DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Private First Class, Katie Soenksen was getting close to returning home to Davenport after serving in the U.S. Army, but in 2007, during a security mission in Baghdad, she was killed at just 19 years old.
Soeknsen is being honored by the Warrior Canine Connection in Maryland, which trains service dogs for veterans. They’ve recognized many fallen soldiers for their service and now they’re naming one of their dogs in training after her.
The organization said just because Soeknsen is no longer with us, they hope this little Labrador will keep her memory alive and that’s what Soenksen’s family is hoping too.
After eight years without her sister, Sarah Goodin says hearing from Warrior Canine Connection was quite the surprise.
“That was pretty neat to get a phone call about that,” Goodin said. “I’m a dog lover, my sister was a dog lover and to have somebody want to name a puppy, especially a puppy that’s going to help a veteran or a wounded soldier, someone with PTSD, that is awesome.”
Warrior Canine Connection said in a statement that this is what they’re all about, to honor and serve our nation’s troops.
“With respect to our fallen heroes like Katie Soenksen, we believe that a warrior is not dead while their name is still spoken. Over the next two years, WCC’s Katie will honor her namesake as she touches the lives of countless wounded Warriors as she trains to become a service dog for a Veteran with disabilities,” Warrior Canine Connection said.
“We just think it’s really cool and we hope that the puppy helps the person that she goes to,” Goodin added.
Goodin said her sister wanted to work with military service dogs and was always willing to help others, and now, through Katie the dog, it’s almost like she’ll still be doing that.
“It’s important to us to remember her and its real special to us to find that other people are trying to remember her as well,” Goodin said.