Please accept my submission of Joel Rockey at One Last Treat for the CNN Hero Awards 2017.
Joel is originally from Michigan and he enlisted in the United States Navy in 2007. While in the Navy, he was a Hospital Corpsman attached to the Marine Corps’ 2/9 Sniper Platoon in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As a medic in the military, Joel found a great deal of satisfaction and passion in his job. He was awarded the “Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal with Valor” for bravery in combat while deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. He built relationships that will last his lifetime and saved many lives.
After leaving the military, Joel struggled to find that same passion he’d found as a Corpsman. He knew he loved animals, especially dogs and he loved his country. He knew he wanted to continue to help people and he knew he wanted to do that by helping animals too. He came up with a plan and enlisted the help of two friends and fellow Marine Combat Veterans Andrae Bandoo and James Plummer in becoming board members for his newly founded rescue. He called this rescue One Last Treat.
Joel has the compassion and foresight to see that senior dogs and cats everywhere, even “soon to be passing” animals need an advocate and a voice. What better voices than the Veterans in our nation?
He continuously fuels his spirit of giving by providing friendship, medical care, homes, voices, and yes, even love to those who are lost and forgotten (and I’m not just talking about the shelter animals he saves here).
By doing this daily, he is making an impact for the betterment in the quality of life for the old souls he rescues and rehomes. This also impacts positively the quality of life for the United States Military Veterans and their families. With his programs like “Holiday With A Senior Shelter Pet”, “22 in 22” (utilizing Veterans to save a dog every day for 22 days to raise awareness of the number of Veterans who take their own lives everyday), “Treat Team Trivia”, “Veterans Appreciation Day”. These are just some of the events he runs throughout the year to get his fans energized. He also makes sure to go on Facebook Live every day, sometimes several times a day to involve his donors and fans in the lives of the animals he saves and the Veterans who take part in the program.
The One Last Treat Program allows rescued senior animals to live out their remaining time with dignity and love with any applicants who can be matched with a senior animal. All applicants are considered.
One Last Treat Vet Friend Til’ The End matches honored veterans and senior shelter animals. All medical expenses for the animal are covered for the rest of their lives by One Last Treat, this enables the Veteran to live with one less (huge) worry until the end with their new senior friend. At the same time this provides needed companionship, comfort, and joy to the retired veteran (I witness it every day in the live feeds).
Joel’s goal for One Last Treat is to highlight the importance of providing proper treatment of animals in their final days to all people and to all communities and to provide needed companionship for our valued veterans from Las Vegas to Missouri, California to Michigan, and all across the U.S.A.
Joel never hesitates to pack up for a few days just to connect old friends (adoptees and animals) and other rescues like Marley’s Mutts (California), Free to Live (Oklahoma), and The Devoted Barn (Michigan) would tell you that Joel is the greatest wingman and best friend in rescue you could ever ask for. He is always ready to fly out and help pick up dogs in New York flown in from Thailand, drive across the country to “Drool For America”, or even just battle rain and ice to take a goat or mule to MSU in the dead of night so you don’t have to go alone.
It’s difficult not to get excited when Joel opens a live feed to give an update on one of his special senior animals, or when he goes live to let us know he’s going to be driving two to three states away to help another rescue pick up puppies (he is always on the move and willing to help other rescues with their work), or even when he buys cat trees to give away free at the local shelter to highlight a cat who’s been there too long. Joel’s zest for these activities, for saving life is infectious. I have to say, Joel always has at least 2 to 3 of the animals living with him at any given time. He is blessed beyond measure and he brings those blessings to us in overwhelming ways.
He is constantly and consistently finding innovative ways to engage solutions to benefit the mission of One Last Treat. He is a hero of the America people, his fellow veterans, and to animals everywhere.
*this is my formal submission to CNN Hero Awards 2017 submitted today. Please follow this rescue on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/onelasttreat/ and hey, if you’re looking to throw some money at a good cause (it’s great for your taxes too), this one is VERY deserving. If you are a veteran or know a veteran who would love to become a Vet Friend to One Last Treat, please visit http://www.onelasttreat.com and complete an application!