Allen and K-9 Celly
I’m Allen Thill and I’m a Major in the Air National Guard serving with the 208rd Combat Weather Flight, supporting the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at the 133rd Air Lift Wing in MN. I currently live in the Twin Cities area with my wife and our daughter.I joined the Air National Guard in 2000 and I have been deployed 6 times, 5 of those deployments were overseas. My overseas deployments include 1 tour in Columbia, 2 tours in Kosovo and 2 tours in Iraq. During my other deployment, I was state side supporting a Special Operations Mission that involved Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) over various countries throughout the Middle East. I received the Purple Heart from injuries I sustained during my last tour in Iraq in March, 2020.
I have always enjoyed Deployments. I enjoy the challenges I have to overcome, the gratification of knowing what you do has a direct impact on combat missions and the greater good of the Campaign. Plus I love the comradery with fellow Airmen and all Military Personnel.
During my last tour to Camp Taji Iraq, our base endured two volleys of missiles. 60+ total, on two different days, 3 days apart. Two weeks before I was scheduled to come home, Camp Taji took the first round of attacks. One of the 30+ rounds hit my housing unit. The CHU that I was housed in took a direct hit, and the missile hit about 15-20 feet from where I currently was in my room. After a short time being unconscious I reoriented myself enough to attempt to triage a fellow Service Man that was also in my CHU. He ultimately lost his life that night.
I have many long term effects from that night at Camp Taji. Physical effects from the blast itself (the concussive wave and the pressure that built up within the CHU), lasting effects from the concussion, PTSD and Survivors Guilt.
On the civilian side, I am a State Trooper which adds to the stress in my life. Between riot control, fatalities on the highways and unruly arrests, all add up on the day to day challenges that I and my family have to deal with. The stressors of being a State Trooper coupled with the effects I have from my last deployment add up.
My family and I met Dana a couple years before my last deployment. We were very supportive of Soldiers 6 but I never would have imagined that I would be in a place that I would need the support of a Service Dog myself. After I returned home from my last deployment, Dana reached out to say that she wanted to help. It has been a long road to get us here, but I look forward to forming a bond with Celly and I am very hopeful in the support that he will bring to my life as I move forward.
My hope in having Celly as a Service Dog is that he will support me in my daily home life. He will inspire me to start running again, he will wake me from recurrent nightmares and he will bring the all-around joy and energy that a dog brings to a home on a daily basis. We are so excited to get to know Celly and to start this next chapter with Celly by my side as a partner to encourage me through the bad days and a constant companion on the good days.
We couldn’t thank Soldiers 6 enough for the opportunity they bring to myself and all of the other recipients.