be respected and treated as well as people treat celebrities, their needs attended to and their families cared for. All we could hope for is that Steve and Levi grow fond of each other enough to have the positive effect on the balance of Steve.