There was a very noticeable, four-legged guest at this year’s Mayor’s Ball in Hamilton Township.
And this guest helped bring attention to a very special cause that is near and dear to the hearts of Mayor Kelly Yaede and the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee.
Her name was Kiera; and she came to this year’s ball all the way from Fort Dix Joint Military Base.
Kiera is a military service dog – who was actually wounded in service – and is a shining example of why the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee has been working to bring a monument to honor military service dogs in the town’s Veterans Park.
For this year’s Mayor’s Ball, Yaede recognized the Patriotic Committee as the annual event’s special honoree. As such, Hamilton’s Mayor donated a portion of the night’s proceeds to the organization for the specific purpose of helping to complete the memorial project.
“Any dog owner knows the love and companionship that dogs bring to their owners, but these special dogs have served our nation and helped to protect the lives of our brave soldiers,” says Yaede. “So this year, I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from our annual celebration to the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee in order to help bring this needed monument to Veterans Park.”
Dogs may be affectionately known as ‘man’s best friend’; but in wars dating back to the Spanish American War in 1898 to the military actions of the present day, military working dogs have traveled in harm’s way to protect American soldiers. Some have served in military police roles helping to track suspects, while others have help to detect mines, explosives or other weapons. United States’ Navy Seals used a military service dog in the operation that ultimately killed Osama bin Laden.
Later this year, Hamilton plans to dedicate the new monument to Military Working Dogs in Veterans Park, near the existing Dog Park area that sits inside the Kuser Road entrance.
The Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee, which started in 1996, is a non-profit organization that works to promote patriotism across the community. In addition to their work toward the Military Working Dog monument, the committee is best known for working to bring other military monuments to Veterans Park – such as the F-4 Phantom II Fighter Jet, the Naval Anchor Wall, the AH-1F Cobra Attack Helicopter and M60A3 Main Battle Tank, as well as monuments representing the US Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.
Another project that the committee has undertaken is a memorial to recognize all Hamiltonians who have made the ultimate sacrifice during service to our nation.
Residents who would like to learn more about the Patriotic Committee, including its Patriotic Brick program which helps to raise funds for these projects, can visit: www.HamiltonPatComm.org