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Iraq War Veteran Suffering From PTSD Seeks Help From A Service Dog

by Roxy Garrity
Roxy is a reporter and writer for LittleThings. Born in North Carolina, she graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Florida, and now lives in Manhattan. She's drawn to uplifting stories that inspire her audience, and she has interviewed a range of compelling public figures, such as President Obama and Taylor Swift. She loves live music, yoga, art, traveling, all animals, and meeting new people. Send her your story ideas or just say hi!

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.

 

Gregory Kolodziejczyk

Gregory Kolodziejczyk was a single father living and working in New York City when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Days after the tragedy, he enlisted in the Army as a way to serve and protect his country.

Gregory Kolodziejczyk

Upon coming home from his deployment, Kolodziejczyk was still suffering from the effects of PTSD and depression. He experienced night terrors and flashbacks that brought him back to the time his tank was attacked in Iraq.

LittleThings

ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities), a nonprofit that trains service dogs for veterans like Kolodziejczyk, can pair him with the right therapy dog that will help interrupt nightmares and combat-related flashbacks.

Gregory Kolodziejczyk

It takes 1,500 man hours to train a PTSD service dog, and fees are not covered by insurance or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Kolodziejczyk says even is the consequences were exactly the same or worse, he would have still fought for his country.

If you would like to learn more or help this family in any way, please visit Kolodziejczyk’s GoFundMe page

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