K9s for Warriors graduation marks new lease on life

  • K9 Chief sits with Army veteran Tony Warren, center. (photo submitted)
    K9 Chief sits with Army veteran Tony Warren, center. (photo submitted)

The veteran community, the command master chiefs of Jacksonville Naval Air Station and Mayport Naval Station, and many active duty chief petty officers came out in force recently at a K9s for Warriors graduation in Ponte Vedra to celebrate a new “leash on life.”
A choir sang the National Anthem and there was a Color Guard at the graduation.
The late Rear Adm. Kevin Delaney was the inspiration for this fund raiser. Delaney flew nearly 700 combat helicopter missions in Vietnam and, when he retired, he was the most decorated officer in naval history. K9s for Warriors was dear to Delaney.
Also spurring on the fund raiser was the death of Master Chief Robert Kline, whose death gave direction to the fund-raising of a group of military veterans known as the Jax Vets. The group, formed by Jerry Stalnacker and inspired by Terry Buczkowski’s love of the K9s for Warriors program, chose to raise money for the organization and ultimately sponsor K9 “Chief.”
Additionally, Master Chief Bill Houlihan, command master chief of Navy Region Southeast, headquartered in Jacksonville, was instrumental in getting the Mayport Chief Petty Officer Association to become a partner in the fund-raising sponsorship that raised $15,000 in four months.