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Friday, February 3, 2012

Vietnam Vet Handyman

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Last night my sister and I went out for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. My red sauced enchilada was to die for and we ran into a old friend. Back in 2002 is when I separated from my now Ex Husband. At that time I was so new to being a single mom, I needed a handyman. My house was in ill shape and I worked full time. My twin sister had been diagnosed with lung cancer and we moved her in. I was not in a place mentally or psychologically, to work on my home, I needed help.

Our handyman was referred to me by a good friend. My friend was clear and told me that he was a Vietnam vet.   I wanted to hire him even more after hearing that. Our  neighbor was a vet who helped me understand how tough life was after coming home.

At first it was great. Tommy became part of our family. I could always trust he would do the job well. Some of the projects he did and not limited to:  update my deck, build a swing set for my young children, tilled a garden, plumbing work and electrician duties.

We invited Tommy over for dinner about twice per month. It was a nice partnership until......
One day I saw his post traumatic stress disorder come to show it's ugly face. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is categorized as a anxiety disorder.  The disorder can show itself after a traumatic event such as war, 911, or any event that the person has been severely traumatized. Signs of this disorder can be nightmares, reliving the horror, being hypervigilent, lack of concentration, anger outbursts and more.

Our handyman blew up one day for no apparent reason. I thank God my children were not at home when the incident occurred. He was setting up a new music system in my living room. I was in the kitchen doing the dishes when.........He started yelling, cursing, throwing his hands about. He seemed to be gone, lights are on but nobody home. It scared me so much that I had to let him go. I had to keep my family out of harms way.

I later gave him referrals of agencies that could deal with the issues vets face. I felt really crappy. I felt like I had abandoned him. I could see how the hard work helped him, but I also knew I could not keep him on with a temper that could erupt at any given time.

I also felt bad as my training is psychotherapy. I mean, if anyone should get it, it should be me. As time went on I knew I did the right thing, but there was still something lingering and on my heart.

Last night as I peered into the bar from the restaurant seat I was in, I saw him. I will be honest and tell you that I wasn't sure if I should go over and talk to him or just let it be. My heart told me I had to go talk to him. He looked healthy, vibrant and happy. He shared with us how he had learned so many gems that helped him in his life as a vet from the Veterans Administration. Excitedly he told us that he could take the bus for free now as on his vet card it stated "service connect". He thought he'd died and gone to heaven. He told us he was in therapy and on disability for his post traumatic stress disorder, was involved in individual and group therapy and so much more.

My sister and I were so glad we went over and spoke to him. We hugged good bye and it was then I knew what I had to do. Actually I need feedback from all of you. I want to be able to have my blog which is at a page two rank, not bad huh, do something for Vietnam vets. I don't know if it is a link that can help vets figure out all the great programs that are out there or what it is... Please help me figure out how my blog and perhaps yours can help these wonderful men and women who have fought for our freedom.

Coming home and mainstreaming back into society should not be so hard for vets. How can we bloggers help in this great cause?  Thanks in advance for putting this on your heart.


Laura Rogers


  1. I think that's a great idea. My ex husband is a Vietnam vet and I know he hasn't had it easy.

    1. mshatch
      They give so much to our country and then have to figure out how to navigate the simple things they should not have to worry about.

  2. It is a national shame the way the Vietnam vets were treated back when they came home. My husband was stationed in Germany for 3 years and never saw a day in Vietnam. But, when he came home in 1968, the bus stopped at a station in SC, where a hugely pregnant woman called my husband a "baby killer" and spit on him. Anybody in a uniform was a target for the hate... I'm so glad that our returning war vets are treated as hero's and not persecuted for fighting for our nation.

    I like your idea.

  3. Laura,
    Thanks for signing up on my first blog. However, kindly switch to for more upto date and more often blog posts. I hope you enjoy your time there. Thanks

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  5. I also felt bad as my training is psychotherapy. I mean, if anyone should get it, it should be me.
    Thanks for sharing with us.