CDCR Capt. Crystal Wood, Sgt. Major Jesse Acosta, Karma Rescue Founder Rande Levine and PFL Program Leader Jon G. attended the recent PFL graduation.

From left, CDCR Capt. Crystal Wood, Sgt. Major Jesse Acosta, Karma Rescue Founder Rande Levine and PFL Program Leader Jon G. attended the recent PFL graduation.

War vet donates $25,000 to animal-training program Paws for Life

By Lt. Jackie Fernandez, AA/Public Information Officer
California State Prison Los Angeles County

Iraq War hero and disabled veterans’ activist, Sgt. Major Jesse Acosta, surprised the assembled staff, guests, and inmates during a recent Paws For Life (PFL) graduation at the California State Prison Los Angeles County (LAC).

The decorated war veteran, who was blinded during a 2006 mortar attack, announced he was donating a total of $25,000 to Karma Rescue, the nonprofit community organization which manages the PFL program.

Sgt. Major Acosta became involved in the Progressive Programming Facility (PPF) through the Inmate Leisure Time Activity Group (ILTAG) “Veterans Embracing Truths.”

He said he was powerfully moved by the emotional testimonies and obvious enthusiasm of the inmate participants in the dog-training program.

Boris, a Paws for Life trainee, was adopted during a recent graduation ceremony at CSP Los Angeles County.

Boris, a Paws for Life trainee, was adopted during a recent graduation ceremony at CSP Los Angeles County.

Sgt. Major Acosta made the donation when he learned funding was needed to allow the program to continue and promised to remain an active supporter of this worthwhile rehabilitative program.

Dawn Ayers, a Blue Star Mother who attended the graduation ceremony with Sgt. Major Acosta, was moved to adopt one of the dogs.

Boris, a black-and-white terrier mix who had been rescued from the South Los Angeles Animal Shelter, was one of the dogs performing at the ceremony.  He is currently enjoying his new, forever home.

Sgt. Major Acosta’s donation is able to fund the program for at least two, 12-week training cycles and permanently save an additional 20 dogs from euthanization.

Did you know?

Sgt. Major Jesse Acosta. (Courtesy 9-11 Help America Foundation)

Sgt. Major Jesse Acosta. (Courtesy 9-11 Help America Foundation)

Sgt. Major Acosta was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, six Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, (6) Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with a Silver Hourglass and the “ M” device, the Army Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with the number “3”, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Overseas Service Ribbon, the Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge, according to the non-profit 9-11 Help America Foundation, for which he serves as a board member.