NFL coach donates service dog to charity for vets

Associated Press
Published, 20 OCT 13

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton has donated a service dog named Gumbo to K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides helper dogs for military veterans with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Payton was among local notables helping to raise money and awareness for the nonprofit group during the New Orleans stop of the “Bark Business Tour,” led by author and animal activist Wendy Diamond.

imagesSupport K9s for Warriors!

The Times-Picayune reported that Diamond had introduced Payton and his Play It Forward Foundation to the program. In a news release, Payton said he viewed the effort as a way to give back to veterans and their families.

“I love being around these dogs, “Payton said. “We look forward to presenting this dog to a Louisiana warrior.”

Diamond, who served as grand marshal of the Barkus pet parade in 2010 and was chairwoman of the Katrina Pet Memorial, hopes to raise $150,000 for the service dog program during the national tour.

“We launched the Bark Business Breakfast Tour to support veterans,” Diamond said. “I just felt like I needed to make a difference and help, and I knew service dogs were the answer.”

A Department of Veterans Affairs report issued in 2013 noted a marked rise in suicide among veterans.

“Ninety-four percent of every dollar goes to the veterans and they’re 100 percent transparent, so if people support this cause they’ll know the veterans and the dogs their supporting,” Diamond said of the K9s for Warriors.

K9’s For Warriors, based near Jacksonville, Fla., was founded in 2011 by Shari Duval, wife of retired PGA Champions Tour golfer Bobby Duval.

The couple’s son did two tours in Iraq as a contractor for the Army, handling bomb dogs, according to the K9 website.

Duval founded the K9 program to help any service person who has served since Sept. 11, 2001. The men and women are matched with suitable dogs, most of which have been rescued from shelters.


In this photo provided by Animal Fair Media, Inc., author and animal activist Wendy Diamond, center left, and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, center right, join K9 for Warriors Graduates Army Sergeant Sheri Martinez and Lola, left, and Army Sergeant Chris Spikes with his new dog Seal, at the New Orleans stop of the “Bark Business Tour,” Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. “K9s For Warriors” matches suitable dogs with any person who served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001. The majority of their dogs have been rescued from shelters.
AP Photo/Animal Fair Media, Inc.

Leominster and America Welcomes Home Norman Dufresne!

Norman Dufresne’s body found in 1951, but just recently ID’d

Norman-Dufresne-101213Pfc. Norman P. Dufresne

LEOMINSTER, Mass. —The remains of a Leominster soldier killed during the Korean War returned home an hour ago.

A procession bringing the remains of Pfc. Norman Dufresne arrived in the city via the Leominster connector at about 2 p.m. today.IF

“This is the answer to 63 years of prayers,” said nephew Al Guillemette, adding his mother “would say the rosary every night and then look out the window to see if he was coming home.”

Dufresne went missing during a battle in South Korea in July 1950. His remains were found in August 1951, but were only recently identified using modern forensic technology.

Dufresne’s sister Claire Weber said the day was both happy and sad for the family.

“My parents never stopped hoping he would come home, but he never did,” she said. “He was a typical boy. Very, very handsome.”

nd1City officials invited residents to line the route from Mechanic Street to Third Street to the Simard Funeral Home on Walker Street.

A service at the Leominster Veterans Center is scheduled for Thursday. A public wake will be held Friday at Leominster City Hall and a full military funeral will be held at St. Cecilia’s Church on Saturday. salutes you Norman!  Thank you for your service to America…and WELCOME HOME BROTHER!  To Norman’s family, friends, neighbors and to the City of Leominster, it’s a bitter sweet moment.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.  God Bless You!  And know that Norman is in God’s Loving Hands.

Rest in peace Brother.


i will have photos and a video of Norman Dufresne’s procession.  Met up with them on Rt.2 and followed the procession into Leominster.  i will post them for all to view or download as soon as i can.  -jb