"Loss of a Friend."

Kenneth D Lichlider lg


In my life there have been very few people who have impressed me. Not with accolades or achievements but simply by who they were. There have been even less who I have trusted in every way.

I met Col. Sherm Mathey in the early 80’s. He was in the Army – I was in the Air Force. He was an officer – I was enlisted. He was a veterinarian – I was a military working dog handler/trainer. Not much in common but we were friends from the day we met. We didn’t agree on everything but we respected each other’s opinions. Stationed at Lackland AFB in Texas for 3-4 years, we solidified a friendship that would last several decades. Staying in touch, we saw each other rarely in the late 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s but every now and then I would go to Lackland and never failed to visit.

The Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts began, I was retired but due to the high demand for explosive dogs we were thrown back together. I’m now a civilian; he is now a civilian and working for the same office he worked for when we met.

We talked for several years about him working with us here at VLK. He would come here and be our vet, helping our efforts. It was an exciting time. Sadly, it never came to fruition.

In the past couple of years my good friend had misfortune after misfortune but he never let on; he never showed defeat. From cancer to the horrible wreck driving his beloved donkeys down a country road, he never gave up and never lost that positive attitude that I knew so well.

My friend lost his personal battle today with cancer. I, as well as all of us at VLK mourn our friend and mourn his loss. We talked less than a week ago. You could hear it in his voice but I was so glad to have my “Colonel” talk with him and I was able to tell him how much I and all of us here at VLK loved and respected him.

SemperFi Col. Mathey,

Lick and the VLK Gang