Boyds, Md. – Robin Martin, a long-time volunteer for Warrior Canine Connection (WCC), has received the 2020 Volunteer Service Award from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper for her dedication and service to the Buncombe County community.
“We are delighted to see Robin receive this most-deserved honor,” said Rick Yount, founder and executive director, Warrior Canine Connection. “Robin’s unwavering commitment, dedication and support of our programs and the Veterans involved has been nothing short of amazing. She is a tremendous asset not only to our organization but also the wider Buncombe County community. She’s a wonderful human being, and we are all better for knowing her.”
Robin began volunteering with WCC in 2012. Last year alone, she volunteered a staggering 1,727 hours with WCC. She spends a great deal of her time at the Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC), where WCC runs its Mission Based Trauma Recovery (MBTR) service dog training program for Service Members and Veterans involved in the court system.
No stranger to the military, Robin is a Veteran herself; she spent many years as an Army nurse at the old Walter Reed. And her father was a Veteran who served three tours in Vietnam. She says her support of WCC is all about the Veteran mission.
“It has been such a pleasure to work with the Veterans here in Buncombe County,” said Robin Martin, WCC volunteer. “I love seeing them coming in to meet the dogs for the first time and being grumpy and just not into it. By the end of their first session, they are hooked, and many continue to show up even though they have completed the program and are no longer required to come. The smiles just make my day.”
As a VTC Training Assistant, Robin instructs Veterans on how to work with service dogs in training which helps not only to meet their legal community service obligations but also fulfills a time-honored military tradition of Warriors helping Warriors. In doing so, the Veteran can also benefit from skills development in communication, confidence building, accountability, emotional regulation and patience to promote an act of service while receiving a therapeutic benefit.
In addition to assisting with the VTC, Robin helps provide MBTR to Veterans referred to WCC’s program from the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville and FIRST at Blue Ridge, a residential therapeutic community for individuals and Veterans with substance abuse disorders.
Robin also helps organize and teach puppy parent classes, providing the opportunity for WCC to expand its Asheville and Buncombe County programming.
As if that weren’t enough, it’s also worth noting that, to-date, Robin has helped socialize, raise, train, puppy sit and care for a total of 22 WCC dogs. Currently, Robin is puppy parent to WCC service dog in training Danny, who works closely with the Veterans in the program at the Buncombe County VTC.
The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award honors the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. Any person, group, or entity from the public, non-profit and private sector may be nominated for an award to their county award coordinator. County award coordinators submit their top 10 volunteer nominations per county. There are categories for the type of nominee (senior, youth, faith-based, family, group, business, etc.). Additional categories are based upon the area of service (animal, environmental, disaster, youth, preservation, etc.). County recommendations are reviewed by the Commission and awards are given out in the counties.
For more information, please contact Beth Bourgeois, Warrior Canine Connection, at email@example.com or 719-216-3206.
About Warrior Canine Connection
Warrior Canine Connection is a pioneering organization that utilizes a Mission Based Trauma Recovery model to empower returning combat Veterans who have sustained physical and psychological wounds while in service to our country. Based on the concept of Warriors helping Warriors, WCC’s therapeutic service dog training program is designed to mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other challenges, while giving injured combat Veterans a sense of purpose, and help in reintegrating back into their families and communities. For more information, visit www.warriorcanineconnection.org.