May is Military Appreciation Month, a perfect time to highlight the Kare 9 Military Ministry through the experiences of the veteran handlers or veteran ministry partners. The LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry will be sharing how the Kare 9 dogs are a bridge for their veteran handlers to share compassionate ministry through the bond of duty, service, and memories with active military and veterans they meet.
LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dog Mercy and her veteran handler, Dave Walls, are from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Dave is a United States Army veteran, having served from 1974 to 1994, attaining the rank of Major. He is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy (USMA) West Point in New York. He served at the U.S. Army Fort Benning Military Base in Georgia, two tours in Germany, U.S. Army Base Fort Dix in New Jersey, and the U.S. Army National Training Center/Fort Irwin in California. A true gentleman and humble servant, Dave joined Mercy’s ministry team at Our Savior in January 2017.
Dave recalls many special moments while serving with Kare 9 Mercy. They met a World War II glider pilot at a nursing home and visited often. Dave was invited to celebrate his 100th birthday and then attended his burial at Arlington National Cemetery. They also served at many Honor Flights, attending Camp Hometown Heroes, and visited soldiers at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Dave and Kare 9 Mercy also developed a wonderful friendship with a Major General (RET) and fellow graduate of the USMA at West Point who was also a member of Our Savior. Unfortunately, the General passed this last February.
During the challenging times of COVID-19, Dave developed a schedule and routinely called those he regularly visited with Kare 9 Mercy to keep in touch, let veterans know they are missed, and hope to see them soon. When possible, Dave and Kare 9 Mercy also did window visits to a nursing home and the Veteran Affairs (VA) facilities.
The LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry thanks Dave for his dedication and compassionate ministry to those who have given so much, and for his service to our great nation – Hooah!