CONCORD (WBZ) ― A veteran left paralyzed by a gunshot wound in Afghanistan is getting some much-needed help now that he's back home, and it has a lot to do with a prisoner at the correctional center in Concord.
Two-year-old Antoine has a nose for old friends, like prison inmate Ed Chapman. He trained Antoine to be a service dog for Cpl. Tyler Wilson - a veteran wounded in Afghanistan.
Chapman is like a proud father. "He's everything that I hoped he'd be," Chapman said with tears in his eyes.
Antoine is one of many dogs trained by inmates. It's a program called NEADS that was started in Massachusetts. So far, 90 have graduated and have gone on to help the disabled.
"It's just a win-win situation for everybody," said Sheila O'Brien of NEADS. "I mean, NEADS wins, because we get to place more dogs with disabled people. The inmates win, because they learn how to nurture. They learn how to give back."
"His personality alone is enough to change anyone's life," said Cpl. Wilson about his new companion.
Not only has Antoine improved the life of Cpl. Wilson, but Antoine has changed Edward Chapman forever. "Because of him… He taught me to be a better father and a better person… I'm thankful for him. I am."
One of the advantages of inmates training the dogs in prison is how quick the canines are trained. Before inmates became part of the NEADS program, there was a four year waiting list for a dog. That has been cut down to three months.