The story of Justin Rollins and an Iraqi pup named “Hero” is running deep into the hearts of every proud American, especially those that have lost a loved one at the hands of war. Not only is “Hero” bringing inner peace to families and friends of fallen soldiers; This story has the potential of bringing closure to anyone who has ever posed the question, “do you think they are watching over us?” The photo of “Hero” inside of this article was captured on a rolling camera by ABC. The story of how Justin Rollins and “Hero” met is bittersweet. Though Justin and “Hero” spent just hours together, the reason why they met is a tale of undeniable destiny.
Like many soldiers, Justin Rollins was inspired to enlist in the United States military after the terrorist acts of 9/11. Justin made his way to Army Specialist and his family was proud to see their son stand for what he believed in. Justin was with “The second line: 82nd ABN DIV 2/505 C. Co.”; A division that represents a group of elite men that Justin thought so much of and trained so hard to become. This group is destined to serve overseas, and a group Justin was unwilling to abandon. Despite Justin’s job opportunity at recruiting, an amazing exempt during a time of war, he did what he thought was best for his country.
While serving in Iraq, Justin found an abandoned puppy. Justin was overjoyed and took photos of himself and this adorable baby. Justin requested that the pup be sent back to the United States. He wanted the puppy out of the war zone.
Justin Rollins was killed the next day.
On March 5, 2007 an improvised explosive device detonated near Justin’s unit during combat operation in Samarra, Iraq. Justin was about three weeks away from flying home to propose to his girlfriend, Britney– the diamond already purchased.
There are hundreds of somewhat, similar stories; Soldiers so close to coming home to see their newborns, to marry their soul-mates, to be with the people they love. Thanks to this beautiful dog, no longer a pup, Justin’s family and beloved girlfriend have a piece of Justin for years to come. Not only was Justin’s wish fulfilled in sending “Hero” back to the United States, Justin seems to be showing signs through “Hero” that he is, indeed, with the family–and dog, in spirit.
While visiting the family in Newport, New Hampshire, ABC reporter Kimberly Launier watched and photographed “Hero” as he walked out to the backyard. A beam of light shined down on him, creating a “vertical halo.”
(Look very closely for the circular beam surrounding the dog. Inside of that beam is an image. This was NOT photo-shopped, it was a rolling camera.)
When families lose their loved ones in war, they are given an American flag in honor and recognition of the ultimate sacrifice of their fallen soldier. The story of Justin Rollins and an Iraqi pup is not only a gift, but a sort of closure most families never get. May those who seek comfort during a time of loss turn to the photo of “Hero” and grasp the confidence that there is peace–after life.
Rest easy, Justin. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write about your generosity, kindness, and heroism.