At 31 years old, single father Gregory Kolodziejczyk was a Poland native who was living in New York City in 2001.
On September 11, 2001, he watched the city go under attack.
After learning that it was an act of terrorism, he knew he needed to take action to help protect the country that he loved. Just days after the attacks, he enlisted in the Army.
Because of his age, he felt protective over the younger men in his unit. He became friends with one soldier in particular, 21-year-old Corporal Gavin Neighbor.
On June 10, 2003, an RPG flew through the window of the tank both soldiers were in.
Kolodziejczyk survived, suffering from a broken nose and a blown-out eardrum, but sadly, his friend did not.
Two years later, Kolodziejczyk returned home, but was a changed man. He suffered from depression, PTSD, combat-related flashbacks and night terrors.
“When he got back, I didn’t recognize Greg,” said his mom, Susan Byczkowski. “He didn’t talk to me. He was mad, angry.”
Because his story is much like many other veterans living with depression and survivor’s guilt, there are organizations that try to help those who came home from battle with physical or mental trauma.
ECAD is a nonprofit that aims to give service dogs to those with disabilities. In Kolodziejczyk’s case, a service dog would provide not only an animal that offers unconditional love, but a dog that would interrupt his night terrors and redirect his flashbacks when they occur. Though it’s within reach, the funding for a service dog is not covered through insurance, meaning Kolodziejczyk cannot yet receive a service dog.
“Even if the consequences were exactly the same as they are right now, I wouldn’t think twice. I went in because I had my beliefs of what was at stake, and what still is at stake,” he said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help raise the funds needed to provide a service dog for this brave soldier who gave his all for his country.
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