VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – In a fateful turn of events on Wednesday, Kerry Sprague’s life underwent a sudden and profound transformation. The Coast Guard veteran was diligently engaged in her work when her neighbor, friend, and fellow veteran, Jacquelyn Ramos, delivered a devastating phone call that would forever alter their lives.
Ramos, with a sense of urgency, informed Sprague of smoke billowing from the rear of her home. In response, Sprague’s immediate concern was for the safety of her cherished service dogs, urging Ramos to rescue them from potential harm.
Without hesitation, Ramos leaped over the fence and into Sprague’s backyard, determined to act swiftly. With quick thinking and resourcefulness, she knelt down and crawled through the dog door, making her way into the house.
However, the sight of the dogs did not greet her immediately. “Before I knew it, the roof and kitchen were coming down, and I had to backtrack out of there,” Ramos recounted.
Upon the arrival of fire crews, Sprague’s four loyal service dogs were brought outside, their lives hanging in the balance. The dedicated rescuers initiated resuscitation efforts, but tragically, their valiant attempts proved unsuccessful.
For Sprague, heartbreak consumed her being in that heart-wrenching moment. The bond she shared with her service dogs was profound, as they were not merely pets but lifelines. As an individual grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder, Sprague relied on these remarkable animals for both companionship and vital assistance.
“I don’t want to say that I died, but I did,” Sprague poignantly expressed, encapsulating the profound impact of this loss. The invisible illnesses that afflict veterans carry a burdensome stigma, often leaving them unheard and underserved in their quest for assistance.
Now, Sprague finds herself in dire need of support from the community she once faithfully served. A compassionate group called Ormond Strong, based in Volusia County, has taken up her cause, striving to raise funds on her behalf. The objective is to alleviate the overwhelming burden thrust upon Sprague, who has found herself stripped of her possessions and left with nothing.
“This is a woman who served her country successfully, and now she’s lost everything,” Ramos stated, emphasizing the urgency and importance of assisting Sprague in any way possible. No contribution is too small, as even a single dollar can make a difference when given with genuine intent.
In her efforts to cope with the immense pain and loss, Sprague finds solace in the laughter and camaraderie shared with Ramos. Their bond serves as a shield against the anguish that threatens to consume her.
For those who wish to lend a helping hand to Sprague’s cause, Ormond Strong has established a GoFundMe page, providing an avenue to extend support in her time of need. Every act of kindness is a step towards rebuilding a shattered life.
As the story unfolds, it serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by veterans who silently bear the weight of invisible wounds. By offering assistance and compassion, we can collectively work towards ensuring that those who have served our nation receive the care and support they so desperately deserve.
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