By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Belton’s Patriot Way Brick Walk’s dedication took place in 2010. The ideas behind the concept are noble, and the intention is both honorable and admirable. The Patriot Way Brick Walk, a joint effort involving the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Belton, serves as a lasting military memorial.
A patriot, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.” Aptly named, The Patriot Way Brick Walk allows individuals to purchase engraved bricks in honor of a service member.
Military working dog Arek, and his handler MSgt Hanisko were both recently honored with an engraved brick on The Patriot Way Brick Walk. Dogs, long considered man’s best friend, are used in a variety of ways during times of conflict. Arek, a military working dog, has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
Arek received the Combat Order of the Spur for his service in Iraq and retired in 2012. He passed away in 2014. Arek’s legacy lives on – forever memorialized with an engraved brick on The Patriot Way Brick Walk.
Dogs have served in a variety of roles in every major conflict. In the early part of World War II, the Quartermaster Corps started training dogs for the Army’s K-9 Corps – the first official recognition of military working dogs. The loyalty, responsiveness, and sense of responsibility that we appreciate in dogs as pets serve them well in the working realm. Military working dogs are often trained in bomb, weapon and drug detection, and tracking.