Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance Founders Kelly L. Derricks & Heather A. Bowser
To Find Kelly and Heather’s Most Recent Agent Orange Dioxin Articles, Please Click HERE and Use The Custom Google Search Bar By Typing In Either Of Their Names.
“If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying. “Here comes number seventy-one!” ~ Richard M. Devos
Kelly L. Derricks
Kelly L. Derricks is the daughter of deceased Vietnam Veteran Harry C. Mackel Jr. Harry died in 1982 at the age of 37 after being exposed to Agent Orange while serving two tours in Vietnam in addition to a tour on Johnston Island. After serving with the United States Air Force, Harry went on to serve the City of Philadelphia as a highly regarded and awarded officer of the Stakeout Unit with the police department. Kelly was only seven years old when her father died.
Kelly has been working as an independent Agent Orange/Dioxin advocate since early 2001. She has expanded her work under the name “Truth Teller” to legislative areas, environment and agriculture, public speaking, blog authoring, and medical awareness, while tying everything back to encompass her main platform of seeking justice for those exposed.
On October 16, 2011, Kelly traveled to New York City where she addressed the public in a speech about Agent Orange after being invited by Millions Against Monsanto to participate in the rally event for World Food Day. Today, Kelly continues to speak in the direct and upfront manner that she is widely known for on radio shows and public venues. She serves as the primary GMO educator to those who have been effected by Agent Orange. Kelly also serves as one of the most well known Agent Orange educators for those who advocate within GMO and Organic communities. Kelly now volunteers as March Against Monsanto’s Agent Orange Awareness Program director, connecting past history, which is still devastating those Agent Orange has touched, with current concerns over rights to know what is in the food that this country is digesting.
In January 2012, Kelly Co-founded (COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC., and serves as President of the 501C3 registered Non-profit, with Agent Orange Activist & Survivor Heather A. Bowser. Together, they work tirelessly remedying the lack of services and support for all of us living with the aftermath of a war that continues to devastate millions internationally.
Kelly has battled severe health issues since she was born that continue today. Some of her illnesses, presumed to be associated with the inter-generational effects of Agent Orange, include but are not limited to the following:
● Chronic kidney disease ● Crohn’s disease ● Addison’s disease ● Congenital adrenal hyperplaysia
● Intersticial cystitis ● Degenerative disk disease
*Her complete list of illnesses staggers to 32 different things*
Kelly became permanently disabled in the year 2000 and had to retire as a psychiatric therapist in which she holds Master’s Degree. She has also studied and holds degrees in Secondary Education, History, Nutrition and Personal Training. Kelly is a member of 5 highly regarded international honor societies. To contact Kelly directly, please use the following email KDERRICKS@COVVHA.NET
Videos Of Kelly
Watch Kelly’s Huffpost Live T.V. Segment On The Farm Bill & it’s impact on the Veterans Community
Read Kelly’s Article “Heart of Rage”
Read Kelly’s Article “Murder By Agent Orange”
Read Kelly’s Article – Little Girl Lost
Visit Truth Teller’s Page
Heather A. Bowser
Heather A. Bowser is an Agent Orange activist. Heather was born with multiple birth defects due to her father’s exposure, as a US solider during the Vietnam War, to the chemical defoliant, Agent Orange. Heather was born in 1972, two months premature; she weighed three pounds, four ounces. Heather is missing her right leg below the knee, several of her fingers, her big toe on her left foot, her remaining toes were webbed.
Heather started her activism early in her life along side her parents in the late 1970’s. As a young child, she had a passion to explain what the chemical Agent Orange had done to her family. Like how Mother Sharon, suffered three unexplained miscarriages and her Father had five bypasses at the age of thirty eight and died of a massive heart attack at age fifty.
As former high school teacher, and current mental health licensed professional, Heather uses her skills to reach out and educate others on the devastation that is Agent Orange. Heather has a strong belief in empowering all second and third generations of Agent Orange survivors, to use their voice when possible to speak out and tell others about Agent Orange. Heather’s wish is all Agent Orange survivors will find justice.
The desire for all to find justice, lead Heather to travel to Vietnam three times. Her first time she participated in the film documentary, “Living the Silent Spring” by Masako Sakata. Heather is the protagonist in the film. The film explores the Vietnamese and American side of what it means to live with Agent Orange related ailments as second or third generation victim of dioxin.
The second trip to Vietnam, Heather was invited as an international guest delegate to speak at the second International Conference for Agent Orange Victims held in Hanoi Vietnam, 2011. The conference coincided with the fifth anniversary of the beginning of spraying of Agent Orange.
Her third trip during the summer of 2012 included the honor of traveling on Peace Boat the guest international educator for the 77th voyage, from Japan to Vietnam.
She was featured in an eight page special report by the Plain Dealer Newspaper, January 30th, 2011, called Unfinished Business: suffering and sickness in the endless wake of Agent Orange, by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Connie Schultz. Heather has given many speeches about the subject and has participated in live radio shows. Her self-created website tells her family’s Agent Orange story.
In January of 2012, Heather Co-founded (COVVHA) with Agent Orange survivor and activist Kelly L. Derricks, creating the new non-profit organization, ‘Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance’, dedicated to the health issues facing all second and third generation survivors of Agent Orange worldwide.
Heather has a Masters degree in Community Mental Health Counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and works as a mental health therapist in a private practice. She is licensed to Diagnose and treat Mental disorders. She has a degree in art education. She taught high school art in a rural Tennessee school for four years. Currently, she owns and operates, with her husband, a 10,000 square foot Antique mall. She is married to her college sweetheart Aaron Bowser. Together they have two boys, ages six and eleven. Heather’s wish is that people suffering from the effects of Agent Orange worldwide will be acknowledged. To contact Heather directly, please use the following email HBOWSER@COVVHA.NET
Videos Of Heather
Read Heather’s Most Recent Published Article “The Bastard Children Of The U.S. Government”
Learn About Peace Boat
Visit Heather’s Website
Watch The Trailer of Living The Silent Spring
Read The Pulitzer Prize Nominated Article
Meet Our COVVHA Associates and Authors Below
Tanya Mack is 39 years old and the daughter of Vietnam Veteran SSGT. James Sciaccotti who was a Combat Controller in the United States Air Force and was part of the Special Operations Squadron, 101st Airborne Unit in the A shau Valley from 10/1966 – 4/1968. She is married with 3 children ages 18, 16 and 7 and lives in Southern California. Tanya was born with severe hip dysplasia and started having hip reconstruction surgery at just 4 months old. After 15 hip reconstruction surgeries, at 17 years of age she had her first total hip replacement surgery. 22 years later, she has had a total of 4 hip replacements with a 5th one needed within the next 6 months.At 32 years old she started to develop multiple basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. They were very aggressive and according to the pathology reports, were a different mutation than what they normally see in these types of cancers. After genetic testing was done, she was diagnosed with Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome (also known as Gorlin Syndrome). This was a result of a mutation in her PTCH1 gene that has been attributed to her Father’s exposure to Agent Orange. Currently, she has had 198 skin biopsies of which 181 were positive for Cancer. By the time she was 34 she had a total hysterectomy due to Squamous Cell Carcinoma in her Uterus and on her Ovaries. In 2010, she was diagnosed with Melanoma. She was fortunate that it was caught early and had not spread to her Lymph Nodes however, it did spread far enough to have to have tissue and muscle removed.August, 2011 she was diagnosed with another rare form of Cancer called Bowens Disease. Bowens Disease is caused by extreme exposure to Arsenic and is considered Arsenic Poisoning. She has never worked or been exposed to herbicides and pesticides, other than through her Fathers exposure to Agent Orange. Over 50% of the Compound used in Agent Orange was Arsenic.
At 35 years old she was diagnosed with Lupus and Reynaud’s Disease, neither of which there is a family history of. Shortly thereafter she was also informed that the severe back pain that she was having was curve in my spine.On August 21, 2012, her Father passed away from Lung Cancer and Colon Cancer. He was 64 years old. His Cancer had been attributed to his exposure to Agent Orange. At the time of his death, he was receiving benefits from the V.A. and was considered 100% disabled due to service connected Agent Orange Exposure.
Chelsea Benedict Medley is the daughter of disabled Vietnam Veteran H. Glenn Benedict. During his time in Vietnam, Sergeant Benedict was exposed to the chemical Agent Orange which is believed to be what caused Chelsea’s birth defects and several chronic health issues. Chelsea was born with a condition called VACTERL Association.
VACTERL is an acronym: V – Vertebal anomalies A – Anal atresia (no hole at bottom of intestine) C- Cardiac defect TE – Tracheo-Esophogeal fistula R – Renal (kidney abnormalities) L- Limb abnormalities (abnormal formation of the thumb and/or the radius bone in the forearm)
Chelsea was born premature and spent the first 3 months of her life in the hospital. Some of the health issues Chelsea continues to battle presently include, (but are not limited to) the following : ● Scoliosis ● Chronic intestinal issues ● Depression ● Endometriosis ● Ovarian cysts ● Thyroid disease (hypothyroidism)
Today, Chelsea works tirelessly contacting main stream media outlets on behalf of COVVHA spreading awareness on the effects of Agent Orange and the birth defects caused by the deadly toxin. Chelsea has two daughters with her husband, who is a retired Navy Veteran. Her oldest daughter has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.
Valerie A. Ouillette is 39 years old, and was born in New Jersey. She is the daughter of a Vietnam Vet. Growing up on a farm, the hours were long and hard, but Valerie’s family always grew their own organic foods, and had a great work ethic. Valerie is in the minority, her father is still alive, and he is just now experiencing the longer term effects of Agent Orange.
Her father was an athlete in his younger years, and anything they ate was personally grown or wild harvested. She believes that this helped slow the progression of the damage caused by the Agent Orange, but his body was only able to hold it back for so long. When it hit him, it was all at once. He is also living with Diabetes, Ischemic Heart Disease, severe Anxiety, Agent Orange syndrome, and Hepatitis C that he contracted via an experimental vaccine given to him by the military. He is currently in remission. He suffers from severe and untreated PTSD. Valerie’s memories about his behavior go back as far into her childhood as she can remember. Valerie has a great Mom who has been there through it all.
Valerie was exposed to the words “Agent Orange” as a young child in the early 1980s when her family became part of a class action lawsuit. Her older brother was the first child born after her father’s return from Vietnam. He was born with numerous congenital defects including cardiac defects, Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, severe cognitive delays, blindness, etc. He passed away at the age of 2.5 years, and was part of a study used in the class action lawsuit. While he had already passed long before the lawsuit began, the lawyers were interested enough to visit her family.
Valerie graduated from Edison State College with a degree in Emergency Medical Services. She has worked as a licensed paramedic. Unfortunately, she recently had to stop working due to the dysfunction of her autonomic nervous system and early stages of Addison’s disease (abnormal adrenal function). She has been dealing with multiple medical issues since birth. She had decided to return to school to become a Unitarian Universalist pastor with a goal of becoming a VA chaplain. Unfortunately, she is unable attend school due to her multiple medical conditions. These include, but not limited to: anxiety/depression secondary to her PTSD, Ehlers-Danlos (rare connective tissue disease), endometriosis, fibromyalgia, etc.
She is not new to the issues surrounding the fight for the Children of Vietnam Veterans. Her son, while adopted (she suffers from infertility) has many of the same diagnoses that parents of the third generation have reported in their children. She has worked extensively to stabilize his Asperger’s Syndrome, so she understands and relates to her peers that have children with the same health concerns. She works to manage her own illnesses, and relates to others who have experienced a parent with PTSD. As an openly bisexual woman, Valerie is also active in her local LGBTQ community fighting for the equality of all. She offers to help her peers that do not want to “come out” themselves by just listening, and offering a helping hand. Valerie hopes by working with Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance she will be able to use her vast experience to help her peers.
Heather Pontruff is a strong outspoken advocate and investigative reporter. Until recently, however, she hadn’t delved into investigating all the odd ailments that have plagued her since birth. After much investigating, it’s undeniable that her father unwittingly poisoned her. Her father, the late George Pontruff, was a sergeant in Vietnam. He was exposed to Agent Orange, and his body showed it before his death. PTSD is well known to have effected our Veterans. George had severe PTSD from Vietnam, which led to him eventually taking his own life. Heather struggled with her father mentally and physically since the age of 6 to keep his suicide from occurring. Now, she suffers from severe PTSD; the effects of what can essentially be known as her personal “Vietnam.” Heather’s goal is not to be an expert or a role model in the battle that Children of Agent Orange and Children of Vietnam Veterans face daily, but to educate those children, and the world, to make sure they all know that we do exist! The MUST know that Vietnam and Agent Orange haven’t ended, and may never end since Agent Orange is a multi-generation poison.
My name is Karen Yvonne (Ridgeway) Wengert and I was born June 28th, 1974, to George and Barbara (Dunn) Ridgeway in Columbus, Ohio. My dad is a Vietnam Veteran and I am his very proud daughter. He was in Bien Hoa and Tan Son Nhut in 1965- 1966 and they were two of the heaviest effected areas for Agent Orange. He was a Flight Operations Coordinator with the 197th Aviation Company, his rank was SP5. I had the typical childhood until I started to get migraines at the age of 4. I was officially diagnosed after many tests and treatments when I was 6. I still suffer with them to this day and am on Social Security for them. They are so bad now that they effect my vision and I am on 3 types of medication to control them.
I grew up with an older sibling, who has had learning disabilities from a young age. I led an relatively uneventful life until I started to get Chronic Bronchitis when I was 12. I got it 4 times a year every year until I was 30. I suffer from several mental disabilities, which I am on Social Security for now, and have from the age of 12. It began as depression. It turned into Clinical depression, which I was diagnosed with at 19, Bipolar disorder was next but I had to fight for an official diagnosis for that and got it at 26. I also have General Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Dysthemia.
I had a cancer scare in 2008. I was having a lot of health problems and come to find out that I had Type II Diabetes and Gall Stones. I was having trouble at work because I was sick all the time. I went for a CT scan as I was having pain in my abdomen and they found spots on my lungs. To make a long story short, after more tests, they told me that I was looking at Lymphoma. It turned out to be Sarcoidosis. I have always had problems with my menstual cycle, I started at 13 and didn’t have another cycle until I was 15. I had excruciating pain with my periods and I was sick every time. I was diagnosed at 18 with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I went on over the years dealing the best that I could and it finally came to a head last year when I had to have a complete Hysterectomy at the age of 37. My ovaries were the size of small potatoes and I had scar tissue trying to attach to my bowel. My fight with the pain was over. I also struggled with infertility as well. I was told at 26 that there was a 98 percent chance that I would never conceive and if I did, I would never carry to term as I had a bilateral uterus. I had made my peace with the loss of any future children when I had my surgery October 4th, 2011.
I take 12 different pills everyday so that I am able to function properly, not to mention the Vitamin D, as my levels are so very low. I have to take 50,000 units a week so it will stay at a level that is even readable when he does my labs every 3 months. It has been a struggle over the years but I am here to tell the tale. My sibling and I both have mental issues and have been hospitalized for them, well, since we were teenagers.
My hope in being involved with COVVHA is that I can help Heather and Kelly to make a difference, to make a change. We are strong, independent fighters and I hope that I can take up the mantle and help where I can. I have been in the Vietnam Veteran Arena since I was 8 years old. My parents, along with a group of Vietnam Vets started the local VVA chapter here in my home town. I was at the Wall when it was opened on November 11th, 1982 and it is something that I will never forget. My mother was a lot like Kelly. She fought for those that didn’t have a voice or couldn’t. She would provide food and clothes for those that didn’t have any, we would have someone at our house for dinner or I was always babysitting so someone could go job hunting. I want to be able to say that I could help, even if it is from the background. I don’t have a very loud voice but I have other talents that will be beneficial to this group. I am proud of what my parents accomplished with the VVA and I am proud of this group as well!! We will eventually win this fight, we are in this together!
The world is changing with each moment that we share knowledge and awaken more sentient beings to the truth that is coming to pass. Within my mind lay many stories, insights and perspectives. Some may not have understood before pen was put to paper. But afterwards they were not left with doubts but truths. Each writer is their own truth teller, they shed light in different ways. But they share their light with us all. I have my own light and yet lighting the way for you does not diminish me in any way.
When I was younger I felt as if I were in the wrong place growing up. Things my parents tried to teach me I questioned and found some things were truth but not most of the time. I watched my father a Vietnam marine veteran never show his true feelings. I watched him never quite get going in his life. It seemed he constantly had thoughts in his mind and yet didn’t seem able to express them. So they lingered. But each time a movie would come on showing the war he had been a part of, I watched my father cry and that was unbearable to me.It is difficult to see anyone who has suffered cry. Yet my parents were hard people to live with. They did not understand me at all. So I found solace in books, within their pages I could be apart from this place that hurt me so much over the years thanks to the abuse of my parents. Then over the years I picked up pen to paper and found comfort and satisfaction there as well. My first writing spawned a parent teacher conference. The teacher could not believe I had written my first piece and wanted to know if I did in fact do it and if I was quite a stable child.
Growing up was difficult after my teen years as the world was completely new to me. Being the child of very controlling parents I hadto learn many lessons the hard way. But it did not stop me from, Graduating, joining the military and making something of myself over time. In the military all was well and yet I had learning disabilities and could not pass a written exam. Even though questions posed to me proved I did in fact know the material. So I was dismissed from the Air Force for a learning disability. Then over time I gained employment again and more health issues cropped up. Then more still and more until the list of health problems exceeded a single page and in fact covered many pages.
As children of Vietnam veterans we are a product of a companies greedy intentions. These abominable diseases that we suffer from are numerous and slowly over time a pattern has emerged and a database is growing. The voices will get louder and I am very proud to lend my hand to the fruition of the dreams of Miss Kelly and Miss Heather. Thank you for allowing me to be a help along our journey to justice.
I genuinely enjoy writing about topics I am passionate about. Although I was never considered the pensive writer in the family, but instead received ‘the call’ later in life. It gives me a chance to step back, assess, evaluate, explore, and understand. I do not, however, enjoy writing about myself. So, I will start with my father. My father served in Vietnam as a Marine, Technical operations FAC, air control. Although, I am not entirely sure what that means. As the youngest of three girls in a traditional household, sharing war stories was not something he often did. It was only when our Grandfather, male family friends, boyfriends, and later, husbands, were present that he opened up about that part of his life. Instead, he shared his alcoholism, PTSD, obsessive fears, and rage on a daily basis. Through this, I embraced the ‘performer’/tomboy role; trying to entertain everyone to break tension, while acknowledging his desire for his last child to be a boy.
It was while he chose to serve our country, that he was exposed to Agent Orange. I will write more about his health issues, but suffice to say he fits the criteria that most exposed suffer with. And, he unknowingly passed it to us. I always had urinary infections from as far back as my memory will allow. I recall sitting in a tub of ice in the ER, nurses sponging my scorching skin, the result of a a 104 temperature. I can still remember the frightening hallucinations of black spiders emerging and crawling rapidly down the wall. I think I was around two years old at the time. I had mild psoriasis and eczema, also typical of a Agent Orange child. Looking back, I consider myself fairly lucky, even though I was frequently ill, and took longer to recover than the average child. My parents were often frustrated with my bladder and digestive issues, but not as much as me, I assure you. The doctors didn’t offer much help, and no one tied my dad’s health issues and Agent Orange exposure to our health problems.
The worst was yet to come for me. At seventeen, I began experiencing mind-numbing menstrual cramps during my cycle. At twenty, I contracted mononucleosis, which seemed to open the flood gates, so to speak. I will also write at length about these ten years at a later time, but for the purpose of the intro, give you a brief idea of my declining health. I have been diagnosed with severe Stage IV Endometriosis, severe Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, asthma, and painful lipomas. I’ve had hundreds of procedures, treatments, medications, and tests. I’ve had twelve surgeries in the past nine years, and in discussion for the thirteenth and fourteenth.Besides sharing my journey as a Vietnam Vet’s daughter, and how Agent Orange has changed our lives, I would also like to share the skills I’ve acquired and mastered to cope with such issues. In particular, I will focus on meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, and visualization techniques to help those that suffer and survive along with me. It was six years ago, that I briefly gave up on the limited knowledge and narrow mindedness of the doctors, and instead focused on what my body was telling me. No, I did not heal myself completely, but I found a way to be a partner in my health and improve my symptoms. Most importantly, I feel in control.
I hope you enjoy my musings, and I look forward to finally sharing my personal stories with those that can identify and empathize. As you can probably tell, I am not the typical vet daughter. But, thanks to the COVVHA, I do know there are those like me out there. Perhaps it is those souls I am speaking for. I hope that does not deter anyone from reading and sharing, because in the end, we have more in common than not. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or comments regarding my topics.We are in this together, of course. On the days not riddled with pain from various sources, I also design and create for my own jewelry line. I am now in the process of creating a bracelet specifically for the COVVHA. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to our tireless leaders and founders of COVVHA, and the site that brought me a new life purpose. Peace
Kevin Barlow is the son of deceased Vietnam Veteran Jerry Allen Barlow US Navy GMG2 who died in 1985. His father was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor with 6 other war medals during the Vietnam War in 1967-‐1973. He was the only surviving member of his original crew that made it back home only to succumb to cancer and complications linked to Agent Orange exposure a decade later. Kevin’s father suffered from severe depression and PTSD.
The Agent Orange dioxins had drastically eroded his body and health; he had stomach and liver problems, multiple tumors, skin cancer, mental traumatic stress and depression and eventually succumbed to lung and throat cancer dying of a heart attack at the age of 46 years old. Kevin and his two older brothers were born in Vietnam during the war where his father married a Vietnamese woman Thom Thi Trinh. They lived on the military base in Vinh Long where his father patrolled the waterways along the Mekong Delta with his Navy PBR Gunboat patrol. The base was attacked in 1968 during the TET Offensive.
Agent Orange has affected his family with multiple illnesses his two cousins were both born with severe paralysis and other congenital deformities. Their father was a South Vietnamese Soldier who was also exposed to Agent Orange. In 2013 Kevin visited Vietnam with his family for the first time since he left as a child in 1973. He took photographs and documented his trip of following in his father’s footsteps to see where his father had contracted Agent Orange and learn more about how it has affected the Vietnamese people. He toured the “Hot Spots” along the Mekong Delta where his father was stationed south of HCMC.
Kevin also visited some Agent Orange hospitals in HCMC bringing donations to the orphaned children. By visiting the children he had an opportunity to see first hand what the terrible effects of Agent Orange can do with genetic deformities and birth defects. Upon his return Kevin created “Domain of the Golden Dragon” an online and film project about raising Agent Orange awareness. He is currently working on a pitch to raise a budget for an Agent Orange Animated Documentary.
Kevin attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is Owner and Creative Director of Fusion Entertainment Studios based in Los Angeles. He has previously worked as an Art Director at Microsoft and Graphic Designer at Colle McVoy Ad Agency. He has also written and directed several animated films that have played in a number of Film Festivals. Domain of the Golden Dragon: Agent Orange Aware
I hate it when someone parrots General SHerman’s quote; ”War is Hell!”, because that’s a lie. Hell is only for the guilty. War is worse than Hell, war not only destroys a country, kills soldiers on both sides, but it also kills and destroys innocent people. Sometime whole generations.
Viet Nam is where It began, the young men answering the call of their country, basic training, then advance training, and then after training, they received their orders. Orders that send these young men and women to this exotic country in Southeast Asia. These orders telling them that they got sent to this exotic country, to meet interesting people, and even kill some of them. Viet Nam was war, gore, heat, death, chaos, and destruction. A war that stole from children of the Viet Nam warriors, their father’s heart. A war that killed his buddies, his spirit, and hardened the man from within!
Vietnam was a place that many soldiers left parts of themselves, body parts, parts of their psychological being, their morality, their soul, all the while hurting with fear, and pain. Viet Nam was a place that over 58,000 of their buddies died. Viet Nam was a war that hundreds of thousands were wounded and maimed. While others their age were safe at home in America, protesting the wall calling these soldiers “baby killers.”
Viet Nam was a war where terror through the night struck hard, as beads of sweat rolled down their faces, as insects bit. Viet Nam was a war that they did not choose, but they were there, not for country, mom’s apple pie, but to stay alive, and protect their fellow soldiers lives. Viet Nam was the war that they had to listen to the fire of ammunition echoing through the sky, and watching their buddies falling at their sides, their blood beneath spreading across the mud and dirt. Soldiers dead, or wounded, crying out “who is caring about me?”
Viet Nam was where they had to stay alive by crawling through the mud, having to improvise, learning to roll with the shock and changes as they came. Young and naive, struggling to survive with each passing day, never knowing that some of the planes above were spraying chemicals that would kill them years later, and cause health problems for their children, and grand children.
Viet Nam, where soldiers had to drudge through the mud up to their knees, crossing warm rivers with leeches, snakes, and contaminated water by dioxin from Agent Orange runoffs. Earth giving soldiers shelter from harm, as they grasp it and hold on to it tight, feeling it beneath their feet pulling them into the darkness of the jungles. Guns readily at their sides, never allowed to go to sleep. And when they try to sleep, while their buddies watch, nightmares flash through their mind. Flares flicker overhead, fired into the sky to aid in searching for the enemy hiding in the black jungle.
At the end of their tour, the United Sates of America sending them home one by one, scarred by the war, not knowing their minds damaged with PTSD, bodies contaminated with Agent Orange. Back home, no one really understanding the pain and suffering going on with the combat soldiers. No one understood the protests, and the anger directed at the combat veteran. Thousands of tears fall to the ground for the Vietnamese victims of The war, but not for the soldiers coming home one by one. Where was the welcoming home, the support they needed to go on with their lives? Some parents, wives and children grieving the loss of their sons, dead fathers and husbands. Others, their soldiers are standing in front of them, but the soldier that came home is spiritually and emotionally gone forever.
The Black Wall in Washington, Beer, Whiskey, and Cigarettes speaking from the graves of the brothers who died in front of them. To forget, suicide, or drugs and alcohol are used, a disease that swept across the nation of American combat soldiers. Children and wives left behind, guilt, pain and suffering over taking their lives. Misunderstood, and running away from the memories that still lived inside, screaming murder, blood everywhere. Nightmares, flashbacks, memories in the soldiers head, wrestling day in, day out, all through the night. Combat veterans, no joy or life left in them. The soldiers that survived Viet Nam, coming home, their children born, filled with defects and illnesses, parents crying through the night. Questions of why unanswered, walls built up, broken communication, lack of love, relations dissolve. Prayers for the child of the soldier to survive. The Viet Nam War stole their fathers, damaged family’s lives, as the aftermath of Agent Orange spread through their veins one by one. No mercy, no compassion, where is the justice for the American soldier and his family. © Copyright 2012 James J Alonzo All rights reserved
I am infected with Agent Orange Dioxin poisoning. I am known as a Blue Water Navy Sailor. I had made 4 deployments to the waters of Vietnam, known as the combat zone in the South China Sea and Tonkin Gulf onboard the USS Sacramento (AOE-1), during the periods 1968, 1969, 1970 & 1971. At the time of my enlistment in the US Navy, February 1953, my home town was Philadelphia, Pa.. After 22 years of Naval service, I retired USN, April 1975. I now make my home in Media, Pa. I am married to my wonderful wife Cathy (Reilly) Bury, of Philadelphia, Pa.
At the age 17, I had no thoughts that I would ever be engaged in a war. My dream at the time was the adventures of the sea and visiting foreign lands. However, as our times would have it, there was a war, Vietnam. As it turns out, the Vietnam War was the most controversial war in American history. In today‘s modern times, little is said about that war. Warriors of the Vietnam War were not welcomed home, instead we were looked down upon often with deceitful comments. 50 years later, May 28, 2012, Memorial Day, the President of the United States of America, Welcomed Home we who fought in the Vietnam War. Over 2.5 million Americans fought in that war of all branches of our armed forces. Over 58,000 died in combat operations.
In 2002, I was diagnosed with my first cancer. In time, three more cancers developed in my body. Rapidly my quality of life diminished. It is my belief I was poisoned with Agent Orange Dioxin. AO, as we call it, was a herbicide used as a defoliant in Vietnam. Its use was to clear the jungles and forests affording the enemy less coverage to hide; also to deplete the enemy’s food supply. Our government refers to the defoliant as Tactical Herbicides. Unbeknown to we who fought on land, at sea and in the air, this herbicide would some day cause a variety of illnesses. The number is unknown, but it could be estimated that one million plus American Veterans may have died from dioxin poisoning. It does not end with veterans. Disease and deaths are now consuming children and grand children of Vietnam veterans, known as second and third generation AO casualties.
I am one of many who have taken up the sword of advocacy for Vietnam veterans, their children and widows. I write articles for publication to inform the American people about Agent Orange and what is has done to those who have died and those who still live with diseases cause by that deadly herbicide. I attempt to inform the American people and urge them to contact their respective members of Congress and Senate to pass legislation that will provide adequate care and disability for AO infected veterans, and AO infected children of veterans; plus widows of those veterans who have died. John can be contacted by E-mail; email@example.com
As the founder of the March Against Monsanto, Tami Canal has fueled her disgust at the biotech giant’s poisoning of our food supply and planet into a global protest. Using Facebook as the main platform for activism, two worldwide protests against Monsanto have been accomplished. On May 25th, 2013, 436 cities in 52 countries marched in solidarity to demand clean food and a take back of the planet’s sustainability. A follow up event in October, to mark World Food Day and GMO Awareness Month, drew even more countries into the mix. A globally recognized movement, at 2 million+ strong, MAM will not stop until Monsanto, along with Dow, Syngenta and others, are reigned in and the cronyism between biotech and the U.S. government ends. Tami also works with COVVHA, an organization founded to give a voice to children and grandchildren of those effected by Agent Orange, another legacy of Monsanto. She has been quoted by AP and was a guest on The Corbett Report. Tami currently resides in Utah with her husband and two young daughters.
COVVHA Dedicates This Video To All Who Suffer. You Are NOT Alone
Surviving Agent Orange And Dioxin Exposure
The following Link Features Original Writings, Videos, Artworks, and Submissions By Our Members Including The Children Of Vietnam Veterans, Family Members, and Vietnam Veterans Themselves.At This Time, We Ask That Visitors Use The Following Link To View The Copyrighted Content. If You Would Like To Submit Your Original Work, Please Email Us At COVVHA@GMAIL.COM