What Would You Do?

June 26th, 2014

What Would You Do?

This story really struck me because my husband was a Vietnam Veteran & as a result he knew quite a few homeless veterans…  I know what I would do…  What you would you do?

This last Memorial Day made me remember one of those veterans that my husband knew…  Pete was a former volunteer fireman from somewhere in New Jersey…  Vietnam cost him his marriage, his home & his kids…  Pete was an alcoholic & homeless by choice because living on the street there were no rules that he couldn’t avoid…  He was of slight build so was perfectly suited to be what was called a “tunnel rat” in Vietnam…  His job was to enter the tunnels where the Viet Cong hid & work his way through them by any means available…  This was not a pretty job…  I’m certain that the memories of this job are what drove him to drink…

Pete was one of the nicest vets that my Billy knew & I was always happy to see him…  Even when he was drinking he always treated me with respect…  Pete was always made to feel welcome in our little one bedroom duplex & had an open invite to come over for dinner any time…  He didn’t do that often because he would never want to be considered a burden…  Billy & I didn’t have much, but would share what we could & it was always appreciated…  It was good to see the two veterans talking about their problems & our having two dogs didn’t hurt…  I’m a true believer in the fact that dogs have great healing abilities because I saw what effect that our Kaleb & Shadow had on Billy’s life…  Kaleb was an abused Doberman rescue of mine that took to Billy from moment one…  Shadow was a Shepherd/Wolf hybrid that we took in at 8 weeks old…  The people that were going to take her didn’t want her at the last minute so she became Billy’s best pal…

We talked many times with Pete about getting help through the VA, but I guess Pete felt that his was a hopeless case…  I think that I knew Pete for about 3 or 4 years when we learned that they found his body one morning behind a bar where he used to hang out…  I guess he got his wish & I felt grateful that even though I would miss him tremendously, he was in a far better place & no longer in the physical pain & mental anguish that haunted him in this world…

Billy inspired me to write a Welcome Home Tribute to the Vietnam Veteran…  It’s been very well received & as a result two copies are in the Library of Congress, one copy in The Smithsonian Institute & one copy in The National Naval Museum at The Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida…  Billy was so proud of my effort, I guess because no one else would take the time…  I was asked to recite it for Pete at his funeral…  Of course I felt honored that this was the least that I could do for our friend…  I had to excuse myself because of the tears that got tangled up in the words…  I just couldn’t help it, just like the words in my tribute, they just seemed to flow…  No one seemed to mind so I continued & completed my recitation in Pete’s honor… 

Pete had many friends because he was the kind of guy that you just couldn’t help but like…  I was so grateful to come across this video because I hadn’t thought of Pete in a long while…  I’m grateful that he came into my thoughts once again & always will from time to time…

My Billy passed away 3 years ago last November from stage 4 melanoma…  I pray that he & Pete are together once more sharing old stories once again…  Thank you for reading my blog & keep coming back as I plan on making this an important part of my life…

Linda Michel White

Senior Netrepreneur