Finding his Purple Heart
Like many veterans who returned home after Vietnam, Joe hid his injury. When people asked why he limped, he told them he’d been in a motorcycle crash.
“You just didn’t know how people would react in those days,” he says. “I learned to keep it to myself.”
Recently, however, Joe had to revisit that time in his life when he was diagnosed with a heart problem. The prescription would cost him $500 a month.
“I like to think that I went through something so that others don’t have to.”
A fellow veteran suggested he look into his military benefits to see what could be covered.
“The VA had the medical records,” he says, “but none of my 16 ribbons or the Purple Heart were listed.”
Eventually, Joe found Terry Gendron, Director of York County Veterans Affairs office. His team went to work to correct the record.
Joe now has a DD 214 that documents everything, Purple Heart and all.
Vietnam War Veterans Day
Joe is still quiet about many of his experiences in Vietnam.
But he’s grateful for the help he’s receiving now. His heart medication is paid for, he wears new eye glasses and he has hearing aids – all thanks to the help of York County Veterans Affairs.
“I like to think that I went through something so that others don’t have to,” he says. “We treat military members differently today. And I’m happy for that.”