Sunday, July 14, 2024

Local disabled Vietnam veteran receives alternator for van from caring citizens


DOUGLAS COUNTY - On Wednesday, August 1 Douglas County lawyer Robert Hunter was invited by this reporter to a ceremony at the Wenatchee Convention Center to honor a man who was "blown up" and seriously injured during the Vietnam War's 1968 "year of the Tet Offensive."


That man, former Army machine gunner Ron Hoffman of Cashmere, never received the Purple Heart he earned from being wounded in combat, although it was listed on his official military records (DD214). Local Veteran Service Officer (VSO) Tony Sandoval decided he could right that wrong and asked the sponsors of the 3rd Annual "Serving Those Who Served" Conference to help facilitate that last minute project.


The two-day conference is hosted annually by the Washington State of Veteran Affairs and is mainly meant to provide continuing education for veteran "providers" such as VSO's and non-profit organizations as well as the many military-themed groups as the American Legion, but allowances were made for this special ceremony. During the proceedings, both sad and joyous, witnessed by an audience of more than 200, Hoffman was asked if there was anything he wanted to say and he said "It's about time." Then he was asked if there was anything he needed and he answered, "Yea, I need a new alternator for my van." 


When Hunter, sitting at a table in the back of the room, heard that need, almost a plea, directly from Hoffman's mouth, he decided to do the right thing and buy him the alternator. Hunter then contacted Brian Thorpe, owner of Global Car Care in Wenatchee and asked if Brian would also like to help. Thorpe agreed that his shop would do the labor for free and one week later Wednesday, August 8 the group came together and made the deal happen.

Both Thorpe and Hunter agreed, "Mr. Hoffman's comments struck a chord with us. It is a crying pity that it took this long for the government to recognize his sacrifice." 


And with that, another thank you has finally been said to another Vietnam War veteran, another human need fulfilled by a caring community.


If you know of any veterans in need of social services, food, shelter, health care, mental health counseling or "just" companionship, contact Wenatchee American Legion Post #10 VSO John Gill at 509-670-7896 or Chelan County VSO Tony Sandoval - 509-664-6801 for more information.


You can also call NCW Media Managing Editor Gary Bégin at 509-571-5302 and he will help connect the dots.



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