VAC Mission in conjunction with Pilots for Paws
July 7th to July 12th, 2015
VES Crew: Howard Turek, Craig Hutain, Laurie Hutain

This Veterans Airlift Command Trip was unlike most others. In conjunction with The VAC trip, where we transported two of our country’s finest, we also had a special guest along with us, Devon, a 4 year old Labrador Retriever who was found on a road side in Fort Bend County, dragged behind a car, then shot and left to die. Devon’s full story can be found on www.Hanksflights.com or our Facebook page, Hanks Flights

The mission of our two soldiers were to be camp counselors at Adventure Amputee Camp, a camp for underprivileged kids who themselves are amputees. Major Bear has been doing this for 5 years and this was Sergeant Melancon’s first time as a counselor. http://www.adventureamputeecamp.org/

Major Yancy Baer, US Army Special Forces

Major Baer Joined the US Army in 1989. He had 4 tours of duty in Iraq, 1 in Afghanistan, 2 in Africa and 1 in Haiti. In November 2009 he was injured in a non-combat set of circumstances when the Osprey rotorcraft he was on board “browned out” and impacted the ground so hard that it shattered his heal. He was airlifted out of the country back to the United States where he underwent surgery and intensive physical therapy intensive physical, eventually returning to duty.

Baer turned his ankle during a third tour of duty in Iraq in September 2009. The injury that would not heal was diagnosed as an aggressive osteosarcoma that did not retreat during six months of chemotherapy. Doctors amputated his right leg just below the knee. A high point, however, came when he met his new best friend, Verbena, a physical service dog that had come to him through a national organization called Canine Companions for Independence. He is retired now and is a fire arms instructor for the US Army and is an avid outdoorsman.

Sergeant Matthew Melancon, US Army

Sergeant Melancon Joined the US Army in July 2008. He did a tour in Iraqi and Afghanistan as well. In September 2011 he was wounded when his MRAP drove over a road side bomb. He served in Northern Iraq from 2009-10 as a Scout/Sniper with the 1st Infantry Division out of Ft. Riley, Kansas. After being stationed in Grafenwoier, Germany, with the 172nd, he was deployed to the Paktika Province in Afghanistan as Machine Gun Team leader. While on a routine patrol in Afghanistan in an MRAP it was hit by an IED; both of his feet were shattered and ankles dislocated. His injuries required two-dozen surgeries over a two-year period, and resulted in him electing to amputate both legs below the knee. He has taken up motivational speaking and is an avid snow boarder as well

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about Devon: