Sunday, September 24, 2017

Double Amputee Vietnam Veteran Helps Others in War Zones

Vietnam veteran builds prosthetics in war zones
Charleston Gazette Mail
Douglas Imbrogno
September 22, 2017
“The majority of my patients — 90 percent of them — are war-related,” Evans said. “Land-mine victims or gunshot victims. Victims of conflict.” But at clinics and rehabilitation centers from El Salvador to Iraq, he and his technicians are not ones to turn anyone away.

Dave Evans often sees the youngest victims of the Syrian conflict in need of prosthetic limbs, like this young girl from a refugee camp who came to the clinic where the Cabin Creek native was working last year in Amman, Jordan.
Dave Evans’ life didn’t end the day he lost both his legs below the knees in Vietnam.

But the explosive booby trap the Cabin Creek native stepped on along a rice paddy dike on Dec. 4, 1970, would determine the course of his life to come.
Evans looks back at his experience as a soldier in the new Suzanne Higgins documentary, “Vietnam: West Virginians Remember,” which screens at 7 p.m. Sunday on West Virginia Public Broadcasting, in advance of an episode of the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary, “Vietnam.”
Evans is quoted quite piercingly in the documentary about what Vietnam meant to small-town West Virginia teens like him, shipped off to a place they could not have found on a map.
“When you send an 18-year-old kid to war, and they cross that bridge from peacetime into wartime, there’s no way they ever come back,” Evans said. “That bridge is burnt. You’ve changed forever.”
He looks back in the documentary to his life as a combat Marine, but the notable life that came after Vietnam for him is worth consideration, too.
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