Now 66, Kwasniewksi lobbies for veterans issues. His latest project is about job placement, school security and giving returning soldiers a sense of purpose.
“You cannot turn off the key on a soldier,” Kwasniewski explains. “Like me, they need a sense of purpose, they need to go to work.”
Paul’s idea is to allow veterans to work in schools—in a dual role. When placed with a highly trained dog, the veteran acts as a security guard, patrolling the hallways and keeping watch over students. The veteran also serves as a morale officer, becoming a comforting, familiar face for the kids.
“There are 22 million veterans out there and I think this is a home run,” Paul said.
After the shooting at Sandy Hook, elected leaders in 27 Connecticut towns began exploring options for improving school security. In Enfield and Branford armed guards have been hired—albeit amid controversy and public concern.
In August, Gov. Dan Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Panel received a report that made recommendations for school safety. The panel was advised guards could be a deterrent to violence, but in a school setting they should not be armed, just highly trained.
Kwasniewksi says he knows many veterans who would jump at a chance to do this kind of job.
Tim Yuhas served in the Air Force and was stationed in Europe. He says his experience taught him discipline and respect. “Children would appreciate a veteran with a dog more than a police officer with a gun,” Yuhas said.
In order for this concept to take off, local school boards and towns need to discuss if hiring vets for school jobs is a good fit, and then the districts need to find money in the budget to make it happen.
Check out Kwasniewksi's Facebook page here.