Sergeant Joseph Funk deployed to Iraq in 2010-2011 at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom that transitioned into Operation New Dawn. One night SGT Funk's team was conducting a raid on a suspected location of an Iraqi rocket launcher that had been firing on his base in Baghdad. The squad had to scale a wall to get to the house. What the briefing team did not know when they were preparing SGT Funk’s team for the mission was that there was a deep ravine on the other side. Fully loaded with all required equipment, body armor, ammunition, and a machine gun, SGT Funk and his unit scaled the wall. Unfortunately, when they dropped on the other side they found only empty air for the first twenty feet instead of solid ground. MRI analysis after SGT Funk returned to the States revealed that the fall damaged virtually every vertebrae in his spine.
Physical incidents were not the only sources of injury to SGT Funk. Like most infantrymen deployed in a combat environment, he experienced many other horrors of war that would influence him deeply in the future. Along with the physical injuries, Joseph was diagnosed with severe, treatment-resistant combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that has intensified. Flashbacks triggered by hundreds of situations most of us take for granted as just noisy background to our lives sometimes reduce his ability to discern the difference between memories and present reality. They superimpose an artificial, but very real terrifying character upon otherwise normal surroundings because they are real to SGT Funk’s perception. Life has become very difficult. Because of these PTSD and pain issues, SGT Funk continues to be unable to attend many of the events that make life meaningful like family dinners, family camp outs, birthday celebrations, socializing with friends or even going to the store to pick up milk.
Not long after, Sgt Funk was part of a training accident, crushing one of the disks in his lower back, The pain in his back became intolerable and became steadily worse. Due to inactivity and atrophy, the muscles in his back weakened and the damage to his spine from his deployment and training accident were discovered with multiple MRI's. This pain incapacitated him. He became unable to leave the apartment by himself even for a Doctor’s appointment. He was no longer able to drive himself anywhere. Only now in 2018 has he been able to begin receiving the first of many surgeries to help with those spine issues.
One of the proven ways to assist a veteran with challenges such as SGT Funk’s is by pairing a specially trained dog with the veteran’s character and needs. Such dogs are very expensive to find and train. SGT Funk and his family have found an Idaho-based dog trainer that specializes in training service dogs to be sensitive to the needs of combat veterans. These incredible animals are usually able to sense the onset of a PTSD episode prior to the veteran even being aware of it. The right dog for Joe would be able to assist with his mobility issues and his PTSD. Joseph desperately needs both qualities in a service animal. We are currently looking for a Gladiator Mastiff or a large type of dog like a mastiff cross. The addition of a service dog would significantly enhance SGT Funk’s quality of life. Any help would be greatly appreciated and will assist us in reaching our goal to purchase a puppy and fund the training! If the timing is not quite right for you to donate we would be grateful if you would share this post and link. Thank you! Thank you!
DonationsSee top donations
- Lynann Stewart
- Sheryl Funk
- DaLynn Moore
- Nancy Davies
- Donna Funk
Fundraising team (2)
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more