Posted at: 10/08/2013 5:43 PM
Updated at: 10/08/2013 5:55 PM
By: Mark Mulholland
QUEENSBURY - Ben Osborn was 27 years old when he was killed in action in Afghanistan.
The bright-eyed one-time Lake George High School football standout was described as a "soldier's soldier."
Family and an entire community grieved the man whose best friends called "Ozzy."
Three years after his passing, it was another Ozzy bringing Ben Osborn's family and friends back together.
NewsChannel 13 was there as the Osborns met for the first time the new K-9 deputy named in their son's memory.
"Oh, you're impressive," said Bill Osborn, Ben's father, to the dog.
Ozzy, is a 14-month old purebred German Shepard. He'll graduate next month to full-fledged deputy. And he'll be given badge number 40, the same jersey number Osborn wore while becoming Lake George's all-time leading tackler.
"It's just wonderful," said Bev Osborn, Ben's mother. "Ben would absolutely love it. Just love it."
"Just thrilled," Bill said. "I think it's such a fitting tribute to both man and animal."
Naming the new K-9 was the idea of Sgt. Tony Breen.
"And when Tony mentioned that idea it went right to the top. I said that's it, let's do it," said Sheriff Bud York. "I think it's a great tribute to someone serving our country, giving his life for our country. I thought it was perfect."
What makes this tribute even more fitting is that Ben wanted to one day be a cop. And his favorite dog is a German Shepard.
Family couldn't help notice a little of Ben in Ozzy.
"It's the sparkle in the eye," said Jeff Osborn, Ben's brother. "Ben had a unique personality, unique sparkle in the eye and it made people want to be around him and I see Ozzy as no different."
Ozzy is the responsibility of Patrol Officer Jeremy Coon, who wishes he'd had the opportunity to meet the man his partner is named after.
"It's a true honor to have a partner that's memorialized after a great person," said Coon.
This is the second such honor for Ben Osborn. The North Queensbury Fire Company dedicated a fire truck in his honor. His family founded a charity in his name that helps children in need. More at: http://www.benosbornfund.org/