My name is Steve Cooper, and I am the Service Peace Warriors Board President. I am a U.S. Army retired Veteran with 21 years of service. I am married with four children and stay active in the Veteran community. Once I left the military in 2015, I realized something was drastically wrong. I struggled with PTSD and consistently experienced night terrors. I was referred to Service Peace Warriors in 2018, where I met SPW Violet. I began training almost immediately with her. SPW Violet changed my life from the first day that she entered it. We have a bond that I never knew could exist. Without Service Peace Warriors, I am confident that I would not be here today. I owe my life to them. Because of that, I will forever be in debt to SPW (Service Peace Warriors). I now spend my off time doing everything I can to support Veterans in our community. I encourage any and all Veterans out there that are struggling with PTSD to reach out to SPW for help. You will not regret it. Together we can reduce the number of Veteran suicides by developing a community of support.
My name is Cody Gage, and I am the Service Peace Warriors' Vice President. I am a Husband, Father of three, and the United States Marine Corps Veteran. After getting discharged in 2017, I was recommended to Service Peace Warriors and started my journey by being paired with SPW Oakley in October of 2019. Since then, I have spent my days volunteering to help train the new groups of Veteran/Service Dog Teams and puppy raising with my family to help other Veterans like me. I look forward to continuing to help this nonprofit grow to help as many Veterans as possible and lower the 22 veteran suicides a day.
Hi, my name is Diona Schilling; I am married with two grown children and one grandson; my daughter and I raise goats on the 5 acres where we live. My husband and I own Dependable Janitor, LLC in Kennewick, where I do the bookkeeping. I am a member/volunteer with the Benton Franklin Market Stock Committee. When Mary asked me to be on her board with Service Peace Warriors, I was excited to help. I had no idea how big and successful this organization would be and what an impact it would make. I thoroughly enjoy the dogs, people and meeting the Veterans, and seeing how these dogs have changed their lives.
Hello all. My name is Matt Wilson. I’m married with three grown children. Two still live in the tri-cities area, and one is currently serving in the Air Force. My time in the military was split between the Army and the Air Force, so my 15-year career was interesting, to say the least. My journey with Service Peace Warriors began in early 2018. I was paired with SPW Smoke shortly before he went home with the most wonderful puppy raiser for a few months. Smoke and I became a permanent team in the spring of 2019, and he has had the most positive impact on my life, as well as the lives of those around me. Today Smoke goes to work with me at Hanford, where he acts as a pseudo mascot for my workgroup. Having Smoke has allowed me to remain active, as he is never short on energy. He opened my eyes to how much dogs can make a difference in veterans’ lives. After personally going through the transformative experience of training and living with Smoke, I knew I wanted to help Service Peace Warriors further their mission to reduce the number of veteran suicides. I am honored to serve on their board as the treasurer and look forward to witnessing the positive impact on future veteran/dog teams.
My name is Avis C Rodriguez, the Service Peace Warriors Sargent At Arms. I am a retired United States Air Force Reserve Veteran, having served 25 years. After being diagnosed with complex PTSD, I was fortunate to be referred to the Service Peace Warriors non-profit organization to apply for a service dog to mitigate my needs. I was paired with SPW ASH in March of 2019 and completed my handler training eight weeks later. Since then, I have volunteered to assist at a fundraising event to allow the public and other veterans to ask questions and hopefully spread the word that ServicePeaceWarrior.org is here to help PTSD and MST veterans and lower the incidents of suicide within our veteran community. I am lucky to have been provided my service dog, Ash, free of charge, and I hope to help spread the word and get other Veteran/Service Dog Teams to graduate.
Hello, my name is Darcie Brightman. I have two children, and through the years, we have volunteered at the Benton Franklin Humane Society and fostered dogs for local animal rescues in the Tri-Cities. As a family, we have become puppy raisers for Service Peace Warriors and love being able to support this organization through service work and volunteering. I am an elementary teacher and would love to extend puppy raising to a service project through my school, but for now, I am honored to be a board member for Service Peace Warriors. I look forward to helping this nonprofit organization grow, helping to make community connections, and ultimately supporting our Veterans.
My name is Ford Powers, and I'm a Cyber Security Engineer working and living in Pasco. Chance and I grew up as friends, so we've known each other for a long time, and we graduated high school together. I came onto the board to provide any needed technology and safeguarding advice to the organization, and I hope to ensure efficiency and security as we go about the work and mission Service Peace Warriors performs for our community.
Hi, my name is Susan Thunder Eagle. I am a mother of 4 and the wife of an Army veteran. I am a Certified Medical Assistant but currently, stay home with the kids. My journey with Service Peace Warriors started when I saw a picture of a friend of one of my kids, and in that picture was a Service dog. Their vest said Service Peace Warriors, I immediately looked them up, and they were looking for puppy raisers! When we met with Mary, her passion and love for the veterans and dogs just radiated from her. SPW Patriot chose my husband that day. And that day, Service Peace Warriors saved my husband's life. Now that the mission of saving my husband's life has been completed, we raise and volunteer our time with the puppies. But that isn't enough for me. I want to help other veterans and help change their lives.
Hey Y’all, my name is Amelia Beadle. I am from Louisiana and currently live in Plaquemine, LA. Over the years, I have worked as a pipefitter, candle maker, and quilt shop owner, to name a few. My husband, Wade, and I have been married for 32 years. In 2010, he was employed by Bechtel at the Hanford Waste Treatment facility in WA. We lived in Kennewick for 10+ years before my husband retired, and we moved back to Louisiana. In the meantime, I opened and successfully operated a quilt shop in Kennewick. While at a Kennewick Car Show, I was introduced to Service Peace Warriors. I was immediately hooked. I do not believe that I could ever do what a veteran does and would never want to be put in that position. Lucky for me, I am a great puppy raiser and volunteer. My first puppy was Smoke, a blue heeler. He was a great dog and went to a very deserving veteran and now goes to work at Hanford daily. Then, we moved back to Louisiana. A few months later, we drove back to Eltopia, WA, a six-day drive, to pick up Roosevelt and Penny. I had spent time with Penny, the runt of the litter, almost from the day she was born. She was a beautiful little red and golden pup. Roosevelt, on the other hand, was very white and a bit larger than Penny, although they were only a couple of weeks apart in age. Together, the two were so wonderful to watch and raise. After about sixteen months, we drove them home. Roosevelt now belongs to a wonderful veteran who has come out of his shell. Did you know that 24 veterans a day commit suicide? That is over 8700 veterans per year. What better reason to become a puppy raiser?