CNN’s 2014 Hero of the Year goes to Pen Farthing, a man that goes above the call of duty to reunite Afghan soldiers with stray dogs befriended overseas.
Farthing’s nonprofit organization Nowzad Dogs is the only one in the country of Afghanistan, making it quite a busy endeavor.
Since its launch Nowzad Dogs has helped connect almost 700 soldiers with cats and dogs they met and grew attached to while serving in the military. The organization is also responsible for spaying, neutering and vaccinating the street dogs that roam the neighborhoods.
The story behind Nowzad Dogs is similar to what other soldiers have faced and saw during their tours. In 2006, Farthing, then a Royal Marine, broke up a dog fight and went on his way – not thinking much of the incident. It wasn’t until he realized one of the dogs had followed him back to his camp.
“As the troop sergeant, I was there to motivate the guys and get them fired up again to go out and do the job. … But no one was doing that for me,” Farthing told CNN earlier this year. “My time with this dog was a way of de-stressing, collecting my thoughts and popping my head back in the game.”
After he was down with his tour, Farthing didn’t want to leave the dog but getting back to Britain was no easy feat. He soon realized this issue was not an isolated one and decided to help other soldiers reunite with their furry friends. In 2007, Nowzad Dogs was born.
Farthing will be rewarded $100,000 for his act of kindness as well as an additional $25,000 for just making it in the top 10.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Nowzad