MSgt (ret) Mike Arena is a Co-founder and the Executive Director of Healing Paws for Warriors (HP4Ws); providing executive management and service dogs at “no cost” to combat-injured veterans for the non-profit organization.
Mike served over 23 years as a medic in the United States Air Force. After numerous deployments, he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
After his diagnoses and subsequent retirement, he heard of a program that paired service dogs with veterans. Shortly after graduating from the program, he regained his smile and a new K9 partner, Orion. His past struggles with his injuries and his new "leash on life" as a result of his service dog were the genesis for Healing Paws for Warriors.
Mike and others in the community jointly established the local non-profit to help veterans battling their invisible wounds of war…PTSD, TBI, and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). He and the HP4Ws team are committed to providing hope and healing to veterans as they partner with rescue dogs to become a handler/K9 team; enabling military heroes to transition to civilian life with self-assurance and determination. In a way, Mike has come full circle—he continues serving military members, and is saving lives in a very different way.