‘Crazy’ Vietnam veterans indeed…
In hopes of squashing the stereotype of the “crazy Vietnam vet,” I used to have my father visit my social studies classes at Briarcliff High School. He would wear his Army uniform and shiny medals, and give calm, rational answers to all the questions, even including “do you have flashbacks?” and “do you know anyone who went crazy over there?”
Well, all our ground work may have gone out the window yesterday, as we watched Rockland County veterans Jeffrey Keahon of Pearl River and Howard Goldin of Monsey spontaneously shell out almost $18,000 to help get the Rose School finished for about 450 young children living in Vietnam’s central highlands.
This happened during the Spring Valley Rotary Club’s holiday party at the River Club in Nyack, after Sister Therese Minh, a Dominican sister from Ho Chi Minh City who has just started a two-month fundraising tour of Rotary Clubs and Vietnamese Catholic groups across America, gave a status report on the school – which needs another $100,000 to get built, due to rising materials costs.
Make that another $80,000, after the contributed “happy bucks” from the Rotary Club members, and then Keahon’s $7,800 and Goldin’s $10,000 matching donation, raised $20,000 for the club’s Schools to End Poverty (STEP) program – The Rose School’s biggest benefactor.
“These guys are nuts,” my father said, shaking his head with admiration, astonishment and a bit of concern. “I hope they don’t have any kids going to college or getting married soon.”
Click on the audio link below to hear all of Sister Therese’s remarks about The Rose School and other projects that Vietnam’s Dominican Sisters raise money to pursue; click on the video link below that to watch the second half of her speech.
Check back tomorrow for more on Sister Therese’s visit to Rockland County and our reunion with many of our fellow Vietnam travelers.