Zack Umstott was in 3rd grade on September 11th, 2001. When his parents sat him down to explain the horrible acts of that day, he looked them in the eyes and told them, “When I’m old enough and finish school, I’m going to join the Army to fight for those people who died.” In 2011, upon graduating high school, Zack kept that promise. He began boot camp at Fort Benning in Georgia before going to A.I.T at Fort Polk in Louisiana. Zack was deployed to Afghanistan for a 9 month tour. A run-in with an I.E.D. threw him from a Hummer and caused serious injuries to his back. Returning from the 9 month tour, Zack returned to Fort Polk and began experiencing panic attacks and other symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was diagnosed with PTSD and was Honorably Retired from the Army in 2014.Zack and his wife Jordan, who he met during his last year in the Army, moved back to his hometown of Coshocton, Ohio with their 1 year old son. Things got worse with increasing night terrors and panic attacks, sometimes lasting as long as eight hours.
Zack’s father Ed Muffley began looking into options for PTSD and came across programs that use service dogs to calm a person living with PTSD. These dogs are trained to provide comfort when they sense an attack coming, placing their head on the lap. In addition, a dog would be trained to go into rooms ahead of Zack and turn on lights, combating his fear of entering dark rooms alone.
Zack’s story recently came to the attention of Brady Quinn who arranged for a service dog to be provided. Veterans like Zack have given so much to fight for our country and our freedoms. Wounds like his are invisible to most of the world, but they deserve just as much attention and care as physical injuries. 3rd and Goal is extremely proud to be able to help Zack get his life back.