Sergeant First Class Luciano Yulfo gave 36 years of his life to the United States Army. In 2014 his left leg was shattered by a mortar round while he was serving in Afghanistan.
The heroic veteran spent the past 18 months on a waiting list for a service dog. Thanks to his daughter, the New York Knicks, and the nonprofit organization, Paws of War, his wait has finally come to an end.
A program called Hoops for Troops honors local veterans during select NY Knicks home games. On Wednesday, November 9th, it was Sergeant Yulfo’s turn to be recognized.
His daughter and full-time caregiver, Sonia, joined him at half court as Knicks legend, Larry Johnson, presented him with an official jersey. But the Sergeant had no idea that his evening was far from over.
The look on his face is priceless as a representative from Paws of War leads his new service dog out onto the court to meet him! Murphy the Golden Retriever has been trained to help Yulfo with his physical limitations and PTSD.
Watch as the Sergeant drops to his knees and greets his new best friend for the very first time!
Sgt. Yulfo is dependent on a cane as a result of his war wound and may eventually require amputation. Murphy will be there to help him with everyday tasks, pick up his cane should he drop it, and sooth him when he feels anxious.
Sonia Yulfo had been secretly working with the Knicks and Paws of War to ensure that the surprise went off without a hitch – quite a feat for a girl who admittedly “tells her father everything!”
The hero himself expressed his gratitude to everyone involved for helping him regain a piece of his independence.
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