Bronze statue to honor Sergeant 1st Class Matthew Bessler and Major Mike

(Cody, Wyoming) - The creation of a new Wyoming Veterans' Memorial Park life-sized bronze memorial honoring all War Dog Teams has begun. Carol Armstrong and Matt Bessler are working to raise the necessary funds to complete this historic tribute to all War Dog heroes and invite the community to join with them in this honorable cause. Vietnam veteran, painter and sculptor, John Phelps of Cody said, "It is my honor to create this bronze." The Phelps bronze will be one of a few such statues in the United States honoring military service dogs and their handlers, and the first of its kind in Wyoming. The bronze will be permanently displayed in the State of Wyoming Veterans' Memorial Park located in Cody, Wyoming. [image: Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.28.57 AM.png] The inspiration for this memorial is the story of War Dog, Major Mike-5, or "Mike" as he was known. "Mike," a Belgian Malinois combat veteran, completed two tours of duty in Iraq in 2008 and 2009. He was a loyal companion to his combat handler, Green Beret Army veteran Sergeant First Class Matt Bessler of Powell. Man and dog together received two Bronze Star citations as an Explosive Detection Team. "Mike" found over 2,000 pounds of explosives during his deployment, saving countless military lives. Both soldiers suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the press release, "They had each other's back and the bond ran deep. They made it home safely together; however, in retirement, 'Mike' met an untimely death and was laid to rest with full military honors befitting the hero that he was. This is just one story of our heroic military service dogs and their place in history." This memorial is being created to recognize and honor all military working dogs and their handlers who have served our country and to provide a venue where they can be individually and permanently memorialized. Anyone interested in learning more about the memorial may contact Carol Armstrong (307) 587-6192 or Matt Bessler (307) 630-44340. Donation information can be found below. [image: Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.29.08 AM.png] *Feature photo: Sergeant 1st Class Matthew Bessler and his combat partner Major Mike / Pitchengine Communities* #reboot #news