Nation, who is originally from Hardin County, was a member of the Marine Corp and spent eight years in the service. Nation met his wife, Sarah, a Massac County native, online and the two eventually married.
Initially he spent the first years in the service stationed in Hawaii. In 2005 through 2007 he served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It was chaos, literally,” said Jacob, about what it was like serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he did not go into great detail, he said there were mortars, fire grenades and attacks every day. The Improvised Explosive Devices was something he saw. “There were so many of them,” he said,.
When troop cuts came in November of 2012, Jacob had the chance to remain in the military and head to Japan or to get out of the military, so he took the option to return to civilian life. But returning home to his family was not a smooth transition.
Upon returning home, Jacob experienced constant, high anxiety, nightmares and panic attacks.
“He had really hard tremors,” said Sarah Nation.
Jacob had gotten a job with the Marion Veteran’s Administration Hospital as a security officer, but Jacob recalls one day while on the way to work he experienced an attack and blacked out. He recalls pulling off the road to get out of the way. But after that incident, he was no longer able to work and now he is on disability.
He and Sarah began an Internet search to find something or some way to help him. Their Google search lead them to find This Able Veteran (TAV), and eventually to Mindi.
When individuals hear the term “service dog,” many people automatically think of the guide dogs that help to lead people who are blind, but Mindi is a service dog that has been specially trained by TAV. Before becoming a trained service dog, Mindi was in the pound, but at the age of six months, she was rescued.
Earlier this year, in February, Mindi and her first owner were in an automobile accident, which led to the death of her first owner. Mindi survived two days in the vehicle during cold temperatures, with no food or water before being rescued a second time.
Jacob said he was in the third TAV class held earlier this year. The class itself is three weeks long and he and other service dog owners attended the class. Jacob said he was in class with people from Oklahoma, Chicago and Wisconsin. The cost to train one dog is $25,000.
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