The Dogs Helping Heroes family lost its prime founder David Scott Benson in a tragic motorcycle accident Wednesday, July 6. David was a young man with an old soul. He was always reaching, through intense thoughts, for more. He wanted more for others and more for himself. David brought eight of us together to form the initial Dogs Helping Heroes board of directors, to apply for non-profit status, and to begin to crawl this terrific idea of raising funds to provide service dogs for wounded veterans, first responders, and Gold Star families. Together we all learned a lot while we headed toward the toddler stage of David’s baby – “DHH.”
David’s idea of Dogs Helping Heroes was born out of a war-time injury to his brother-in-law, and the traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that followed. David’s natural aptitude for the training of dogs, coupled with his work at Duffy’s Dog Training and his love for and desire to serve others drove the initiative. Like all youngsters, we toddled and fell in our efforts, but the strength and perseverance instilled in one another for this lofty cause led us all to stay the course. Reading the particulars of heroes who had submitted their formal application for a dog and then hearing their stories firsthand in the committee interviews brought strong glimpses of the reality that “freedom isn’t free” and we all embraced the efforts to bring peace of mind and restore the lost freedom of those who had served us all.
David was a spiritual young man. From a board member “DHH was David’s mission. He had a beautiful heart. He would’ve given anyone the shirt off his back, and then brought you the rest of his shirts the next day. We all owe him gratitude for bringing his passion to life” and the service of so many others. David truly made a difference.
In David’s spirit, the entire DHH family gathers together – hero teams, volunteers, the all-volunteer board members, and our beloved donors. We are all thankful to David for the friendships we have forged over these nine years, for the inmates who have benefited from David’s efforts training dogs in the prison, for the rescue organizations who have presented dogs for our heroes, and to David and his colleagues at Dogs Helping Heroes who trained the dogs and the heroes – the Hero Teams.
As expressed by one of the Hero Teams David “holds a special place in our family’s heart; my dog lived with David prior to us becoming a Hero Team.” From a Gold Star family “David was so amazing to our entire family.”
In David’s honor, and that of our founding board member Brent Casey’s grandfather, Hershel “Woody” Williams who recently passed, we’ll have some exceptionally meaningful names for upcoming dogs to be placed with heroes. We’ll continue the legacy of David Scott Benson and will remember what he was telling us through his actions, and will keep him and his family in our hearts daily. Rest in Peace, David. Rest in Peace Faithful Servant of the Lord.