Specially-trained dogs honor 9/11 heroes

Posted at 8:05 AM, May 22, 2018

They died heroes by rushing to help after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Now their actions and legacy are being preserved in a unique way. They are the namesakes of specially-trained dogs tasked with keeping us safe.

After six years working together, you'd think much of the work Roxanne Sherwin does with her explosive detection K-9 at the Transportation Security Administration is just going through the motions.

"This is all just a game for him," Sherwin says.

But there's one thing that always makes her pause; calling his name.

"Every time I call his name I think about the family and what he's doing," Sherwin says. "And that he's out here every day to make sure that that doesn't happen again."

Her K-9 Qquappe is named in honor of Lincoln Quappe, a first response firefighter in New York City who died in the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

"What did you think when you found out where his name came from?" Correspondent Kumasi Aaron asked Sherwin. "I had no idea that they had that program."

Qquappe is just one of hundreds of dogs that were named after 911 victims as a part of the TSA Puppy Program from 2002 to 2012. From the moment Sherwin found out, every scent, every sniff with Qquappe took on new meaning.

"It took a minute to digest that because that's a big responsibility," Sherwin says. "You're taking on someones namesake like that and you want to be the best that you can be so you can uphold it. To the honor that they did."

It meant even more when Sherwin met one of Lincoln Quappe's childhood friends, and sent pictures of Qquappe to his family.

"It hit home," Sherwin says. "It really hit's home with all the victims because it's not just a name that's there. You're actually talking to somebody that knew this person and grew up with them and knew all about them."

While Qquappe might not understand the significance of his name, Sherwin says he embodies the same desire to protect and serve as his namesake.

"He's such a people lover," Sherwin says. "He loves children. He loves his job."

And working alongside Qquappe, with everything he and his name represent, makes Sherwin love hers even more.

"Does it give you a sense of pride?" Correspondent Kumasi Aaron asked. "I wouldn't say pride," Sherwin replied. "But it's an honor. It's an absolute honor."