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WWII Vet Training Service Dogs For Wounded Warriors Gets Surge of Support

Since Irwin Stovroff was profiled a week ago on FOXNews.com, the decorated WWII veteran has received thousands of positive letters for his non-profit organization, Vets Helping Heroes, which provides service and therapy dogs to wounded veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It is unbelievable," Stovroff said about the growing mountain of support that also include thousands of hits on his Web site, numerous phone calls and — most significantly — tens of thousands of dollars in donations for his cause.

"I just can't believe it. It has been overwhelming," he said of the generous response he's received.

As of December 31, 2008, over 45,000 troops have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of operations there. Many of them return with life-altering wounds, lost limbs, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Stovroff says his guide and service dogs help the injured soldiers, not just in a functional way, but therapeutically. "They need a guide (but) they need the help and love of a dog as well," he told FOX News.

Stovroff provides some of these veterans with invaluable guide and service dogs, but each one these helpful animals can cost up to $50,000 to train. Vets for Heroes says the cost is always worth it.

"They love knowing, seeing that smile on your face. They love that and that's what these dogs live for," said Joseph Worley, who sustained severe injuries in Iraq from a roadside bomb.

"I am always dropping things out of my wheelchair and he hands them to me when I drop them," Worley, a Georgia native, said about his golden retriever, Benjamin.

Stovroff has raised nearly $2 million dollars to help train and match up service canines with wounded combat vets, but the federal government does not currently provide funds for fund training and assigning these dogs

That's why Stovroff, who was shot down during a bombing run over France, has been working so hard to push lawmakers and raise money to train these dogs that can do so much for the wounded veterans he calls heroes.

"I get choked up," Stovroff said in an interview, his voice cracking, but not wavering, "It's very emotional, but I'm not doing this just alone, but those that are helping me feel exactly the same way."

For more information on Irwin Stovroff and his group, Vets for Heroes, visit their Web site at VetsHelpingHeroes.com.