Students and faculty of Tackan Elementary School in Nesconset recently presented nonprofit Paws of War with a golden dog statue.
The statue named Trooper, part of a joint community art project, was given to the Nesconset-based nonprofit for its work with linking service animals with returning veterans as well as their initiatives around the community.
Ryan Canedo, a former U.S. Marine reservist, who recently received a service dog, Milo, from Paws of War, joined the nonprofit at the school and surprised two of his children who attend Tackan Elementary and worked on designing the new camo pattern for Trooper.
In addition to being a Marine veteran, Canedo, who is a registered nurse, worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health and safety of thousands of patients across Long Island.
“This joint project is a reflection of giving back to not only veterans, but to our students as well,” Kelli Porti, Veteran and Community Outreach liaison for Paws of War, said in a written statement. “With the pandemic limiting activities for children, Paws of War saw this as the perfect opportunity to help engage the students in the community.”
Claudia Chandler, art teacher at Tackan Elementary, and her 520 students, spent over two months refurbishing Trooper. The statue was repainted in a pattern camouflage with the Paws of War logo to honor the organization and the veterans and first responders that they serve. Trooper was returned to Paws of War and will remain on display at their headquarters in Nesconset.
“Teaming up with Paws of War on this project has allowed our students to showcase their artistic abilities and learn about an organization that has benefitted members of the community, their families and classmates as well,” Chandler said in the statement. “This project will have a long-lasting impact on the students and the veterans and first responders throughout Long Island.”
To donate to Paws of War or find out more about the assistance and wide range of programs they provide to active, retired and disabled military members, visit: pawsofwar.org