K9 Handler Jessie Keller Speaks to Students

K9 Handler Jessie Keller Speaks to Students

The Prescott Valley Tribune featured Vision of Vets in an article after the group hosted an assembly for two local schools. During the assembly, Vision of Vets presented a framed photograph of MWD Chrach and former handler, Tech. Sgt. Jessie Keller, U.S. Air Force.

K9 handler Jessie Keller speaks to students, shares military experiences
Originally Published: June 6, 2018 5:56 a.m.

Students got a special treat Thursday, May 17, when two trained military working dogs (MWD) visited their classrooms at Granville Elementary School and Glassford Hill Middle School. Middle School students especially were delighted to see Principal Melissa Tannehill playing the “bad guy” and taken down by MWDs Chrach (pronounced Crash) and Tessa.

The demonstration followed an assembly at which Vision of Vets, a local non-profit organization working to preserve veterans’ experiences, presented a framed photograph of MWD Chrach and its former handler, Tech. Sgt. Jessie Keller, U.S. Air Force. Keller and Chrach are featured in a short video where Keller talks about joining the Air Force, learning how to work with the K9 unit during her seven deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and about Chrach, who is trained to locate improvised explosive devices.

Also appearing at the assembly was Air Force Sgt. Kyle Quigg, Tessa’s handler. Chrach, now retired, lives with Kyle Alltop, former Air Force who currently works with the Prescott Police Department.

Granville teacher Lisa Pasalich said she has used videos and a new type of technology called augmented reality (AR) to teach history to her students. Keller and Chrach are the newest “stars” in her slate of veterans that have appeared in her classroom.

Pasalich shows students photographs of veterans taken by Vision of Vets portrait photographer Bruce Roscoe. Using a free app from Live Portraits, she points a smart phone at the veteran’s image and it magically turns into a video.

Keller’s 2.5-minute video explained how the challenges of being a female in the Air Force made her stronger, and how much she enjoys working with animals.

Vision of Vets also has created images and videos of Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, Sr., WWII veteran, who died a weeks ago on April 21; Peter B. Marshall, also WWII veteran who was taken captive by the Japanese in Guam and survived 1,368 days as a prisoner of war; Jerry Welna, WWII veteran who stormed the beaches at Normandy; as well as a true-life Rosie the Riveter, Fran Ellis, who, as a 17-year-old, helped build P-28s during WWII.

“Vision of Vets has already captured incredibly significant parts of history from important people who fought for our freedoms,” Pasalich, who also serves on the organization’s board, said. “It became painfully apparent how important it is to preserve history when Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, Sr., passed away a few weeks ago. We were blessed to have the opportunity to memorialize his legacy and preserve it for his family.”

When Keller spoke at both schools about her experiences as a female in a predominantly male military, students listened raptly, as well as teachers and staff like Granville’s head of maintenance, John Fulfer.

“I wish I had experienced an assembly like this when I was a child. It would have changed the direction of my life,” Fulfer told Pasalich afterward.

— Information submitted by Vision of Vets