"She's just a hero": 8-yr-old erects lemonade stand to raise money for retired army veteran

Published: Aug. 24, 2014 at 2:45 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2014 at 2:48 AM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Nicholas Bailey served in the United States Army for over a decade.

He's been to Texas, Washington, Germany, along with two tours in Iraq.

He survived dual attacks from a rocket bomb, leaving him with PTSD and spinal injuries.

Yet the now-retired army veteran says his hero is an 8-year-old girl he's only met once.

Her name:  Rachel Mennett.

Their first meeting:  today.

"For me, it's just amazing that an 8-year-old girl would show any interest in me or my dog," Bailey said.

Because of post traumatic stress from his military service, Bailey finds it hard to go out in public alone, and also suffers with mobility issues.

After he, and wife Vanessa noticed a strong connection between Nicholas and their pet German Shepherd, rather than take a government-issued service dog, the couple decided to train their dog Abel.

"In the middle of the night when Nick is having a nightmare, he wakes Nick up by licking his hand," Vanessa said.

"It's like he could feel the pain coming from Nick."

The Bailey's were confident Abel was the right dog for the job, until an accident on a shopping trip set them back even more.

The couple says a box fell from a shelf, hitting Abel. Though visibly shaken, the two were confident he would bounce back.

He hasn't.

"We didn't notice a lot of the things a professional trainer notices, where he was actually hesitant, when he was going into stores."

Now, Nicholas and Vanessa are working to enroll him in a Myrtle Beach training school, Canine Angels, a program designed to help dogs like Abel overcome fear, also fine-tuning other skills needed to act as a complete service dog.

The cost of that training is nearly $6000.

Through a internet

page, the Bailey's have raised over $1000.

"I wanted to help him because my brother knew he needed help, and I wanted to do lemonade so I thought I could help him do it," said 8-year-old Rachel.

Saturday, Rachel set up shop in a Summerville pet store, serving up lemonade, cookies, and lots of smiles.

Her brother also helped with the sales, while the Bailey's two children managed a bake sale table nearby.

"Right when we walked in, we saw that we had $20 already," she said.

Many stopped just to donate, without ever taking their cup of lemonade.

"For me, it's just amazing that an 8-year-old girl would show any interest in me or my dog," said Nicholas Bailey.

"Nobody asked her if she wanted to do it, or told her that she needed to do it, she actually asked if she could do it."

"To me that's just amazing."

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