A TRIBUTE TO THE IOWA ELK'S ASSOCIATION
(Extensions of Remarks - May 23, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E748]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                A TRIBUTE TO THE IOWA ELK'S ASSOCIATION

                                 ______
                                 

                            HON. TOM LATHAM

                                of iowa

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 23, 2013

  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor and recognize the 
great work of the Iowa Elk's Association for their efforts to make the 
reunion of Marine Sergeant Ross Gundlach and his former combat partner, 
a yellow Labrador named Casey, a reality. Their dedication to this 
great event has truly changed two deserving lives.
   In Afghanistan, Sergeant Gundlach and Casey were deployed on more 
than 125 missions to detect and clear suspicious packages along 
military convoy routes. Sergeant Gundlach and Casey's great work no 
doubt saved American lives as they were able to detect improvised 
explosive devices along the road and contain them before they could 
harm US Marines aboard the convoy. As their tour of duty concluded, 
Sergeant Gundlach made a promise to Casey he would do everything in his 
power to find her and care for her when they returned to America.
   Upon returning home, Sergeant Gundlach, a Wisconsin native, was able 
to locate Casey, who had been acquired to continue her work detecting 
bombs in Iowa on behalf of the State Fire Marshal's Office. He reached 
out to Casey's new handler via email in an attempt to adopt Casey, 
often relaying photographs and stories of their service together. 
Unfortunately, hope for a reunion looked dim as the State Fire 
Marshal's Office would require $8,500 to acquire a replacement dog 
equipped to inspect venues for explosives should Casey's position be 
vacated.
   To make this reunion happen, the Iowa Elk's Associaiton, a fraternal 
organization with a proud history of assisting our veterans, graciously 
donated the full sum required to the State of Iowa to purchase a new 
explosive detection K-9. Governor Terry Branstad accepted the gift 
request and Sergeant Gundlach was unknowingly invited to Iowa under the 
pretense he would have to present his case for the adoption of Casey to 
a bureaucratic state board. Instead, the Iowa Elk's generosity 
supported a heartwarming surprise ceremony in Iowa's Capitol to 
formally reunite this remarkable veteran and his faithful companion 
after 333 days of separation. The selfless efforts of the Governor's 
Office, the State Fire Marshal's Office, and the Iowa Elk's Association 
left few dry eyes as Casey greeted her old friend and new adoptive 
parent.
   Mr. Speaker, in an increasingly chaotic and unpredictable world, it 
can seem good news is harder and harder to come by. Yet, the actions of 
the Iowa Elk's Association and the State of Iowa as a whole to do the 
right thing in such a remarkable fashion is a testament to our state 
and nation's innate optimism and gratitude to our servicemembers. It is 
with great pride that I invite my colleagues in the House to join me in 
thanking all those involved in this heartwarming event and wishing both 
Sergeant Gundlach and his dog Casey a long and happy future as the 
friends they have been from day one.

                          ____________________