Local veteran support organization keeps the legacy alive for fallen servicemember

A local veteran support organization is helping provide support for the men and women who have served and our serving our country.
Published: Aug. 20, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. (KCTV) - A local veteran support organization is helping provide support for the men and women who have served and are serving our country.

Today they were able to provide support for a Vietnam veteran while keeping the legacy alive of a fallen servicemember.

“The service dog is kind of like her shadow but it’s most definitely a best friend,” says Erica Stewart.

For years’ service dog Hattie was the best-friend of Erica Stewart’s sister, Brittany Taylor Stewart, a combat army nurse, who served two tours.

“It’s kind of amazing because Hattie and Brittany had very similar characteristics, where Hattie can lean on her and Brittany can lean on Hattie as well,” says Erica.

The group that partnered the two together and helped create the bond, Friends in Service of Heroes, better known as FISH.

The group helps veterans, active-duty military and their families in a number of ways including providing service dogs.

“We go fishing, that’s how we find our veterans, we go find them, they don’t find us,” says Paul Chapa, the Founder of FISH.

Sadly, that bond was broken in 2017 when Brittany passed away, but another bond was created as Hattie now stays with Brittany’s family.

Just like FISH helped find Brittany a best friend, they hit the road again in the KC Metro to do it again, for another veteran, this time Lou Eisenbrandt, a Vietnam veteran combat nurse. 

She was one of the 10,000 women who served in Vietnam and 7,000 of those were nurses like Lou.

“About six months ago we met Lou, and we decided that Lou needed a service dog, and it turned out we were right,” says Chapa.

The story of Brittany, Lou and Hattie comes full circle, as Lou’s new partner is named Britt, in honor of Brittany Taylor Stewart.

“There really are no words, the way they continue to honor my sister and her memory in just the most valiant ways, in having a dog named after her and presenting her to another combat nurse, is everything my sister would want,” says Erica.

FISH officials say every month at Post 370 in Overland Park, they have a speaker series, which they encourage people to come out and provide support for their organization