UPDATE: Mina will get the formal military burial he deserves

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The story of June Etlinger and her mission to have military working dog Mina receive a proper soldier’s burial caught the attention of a lot of people last week. Oakland County’s director of public services Mike Zehnder was one of those people and he wanted to make sure Mina would get the formal military burial the black lab deserves.

Etlinger’s son, Corey McCourt, was Mina’s handler for three tours of duty. Mina in total served nine tours. When Mina was honorably discharged from the army he went to live out his retirement with McCourt’s family. Mina passed away recently and Etlinger thought it was only fitting that he receive a soldier’s burial. However, when she made the request to Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan she was told that canine burials were not permitted.

Zehnder was reading the paper Saturday morning when Mina’s story caught his attention. “Anything to do with veterans or dogs usually piques my interest,” said Zehnder. “The dog was a veteran and I’m a veteran. We should honor our vets as they should be honored.” Zehnder decided to do something about the situation and called Etlinger.

Zehnder offered to fund portions of Mina’s burial and to make sure Mina received the honors he earned. Etlinger returned his phone call in tears. On Tuesday a county truck with a uniformed officer picked up Mina’s body and the remains were cremated with an American flag. Zehnder is covering the costs. A burial with military service will take place at the War Dog Memorial Cemetery in South Lyon when McCourt returns home this spring. Zehnder will be paying for Mina’s headstone.

Etlinger is honored by the media coverage and the support they have received. In a statement she read from the McCourt family she said that the McCourts “would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone working very hard to get Mina the honor that he deserves.”

2 thoughts on “UPDATE: Mina will get the formal military burial he deserves”

  1. Wow. This brings on the tears. God Bless Mr. Zehnder for stepping up for this hero and his family.

    Glad he’s going to be buried with other war heros too.

  2. These animals should be treated with dignity and respect for all of the lives they saved and protected of their fellow service men and women on the field of battle. Many of them give their very lives right then and there as IED’s explode killing them instead of their human counter-parts; many are killed flushing out enemy combatants or terrorist with explosive devices strapped to their bodies. If these selfless K9 warriors are fortunate enough to retire, they deserve lifetime medical and commissary privileges as well, as they are in effect retiring from a lifetime of service to our Country. I would be honored to have one of these wonderful soldiers in my home.


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