BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (WTHI) – After a slough of paperwork, a bit of military red tape, and a trip that would take them around the globe and back, Bloomfield, Indiana played home Thursday for the reuniting of an Air Force Veteran, and his military dog.
The duo, which worked together on numerous missions while serving in Iraq, separated following that assignment. For Harvey Holt, the dog’s handler, he would eventually make it his personal mission to get Jjackson back by his side; only this time for a different purpose. That purpose, to allow the dog to lead a civilian life.
That mission was marked complete Thursday, as a crowd gathered around the Greene County Courthouse Square to welcome a squadron of Bloomfield City Police, Greene County Sheriff’s Deputies, and a well represented motorcycle group of The American Legion Riders Post 196. The team would lead the campaign in parade style, around the city blocks of the Courthouse to the American Legion.
But this mission didn’t start as one that may returned a positive result.
“The Military did promise me that if they put him down that they would fly me out, let me fly out and say my goodbyes, cause I never got to give him a proper goodbye,” said Holt.
That goodbye would never happen. As a whirlwind of people worked their way around Courthouse, to a nearby parking lot, Holt and Jjackson stood by and talked about their trip back to Indiana. Getting home, for the most part, was the easy part. The trip was delayed earlier in the week due to inclement weather. But, according to Holt, that made the trip that much better.
“I’m shaking now. I still can’t wait to get him home and have one-on-one time with him,” he added.
However, there’s still work to be done. Holt said that Jjackson would likely need surgery on a hind leg, which could possibly result in an amputation; weather permitting, Holt would also need to build a dog kennel for his battle buddy.
“He’ll be 11 on the 3rd of June,” said Holt.
Amid the downtown scramble, and people anxiously awaiting Jjackson and Harvey’s arrival, one onlooker was making sure that the homecoming would be one not to forget.
Terri Wilson, a woman who helped get people buzzing about the homecoming walked the Courthouse Yard handing out American Flags with a friend.
“To me the K9 unit is the same to me as a veteran and I think we all just need to support the K9 unit as much as we would an officer,” said Wilson. “I just think it’s a real emotional thing for the community to come together for something like this.”
Holt said Jjackson’s first mission as a civilian dog would be to learn to get along with his [Holt's] other animals. Nonetheless, a friendship that started in battle, and ended with love.