SPC (Ret.) Donald Overton and "Pierce"

Donald Overton and Pierce

Fidelco Guide Dogs client, Don Overton – Specialist, U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne (Ret) – is a Connecticut native and accomplished athlete in competitive sports: swimming, baseball, football, and lacrosse, and always looking for new challenges, Don enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school graduation in 1988.

Don was deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He was blinded during combat the next year. Uncertain about his future and alone, Don returned home to family in hopes of finding the support he desperately needed. "My life had drastically changed in the blink of an eye," Don recounts. "One moment I was pursuing a military career and suddenly I found myself disabled and discarded."

When medical complications from his battlefield injuries finally stabilized, Don entered college and graduated Magna Cum Laude from East Carolina University with a degree in Social Work. During the past two decades, with the support of his wife, Peggy, and two sons, Don worked in veteran service-related organizations at the federal, state, and local levels of government helping fellow disabled veterans.

Until 2016, Don never seriously considered working with a guide dog – he believed he was navigating quite well through life with the support of his family and white cane. This belief was challenged while on a family vacation when Don and his then 12-year-old son, Jordan, were exploring some historical monuments. Don asked Jordan to describe his favorite part of the tour and Jordan replied, "Dad, I wasn't paying much attention...I wanted to make sure you didn't fall."

Heartbroken by Jordan’s loving honesty, Don knew his son needed the freedom to be a kid and not be burdened as a sighted guide. Don's partnership with Fidelco guide dog “Pierce” makes this possible. Don proudly said, "When I first took hold of the harness of my new Fidelco guide dog, I felt free. Pierce has allowed Jordan to become a typical teenager and enabled me to experience life with even greater independence and freedom.” 

Watch Don and Pierce take their first walk ever together on Nat Geo Wild's "Dog Nation."