Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. --
Family support is key for Airmen resiliency. Malmstrom family spotlight is a feature published about unique and diverse family members of U.S. Air Force active duty members assigned here.
This spotlight features Ruby, a certified medical service dog supporting Tech. Sgt. Christopher D'Angelo, 490th Missile Squadron, missile alert facility manager.
“We ended up getting Ruby because she is hypoallergenic and both my wife and daughter are allergic to dogs. We paid out of pocket for her, but thanks to Jean Irvin and the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, we were reimbursed by an AFW2 at Barksdale Air Force Base that gave us a check by Gen. Rand and the organization.”
Gen. Robin Rand is Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command and Commander, Air Forces Strategic - Air, U.S. Strategic Command Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Irvin works for the local AFW2 as a recovery care coordinator at Malmstrom.
“Ruby was trained especially for my needs,” D’Angelo said. “She was born in Idaho and received her 16-month training outside of San Antonio, Texas.”
“She and I have a bond like no other,” D’Angelo said. “Words are hard to describe it. She's my curly haired angel.” Ruby is not just beloved by the D’Angelo family; she is also loved by many on the base.
In the text below she answers questions about life in a Malmstrom military family as she told it to D’Angelo in the secret language of a man and his dog.
What is the best thing about being part of a military family?
The best part of being in a military family is that I am part of something very special. Being able to help Chris when things get “ruff” for him is a big part of my life in my military family.
I am also a part of the 490th MS family which is an honor. I get lots of love wearing my Air Force vest walking the halls of the Wing Headquarters Building.
What is your favorite thing to do in Great Falls or Montana?
I enjoy going to the parks and running around, playing in the snow and just being a dog. I also enjoy going on rides in the truck and going to the mall or the grocery store.
But I have to say going to see my mom, Chanda D'Angelo, is the best part of my day. I get super crazy when I go through the doors of her work and see her. She is the highlight of my day every day, and when I see her, I just love to give her hugs and kisses and press up against her and try to knock her down.
Tell the community a special story about yourself, about your achievements or what you love to do.
In September 2017, at 8 weeks old, I flew from Idaho to Texas to be specially trained for Chris. Chris has severe traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, and I am able to help in in his times of need. When I met Chris for the first time, we hit it off right away.
A proud moment would be the first time I was able to wake Chris up before he had a terrible nightmare, and he was able to get a great night's sleep for the first time in a long time.
What are you personally looking forward to?
Chris and I are looking forward to the future of his healing. I am helping more and more every day and hope that one day I will retire and be a regular dog that lays by the couch, sleeps all day, goes on long walks and eats lots of treats.
(Malmstrom family spotlight can be found regularly on the base website at http://malmstrom.af.mil. If you are a family member [parent; spouse; partner; child in middle school, high school or college; companion animal or other] and wish to be featured, or if you wish to nominate someone with their permission, please call 341st MW Public Affairs at 731-4050.)