I am a disabled war veteran that helps homeless war veterans by educating people with my traveling museum and selling hand made crafts.
A little about my service, when I graduated from Tulare high school I realized I should have paid more attention in school. At the time the job market was really bad so I decided to join the army. I was trained as a heavy equipment operator and was sent to Vietnam in 1968 at that time I was converted to a combat Engr.
After a year and a half, I came home on a 30-day leave however when I came back I was not greeted with the warm welcome I was expecting. When we landed in Oakland everyone on the plane was attacked by rocks and bottles as we walked off. A lot of the Veterans were taken to the hospital for cuts but this was just the beginning of the backlash we Veterans received returning from the war. During my leave some of us from CA took a bus home, we stopped in Fresno California for lunch and four of us veterans were beaten up by police just because we were in the military. In the states, it was so different and many Vets were treated very poorly. When I arrived home, I was uncomfortable the whole time knowing that I was hated by the mass majority so I went back to Vietnam where I felt much safer. Out of my 30-day leave, I only spent five days in the states because of all the disrespect I received being home. When I got back to my unit they were asking for someone with patrol and demolition experience so I volunteered to experience a new world of possibilities. After about a week I came back to my unit and another infantry unit needed me. I decided I enjoyed it and wanted to be reenlisted to be able to stay in Vietnam. Each year I was allowed to go back to the US for 30 days, I went all over the free world but never went back to America until 1972. When I finally returned to America we landed in Oakland again and were attacked it was a repeat of what I went through five years ago, nothing had changed the way the public treated Veterans. Thinking back this may be why there are so many homeless Vets who fear being around the people whom they fought for and that treat them with disrespect.
When I left Vietnam for the last time it was said that I was one of the longest Combat Veterans to have served. It was an honor to serve this country and I started this traveling museum to share my story. Supporting homeless Veterans has been a passion of mine and I have been doing craft shows to feed our homeless for about 15 years now. I feel that I came very close to becoming a homeless Veteran myself this is why I strongly believe in supporting my fellow Veterans.
I have started a Veterans Day on Facebook that encourages people to buy a homeless person a meal, this is a small contribution yet it means the world to that person. Please try it for us, just this small gesture shows our appreciation for the sacrifices homeless Veterans have made for our country.
To all my fellow Veterans of all wars thank you for your service and sacrifice.