Hero’s Homecoming: PNP Pilots Fly For Marine Cpl. Daniel Palmer
Cpl. Daniel Palmer, 26, lost his right leg and suffered a traumatic brain injury in an IED explosion in Iraq. After more than a year of treatment at military hospitals, he’ll return home on Friday.
When he returns, his pet dog “Lady” will be waiting for him thanks to some volunteers.
It’s a safe landing for pilots Jack Rowell and Ralph Park. Rowell has transported around 40 animals for Pilots -N- Paws over the last two years.
“Usually they are puppies that have been pulled from kill shelters and taken to adoption shelters, it’s nice to help out and save those animals,” said Rowell.
Rowell’s passenger today is Palmer’s golden retriever, Lady. She was a perfect lady on her very first flight. Once she got on the ground, she was very excited to see an old friend, Channel 3′s Sue Straughn, who visited Lady and her family in North Carolina.
“We used Ralph’s airplane today and Ralph’s a great pilot. Ralph is a former Marine and so when I told him we needed to make a trip, he was ready to go,” said Rowell.
“Special of course. Of course we’d be anxious to do it for everybody, but when it’s a Semper Fi operation, why, it’s special,” said Park. “This Marine and his wife have given so much already to their country and to us and what we’ve done, it’s just a small token of appreciation. Just glad we could help out.”
Veterinarian, Dr. Gina Forgey, says Lady is a healthy, sweet puppy and the perfect breed for Palmer’s three-year-old son and nine-month-old daughter.
Forgey says it’s her honor to take care of Lady until her family arrives. “His injury resulted from trying to defend us, and so we feel like there’s anything we can do to help him, that’s what we want to do,” she said.
The public is invited to the Hero’s Homecoming for Cpl. Palmer. The event will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Pensacola Aviation, behind the Pensacola International Airport on Jerry Maygarden Road.