This is a big one, my 75th birthday. As I look over the years, I am thankful for the “miracles” that changed my life in so many ways. I have been blessed with a great family and childhood, blessed to survive Vietnam, and blessed to spend my life helping other veterans return to society. It hasn’t always been easy, especially after I left the VA and started my own national information and crisis hotline. As many of you know, I may have not survived if my close friend, the late Keith Knudson of the Doobie Brothers, had not kicked off the NVF by their reunion concert in 1987. There have been many ups and downs but as I count my blessings, I know that during the most difficult times, it was often my friends and family and caring people like them who were my best support.
One never knows from where miracles will come. In the late 90s, a very close personal friend was asked by a client about charities for her legacy. He mentioned the NVF. “Do they work with WWII veterans?” Yes, he said. “What do they do?” And he told her this story I’d shared with him:
Christmas Eve, 1999. As I was leaving my office the phone rang. A blind, disabled WWII vet, caring for his wife who had late-stage Alzheimer’s, was housebound and needed food. I called a local American Legion in his area and relayed his story. We’ll be right over, the Adjutant said. Not only did they deliver food, but the next day a volunteer arrived to take the veteran to enroll in VA benefits, allowing him to now care for himself and his wife. The vet had never been to the VA, never accessed his VA benefits. All that changed. We got it taken care of, the Adjutant reported.
When my friend’s client heard the story, she made her bequest to the NVF. And that ultimately allowed me to continue the mission and change many more lives. At this time of reflection on my 75th, I’m looking for another angel. If you think you might know one, here’s a link to our legacy page: https://nvf.org/legacy-planned-giving/.
Thank you so much for being in my life. Pax Mentis.