Hometown Hero: Don Mega

ONA, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An army veteran has dedicated a big portion of his retirement to providing companionship to 4-legged friends waiting to find a permanent home.

Health problems are forcing that veteran to call it quits on a routine he's stuck to faithfully for more than a decade.

Don Mega is a lifelong animal lover.

"Any time there's a movie with a dog in it, I'll watch it," he said.

After retiring as a counselor in 2003, the veteran who served in Korea spent many hours at Little Victories Animal Rescue in Ona.

"If I could, I would put a kennel around my yard, and I'd take them all home with me," he said.

Don would make the drive from Barboursville every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and give the dogs treats he bought himself and attention.

"It's really comforting for the dogs to see a familiar face over and over and over," Little Victories site supervisor Joshua Morrison said.

"From the time he was a little kid, he's always loved animals," Don's wife Lynn Mega said. "At one time in his life, he had to leave a dog behind, and he's never gotten over it, and he's never let it happen again."

"It's been a symbiotic relationship," Don said.

After developing Parkinson's disease, Don has to give up the routine he's been so faithful to and no longer visit his furry friends nearly as often.

"He was coming three days a week," Morrison said. "It doesn't matter how bad it rained, how much it snowed, how cold it was, Don was always here."

Shelter workers wanted to express how much he'll be missed and how much his loyal service has meant to them and the animals.

The Hometown Hero wanted to use his airtime to encourage others to help out the canines he's bidding farewell to.

"Bring donations, bring donations, bring donations," Don said. "Adopt, adopt, adopt."

Naturally he wanted to use his moment of recognition to try to make a difference in the dogs lives one more time.