A Lowcountry veteran who suffers from seizures and migraines after three tours of combat met Charlie, her new service dog, Thursday morning on the set of NBC’s “Today” show.
Stacy Pearsall, of Goose Creek, retired from the U.S. Air Force as a staff sergeant and aerial combat photojournalist. She served three tours of duty and earned a Bronze Star and an Air Force Commendation with Valor during the war in Iraq.
In the military, she traveled to more than 40 countries documenting service members and their stories.
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“My contribution was really to make sure that people understood that there are human beings in the uniforms. That they are not invincible. That they love each other,” she told “Today.”
Her convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in 2004. And three years, later her convoy was hit again, explained Matt Lauer, in a clip on the show.
Pearsall said she struggled with talking about her “invisible” injuries after returning home.
She founded Veterans Portrait Project in 2008 as “an extension of my service,” she said on the organization’s website. “My new mission is to share the unique stories of military veterans and honor their service in a unique, creative way.”
Pearsall has photographed about 6,000 veterans in 27 states, the website said.
On Thursday morning, Pearsall was wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with Charlie’s name in red when she met the black lab in person for the first time.
“I have no words,” she said through tears.
Charlie has been featured on “Today” over the last 16 months as he went through his training with America’s VetDogs. He even had his own Instagram account.
The charity organization trains dogs to help veterans, active-duty service members and first responders with disabilities. The wait for veterans to receive a service dog is about two years.
Lisa Wilson: 843-706-8103