Sunday, December 1, 2013

VFW find home for Vietnam veteran suffering from Agent Orange

Group finds home for sick Vietnam vet
Published: December 1, 2013

There's a lot of love and Christmas spirit inside a 12-foot-wide by 70-foot-long home in White Haven.

It was vacant for three years but soon will house an honorable guest - a Vietnam veteran who has been practically homeless, living out of a Carbon County motel room for about two years.

The man unselfishly gave of himself many times, never asking for anything in return, but fell on hard times and suffers from medical problems associated with the herbicide Agent Orange, said John Kearns, a veteran service officer in White Haven.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides on trees and vegetation during the Vietnam War. Several decades later, concerns about the health effects from these chemicals persist.

Kearns said the man, who will remain anonymous, thought people forgot about him and became depressed, but once his story circulated in the small town of White Haven, multiple veterans, some longtime friends and even strangers came to his aid.

He is in hospital care now, but once he is discharged he will find a pleasant, big surprise waiting for him by the time Christmas arrives.

Not only will he be given a permanent home so a visiting nurse can tend to him after his hospital stay is complete, but a fundraiser in his honor will be held Dec. 13 at the White Haven Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6615 to help defray his living expenses and the costs to remodel his new home.

Called the "Hometown Hero Project," members of the group consider themselves on a mission to prepare the home for the veteran by Dec. 15.

Bob Drury of the White Haven VFW said a group of volunteers raising money for homeless veterans in the area over Veterans Day weekend sprang into action when they heard of the man's struggles.
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