It is with deep sorrow that we share the news of the untimely death of one of our recent graduates, Gilbert Samuel Webb III (“Sam”).  Sam received his SD Doug from our training program in July 2017.  He passed peacefully in his sleep on Friday, Feb. 2nd.

His widow, Brenda, has shared the following:

Gilbert Samuel Webb, III of Shawnee, KS passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 2nd 2018. Sam was born August 25th 1960 in Mount Ayr, Iowa to Gilbert and Norma (Baker) Webb. He was married to Brenda Hargenrader on June 6th, 1981 in Adel, IA and they moved to Cedar Falls, IA in June of 1982 where he began his career as a paramedic with Sartori Hospital.  In late 1980’s he started his career with Waterloo Fire and Rescue until his retirement in 2005.  During his time as a firefighter, Sam also felt called to ministry and pursued a career as a pastor for multiple churches in the Cedar Valley and New Hampton, IA, as well as Prescott, AZ and Urbandale, IA. Outside of work, Sam enjoyed to travel with his family. He blessed them with too many baseball games to count, trips to Canada, and even the Olympics in 1996.

Sam loved life, and was a real role model for all of the students in our program.  He reached out to his student trainer and her family, and treated them as if they were his own family.  After graduation they stayed in touch, and communicated regularly.  She was so touched by his kindness and the impact he had on her life that she wrote a tribute for him, and it is with great pride we share this.

To start with, there are not enough words to describe how unforgettably grateful I am to have known Sam. As I am thinking about what I am going to say, I am in tears as I cannot seem to find the right way to express my gratefulness to Sam because in every way possible he has blessed me. Whether that be by supporting me with Doug’s training or supporting me in my personal life. As I am thinking about the times we spoke together I cannot remember one time when Sam was unhappy. He was always so positive and showed me how much he loved others and loved God. He taught me so many things about my relationship with God and how God not only has changed his life but how he has, can, and will change mine. I can remember him coming with me to my church to see how Doug reacts in that setting and instantly I could see how much he cared about me and my family as he offered to go out of his way to learn not only about Doug but about my family, and I can remember the day of graduation when Sam gave me one of the best gift someone could ever give. He presented me with a story book of Doug’s journey, titled “Hello, My Name is Doug. A Service Dog Tale” this book touched my heart so very much as it reminded me of all of things I did with both Doug and Sam, and it showed me how much of a compassionate, caring, and loving man he was, and even though that day I gifted him one of the best friends I could’ve ever have. I knew Doug was going to such an amazing loving and caring man that would love him even more than I did. Even after graduation he still stayed in contact with me and asked me how I was doing and helped me so much even though he was thousands of miles away. I wish I could say so much more about how grateful I am to Sam as he touched my life and how I wish I could have known him longer, but I know he is now in an amazing place with our Lord and with all of my heart I want to offer my condolences to his family and friends.

Rest in peace, dear friend.  Our condolences go out to Brenda and their entire family for their tragic loss.