The U.S. Postal Service unveiled four stamps in Omaha on Thursday that honor military working dogs.
The unveiling was held at the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show at the CHI Health Center.
Jim Scheu drove down from Minneapolis to attend Thursday’s ceremony, and he hasn’t collected stamps in decades.
“I came for the military working dogs,” he said.
Scheu spent two years in the military, as a sentry dog handler in South Korea. He said his bond with the two dogs he handled was “as close as you can get.”
“They didn’t chew me up,” Scheu said with a chuckle. “They were trained to attack without command, and so it really tells you something, how loyal and dedicated and close you were to have a dog with that temperament and capability.”
The stamps presented Thursday will come in a 20-stamp book, with each block of four stamps depicting a German shepherd, a Labrador retriever, a Dutch shepherd and a Belgian Malinois.
David C. Williams, the vice chairman of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, was at the ceremony and was joined by U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and others.
Greg Breeding, art director for the Postal Service, designed the stamps and DKNG Studios created the artwork.
Morty, a German shepherd, was at the event with his handler, Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Radey.
Morty has been a service dog for four years, but he has worked with Radey for only the past month, since Radey was transferred to Offutt Air Force Base from Wyoming.
“We’re both still trying to learn each other, our mannerisms, but it’s going real well,” Radey said.
Radey joined the military in 2008 with the intent of becoming a service dog handler and applied three different times for the job in his first five years of service.
He was denied all three times, but reapplied in 2018 and was approved.
He said the new job has been a “fire hose” of information, but dog handling is a craft he has wanted to master for more than a decade.
“I think a lot of people think that we just pick up a leash and go, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Radey said.
Scheu said recognition for the dogs was long overdue.
“They’re getting a recognition they deserve,” Scheu said. “Because they are soldiers, airmen, sailors, just like our human servicemen and women.”
This report includes material from the Associated Press .