After serving as a Navy Corpsman in with the 2nd battalion 9th marines Marines Joel Rockey enlisted the help of JAMES PLUMMER AND DRE BANDOO, WHO he HAD served with in Iraq and Afghanistan, to help him on his next mission of building an organization that helps veterans continue service by serving animals .in 2016 they created vet friends foundation. the foundation focuses on senior dog rescue and placement with veterans while covering all costs of these animals for life as long as the veteran agrees to give them a last great home. the foundation has rescued and placed more than 130 senior dogs and has roughly 30 senior dogs currently living out their last days with a loving veteran family. Vet friends runs and operates out of Camp golden years which serves as a temporary base for senior shelter dogs to spend their days while looking for a final home.Currently the day to day is ran by the founder Joel Rockey and Operations Director Carrie Rickels.
Joel was born and raised in a small town just outside of Lansing, Michigan. He joined the Navy in 2007 and upon completing his Corpsman training, was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. In 2008, Joel was deployed as a combat medic to the Al Anbar Province, city of Ramadi in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with a group of snipers from the 2nd Battalion/9th Marines. After a brief trip state side, Joel was redeployed with his unit to to Marjah, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Joel was honorably discharged from service in 2011, having been awarded the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal among many other notable medals and ribbons. He spent time traveling and searching for his path after military life before founding Vet Friends Foundation in 2016. Vet Friends has contributed to the rescue of over 130 dogs, many finding their forever homes and some living out their days with hospice care provided by Joel. Currently, Joel lives at Marley's Mutts Rescue Ranch, where he Operates Camp Golden Years, a joint effort between the organizations to rescue senior dogs.
Carrie was raised in Bakersfield, a 1995 Graduate of Stockdale High School. She is currently an Accounting Admin for a small Oil Well Service Company and volunteers her time as the Operations Director for Vet Friends Foundation. She is a wife to a Kern County Sheriff Investigator and Navy veteran, Adam, and mother to a 9 year old cub scout named CJ. Carrie and Adam met Joel in June when they adopted a senior Labrador named Georgia from Vet Friends during the campaign to save 22 dogs in 22 days to raise awareness to Veteran Suicide. A friendship grew with Georgia's care and Carrie recognized Joel needed help with running the day to day operations so he could focus on the hands on care of the dogs and create awareness of the Vet Friends Mission. She officially joined the team in August and is working closely with Joel to streamline operations and grow the program.