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Dog walking people back into veterans life

Posted: 10:51 PM, May 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-16 09:01:49-04
Michael and Cheverly

IJAMSVILLE, Md. — Simple things like getting dressed or evacuating a building when a fire alarm is going off weren't simple for veteran Michael Schwartz.

Schwartz took a lot home with all that he lost while proudly serving in the United States Marine Corps.

His PTSD and hearing loss made it impossible to do his job. It started to impact his entire family.

“One of the turning points for me and my wife was when I would come into the house and pull into the garage, my 12-year-old daughter at the time would get up and leave,” Schwartz said. “She would be like, 'Dad is already in a bad mood, I can tell.' I hadn’t even walked into the house yet. I’d be coming home from work. That really struck me hard where my own children aren’t wanting to be around me.”

Disconnected from the people he loved the most and feeling lost, he found Marcus Hull with RBC Wealth Management and the Paws4Vets organization.

“RBC has a National Veterans initiative, the purpose of that is to help veterans and fill the voids and needs in their lives,” Hull said.

Schwartz needed someone to watch his six.

Cheverly the dog alerts him to things he can't hear like sirens or fire alarms, and comforts him when things start to close in.

“I trust Cheverly," Schwartz said. "I can watch how she behaves and when my behavior starts to impact the family she definitely will let me know like 'hey' she’ll start alerting.”

With Cheverly by his side and Hull with RBC Wealth Management helping him get his finances back in check, his life turned around.

“If it hadn’t been like organizations like Paws4Vets, RBC Wealth Management, and even the Three Rangers Foundation, there’s just no way I’d be where I’m at today,” Schwartz said.

The financial mentorship Hull provides through RBC and his Three Rangers Foundation includes advice on sustainable spending and setting up emergency reserves.

“Very much micromanaging, but as it becomes more of a routine and a habit, and they see that the benefit is there than they’ll be even more motivated to continue that,” Hull said.

Schwartz is back at school full time with a goal of a new career in cybersecurity.

“I wanna help the American people some way, and if that means 'hey, I can sit at a desk and I can keep their internet safe and secure and help find people that are trying to steal from them' works for me.”

His best friend always by his side – walking back towards the most important connections.

The groups are holding a charity golf tournament on Wednesday, May 29 at the Whiskey Creek Golf Course.