To the Bush family, giving Sully to Walter Reed National Medical Center, after completing his mission with former President George H.W. Bush, was a no brainer. While the family has a rich history with politics, they also have a deep connection with the installation.
With the war in Iraq and Afghanistan having taken its toll on service members, Captain Mark Kobeja, director of Walter Reed, told the audience at Sully’s swearing-in ceremony that President George W. Bush would come on a monthly basis to visit troops, most times without advanced notice or press.
“The Bush family has always been dedicated to our wounded warriors,” Kobeja said. “Today is just one example of that.”
That is why the family decided Sully would join the center’s Facility Dog Program. The dogs who are in the program visit patients and staff throughout the day to reduce stress and increase overall well-being.
The dogs are also incorporated into the different therapies and clinics the medical center uses to treat the wounded.
Not only does Sully have a new mission, but he also has a new rank. During his official swearing-in, the golden lab was promoted to Hospital Corpsman Second Class in the Navy. (He now outranks the author)
Sully’s new uniform, complete with a Fleet Marine Force insignia and presidential seal, also has deep meaning. The vest was made from Evan Sisley’s old Navy uniform. Sisley, a corpsman and Afghanistan veteran, was the former president’s senior medic and worked with Sully.
WATCH: Sully, a service dog for the late President George H.W. Bush, has started his next assignment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. https://t.co/HDj8rl3h6O pic.twitter.com/FIOyqaXrBc— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 27, 2019
“Sully came to the Bush family in a very difficult time,” Sisley recounted. “With the passing of Mrs. Bush, they lost the matriarch of that family. He provided a levity and a life during a very difficult summer, not only for the Bush family, but for the caregivers and staff as well.”
Sisley said they and the family were confident knowing Sully is exactly where he needs to be, “he’s continuing his mission.”
The other dogs on Sully’s team include: Lt. Col. Goldie, Sgt. Dillion, Sgt. Truman, HN Luke, Lt. Ellie Mae, Cpt. Annie Fox.