By Chris Edwards
HILLISTER – To local residents and those in the area who enjoy good times and good tunes, Daryl Morris, a.k.a “Harry Cheaks” is a familiar sight – and so is his ever-present canine companion Bear.
Morris, a local musician, DJ and music producer is also a combat veteran who received the service dog two years ago through a program called the Wins for Warriors Foundation. However, for about a month, Bear has been missing, and Morris fears someone stole him. “I’ve been looking for him, hoping he’d come back around and he hasn’t come back,” he said.
Morris’s service dog is more than just a best friend to him, Bear has also helped him overcome PTSD-associated issues and get out of his house to engage in his calling: entertaining folks as a musician and DJ. Morris said Bear was last seen on county road 4455 in Hillister, possibly at FM 1013, which crosses the road.
Morris added that Bear, being a service dog, is extremely intelligent and friendly, and answers to verbal commands. He is a Labrador mix, mostly black with white paws.
Morris said he has not filed a police report yet, but is encouraging anyone who might have seen Bear, or knows something of his whereabouts, to call him at 323-592-5242, or they can call the Tyler County Booster at 409-283-2516 or Woodville Police Department at 409-283-5262.
When Morris, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, looked into getting a service dog, he was placed with Bear not long after contacting the organization, which was founded by the Astros’ Justin Verlander.
In a profile published in the March 28, 2019 edition of the Booster, soon after he returned from training with Bear, Morris said having the dog at his side has been a welcome comfort and he wanted to let fellow veterans who might be struggling know that programs such as Wins for Warriors are out to help them.
According to information on the Department of Veterans Affairs website, PTSD is a common factor in veterans who have been exposed to life-threatening experiences.
The website states that about 11-20 out of every 100 veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom are diagnosed with the condition in a given year. The Mayo Clinic defines a state of immobilization or being “stuck” as PTSD; when one’s nervous system is unable to return to its normal state of balance following danger or traumatic situations.
According to Wins for Warriors, the organization depends on community support, funding and help from businesses and individuals to support its goals of an impactful and sustainable veterans’ organization.