Pen Farthing had his life mapped out: When he finished his 20th year of service as a Royal Marine Commando, he would follow his passion to teach rock climbing and start a new career as a mountain guide.
But a battered, dock-eared dog that followed Farthing home after he rescued it from a fighting ring during his tour of duty in Now Zad, Afghanistan, sent Farthing on a different path. Inspired by that dog that he called “Nowzad,” Farthing founded Nowzad Dogs, a nonprofit organization that reunites soldiers with stray dogs and cats they adopted during combat.
Farthing will be the guest speaker at the 6th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 13, at The McKinley at Huron Campus, Endicott. Hosted by the American Red Cross Southern Tier Chapter, the Real Heroes Breakfast celebrates the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering by recognizing residents from Broome, Chenango and Tioga counties who in the past year performed heroic acts in life-threatening situations.
Farthing’s Nowzad Dogs is the only official animal rescue operation in Afghanistan managed by Afghan nationals, and the team is focused on implementing a humane trap/neuter program to control the stray population and eradicate rabies – a disease that can have fatal consequences for the Afghan population.
Nowzad Dogs has reunited more than 700 soldiers with the dogs or cats they adopted on the front lines of Afghanistan. Nowzad Dogs’ motto is “Leave no four-legged buddy behind.”
In 2014, Farthing received the CNN Hero of the Year Award for his work with Nowzad Dogs. “There is no stronger bond between man and dog than that formed during war,” Farthing said at the 2014 tribute show that aired on CNN’s global networks.
For the story and video from CNN, click here.
For more information about Farthing and Nowzad Dogs, click here.
While he’s in the Binghamton area, Farthing will host a book signing from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 2443 Vestal Parkway East, Vestal. Farthing will sell and sign his latest book, “Wylie” (The brave street dog who never gave up), and his two other books: “One Dog at a Time” (Saving the Strays of Afghanistan); and “No Place like Home” (A New Life with My Rescue Dogs from Afghanistan).
The 2015 Real Heroes Breakfast will honor residents in 12 award categories: Adult Good Samaritan, Animal Rescue, Blood Donor, Education, Fire Rescue, Good Neighbor, Law Enforcement, Lifeline/9-1-1, Medical, Military, Workplace Safety and Youth Good Samaritan.
Proceeds from the Real Heroes Breakfast support Red Cross lifesaving services such as disaster response, preparedness education, and service to members of our Armed Forces.
To purchase tickets to the 2015 Real Heroes Breakfast, call the American Red Cross Southern Tier Chapter at (607) 785-7207.
Auchinachie Services and Greater Binghamton Airport are 2015 Real Heroes Breakfast pre-event sponsors. Award sponsors are: Ad Elements, Auchinachie Services, BAE Systems, Fox 40 WICZ, IBM, iHeart Media, Lockheed Martin MST, NBT Bank, New York Central Mutual Insurance, Press & Sun Bulletin, Security Mutual Life, Tioga Downs Casino, Visions Federal Credit Union, and WSKG TV.
Additional Sponsors of the 2015 Real Heroes Breakfast are: Columbian Financial Group, Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLC, M&T Bank, NYSEG, Ophthalmic Associates of the Southern Tier, Raymond Corporation, Rockwell Collins, and Southern Tier Harley Davidson.