Disabled OEF Veteran needs help obtaining a service dog

Published: Fri Nov 06 2015

An appeal from David Perillo.

"I am a 29 year old, 100% service connected, disabled, and medically retired veteran. I currently live in colorful Colorado with my beautiful wife, Tracey. Right now I am not able to hold a job, because I am enrolled in college full-time and spend my days doing my best to keep up with the pace of work. Against the odds, I am trying very hard to earn my degree in Project Management, so that I will be able to work from a home office, to better accommodate my disabilities. I only say against the odds, because I have a few setbacks that come into play.

"To explain, November 7th 2007 is what I refer to as my "Alive Day". Better known to others as the anniversary of a day that one came close to death. I just refuse to acknowledge the darker side of things, and simply see this day as the one in which I finally woke up, and began to appreciate all that this world has to offer.

"Midway through my second tour in Afghanistan I unquestionably drew the short straw, and was assigned to spend the rest of my days in country at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Wilderness. The appropriately named base was a US stronghold set up directly on the Silk Road. Which at the time, was the only unsecured transport route between Afghanistan and Pakistan along the 400 mile eastern border. The tiny base supporting just forty soldiers was placed there to put a stop to major weapon and drug transports coming from Pakistan into the country, and more dangerously, directly into the hands of Taliban soldiers.

"Needless to say, the Taliban forces in the area were not pleased with our new checkpoint installation. Wilderness, although incredibly effective in its mission to stop illegal transport, quickly became what felt like the biggest target in the country. The FOB was tiny, and on top of that, Wilderness was placed in what we called the bottom of the fish bowl. The mountains surrounding three hundred sixty degrees of our perimeter made security incredibly difficult to uphold.

Having so many different angles of attack to choose from, the enemy really took advantage of our unfortunate position. Almost every night, the insurgents in the area would use the cover of the close mountains to set up mortars on delayed fire mechanisms, scheduled to fire on Wilderness the following day. Occasionally, during those almost foreseeable early afternoon attacks, the Taliban would send ground troops over the hills to rush at the FOB. This was to try and catch us off guard while we were hiding in the safety bunkers, to avoid the incoming mortar fire.

"The only line of defense from these direct attacks was the single guard tower we had positioned just outside the perimeter to oversee the roadside checkpoint. The two soldiers in this tower, whoever they happened to be at the time, were responsible for keeping that post, even during the frequent mortar attacks. They were the eyes on the mountains and the only lookouts we had.

"On November 7th 2007, I woke up to the sunrise. It was a brisk morning as winter was beginning to set in this high into the mountains. I grabbed yet another veggie omelet MRE from under my cot, drowned it with tobacco, and began cleaning my rifle in routinely fashion. After gearing up for an 18 hour shift on the tower, I headed up the hill to start my shift. The open aired tower overlooking the vast mountain rang felt like a second home after this long in country. However, leaving the safety of the perimeter that morning, seemed a bit more concerning than usual. That day, which would soon become my alive day, the Taliban decided to throw the gauntlet at us, and little did I know, but I was about to be in the middle of a serious firefight.

"I was standing back to where the first round of the mortar attacks impacted. I spun around startled to see the smoke and debris thankfully just outside the FOB’s perimeter, but only about three hundred meters from the tower was located. Immediately following the first blast, sounded incoming over the radio, grabbed the binoculars, and scanned the surrounding mountain peaks just in time to see enemy ground troops pouring over the hilltop to the south of us. I then had a very important and even more difficult job to do. After a few of them went down the second mortar came in. Taking cover behind the rock wall of the tower I noticed that this round landed only about two hundred meters short of me. Uncharacteristically from the usual attacks, it seemed that they were actually adjusting fire to hit me, and not just lobbing them at the FOB like usual. The third round came in shortly after I popped back up to fire, and this one was only one hundred meters out. Standing strong I peered through my scope and continued to lay down fire at the oncoming ground troops.

"There is an old military saying… "You never hear the one that gets you." Well, the fourth mortar crashed through the roof of my tower unannounced, and landed seven feet behind me proving that to be incredibly true.

"Three and a half years later, after three major surgeries, and hundreds of physical therapy and cognitive rehabilitation sessions; I found myself back in the United States with orders releasing me from military service. Due to the injuries I sustained overseas I was no longer considered fit for duty, and I was about to take my first step back into the civilian world as a veteran.

"With an inspiring new appreciation for life, and a blank canvas sitting in front of me, I wanted to paint something beautiful with this second chance. I moved to Boston with my now wife, and landed an outstanding job as a Jr. Network Engineer in early 2012. After spending three and a half years in the workforce however, I came to find that my injuries although mostly invisible today, still inhibit me from many aspects of the normal duties I was currently responsible for. I found it harder and harder to keep up, and was missing a lot of work due to medical appointments. I have never been a quitter, but in august of 2015 I finally decided that my health was just too up and down to continue on in that position.

"After addressing my concerns with my employer we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to attempt to go back to school and earn my degree in order to obtain a work from home position. The president of the company personally addressed my situation, and offered me a guaranteed work from home job as soon as I finish school.

"I got busy on this new venture, and was accepted by Northeastern University to attend classes in the fall. I knew that I would be unable to work however, since I have to spend so much more time on school than most people. So, my wife and I left our home in Boston, and found an affordable, comfortable place here in Colorado to spend the next few years while I finish my classes.

"The purpose of this go fund me page is to raise enough money to purchase, and train a service dog to help alleviate some of the struggles I still face day today. I have been on two different waiting lists for getting a service dog assigned, but after a year, there is no light at the end of the tunnel in either of those directions, and I am now looking for other options.

"My new neighbor here in Colorado is a disabled vet from the Korean War, and he has a service dog which he purchased as a puppy and trained along the path to become certified. He informed me that he too was stuck in line on many waiting lists through private organizations helping vets get dogs, when he decided to simply take matters into his own hands.

"Inspired by this new idea I have now done vast research on the topic, and know exactly what I need and where to get it. According to my neighbor it costs about 7500 dollars to get a qualified breed, and have the in depth training done. However, I have found it to be a little cheaper. I am asking for help in raising $5200.00 which according to other more reputable sources should be enough to get me where I need to be. The following link is the strongest source I can find to put a number on.

http://www.psychdogpartners. org/resources/frequently- asked-questions/faq-training- basics

"I sincerely hope that you have all enjoyed my story. I do not talk about it, and this whole process was actually very therapeutic. In the very least I can take that away from this experience, and still I am very hopefull that something good will come of this effort. Thank you all for your support and generous contrabutions."


Sgt. David D. Perillo

This post can be found with pictures on the gofundme website, at the following link...

Contact Name: DavidDPerillo
Contact Email: daviddperillo@gmail.com
Contact Phone: 6179395375

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