Honoring one of our own

Published 9:29 am Friday, April 5, 2013

Despite being shaky from injuries, Lex, the Marine dog, made it to Dustin Lee’s funeral.  Several top Marine Corps officers attended as Dustin’s younger brother, Camryn (then 13) played with Lex for awhile. After the service Rachel asked if Lex could be adopted for she did not want him to return to service and in harms way. Throughout 2007 Rachel pressed the Marines for an answer. She recalls being in a fog from all the red tape and regulations along with her grief. Her dad, husband and brothers all pursued the case and refused to be thwarted. In December 2007 the Lee’s phone rang and they were told, “Lex has been granted an early discharge,” they could take him home. They drove seven hours to the Marine Corps base in Albany, Ga., where in a ceremony Lex was discharged from duty and presented to them. State police from Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi provided a rotating escort all the way home, as did motorcycle groups such as Christian Motorcyclists Association and the Patriot Riders.

Today Lex is part of the Lee family and walks with Rachel everywhere.

“It’s what Dustin would have wanted,” Rachel says, “just laying my hands on Lex is a healing experience.”

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I’m writing this tribute in the midst of Holy Week and it somehow seems appropriate to honor those who’ve sacrificed for us while celebrating He who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

Last week we said goodbye to one of our own, Deputy K9, Trixie. For most of the 10 years of her life she performed her duties flawlessly. The bond that occurs between these service dogs and their handlers was evident as grown men wept at her ceremony. I too wept along with much of the community, though I did not know Deputy Trixie, I knew what she represented. We should all feel proud and blessed that one of these loyal and dedicated animals was among us.

As for you Deputy, you’re off duty now, so I’d like to speak to you as a friend from afar. “Great joy girl, we will miss you, thank you so much for your service.”

Thanks for listening.