Kenny Lake Vietnam Vet Neil Hannan Shares Humanitarian Efforts This August

  August 25, 2022  0600 Vietnam Time- Visit to Thua, Duong, and and Lady The's Altar Thong, Chi (Thong's niece), and I left DaNang o...

 

August 25, 2022 

0600 Vietnam Time- Visit to Thua, Duong, and and Lady The's Altar


Thong, Chi (Thong's niece), and I left DaNang on Hwy 1 with a hired car/driver at 0800 Tuesday destined to the LZ Colt area to visit Thua, Duong, and Phung, Lady The’s son and Son’s brother. En route, there were numerous areas where villagers were drying rice on the roadway. 

Drying Rice
 

And an endless stream of folks transporting lading on/with bicycles and motorbikes: 

 

Bike Transport

We also passed the main gate location of former LZ Baldy, now home of a Vietnamese armor unit. 

 

Location of LZ Baldy Main Gate

After traversing a maze of one-lane paths, we arrived at the home of Thua, a fellow 196th Light Infantry veteran. It was wonderful to again see my smiling comrade after the four-year absence. 

 

Thua and Wife
 

Gifts included vitamins, Ibuprofen, a rice cooker, a blender, treats for the kids, and funds provided by a fellow 196th veteran. 

Gifts for Thua's Family
 

And, of course, a unit hat and t-shirt, both designed and produced by A 3/21 196th brother Gary Bonar:

A 196th Hat & Shirt for Thua
 

A highlight of the visit was arranging a phone call to Thua’s longtime friend, Spencer Baba, in the U.S. It was great seeing Thua’s eyes light up! It was just plain amazing, really. 

 

Phone call with Spencer

Phone Call with Spencer


Thua seems to be in very good health, his only complaint being “foggy” vision. My assumption would be cataracts. Saying goodbye and parting must have taken 30 minutes! I didn’t want to leave.

Goodbye to Thua
 

After meandering through more narrow paths, we arrived at the humble home of Duong, who lost both legs serving with the 196th Light Infantry. As always, it was wonderful seeing my friend again.  Duong and I both served in A Company 3/21. Like Thua, he was thrilled to receive a 196th hat and shirt.

 

196th Shirt & Hat for Duong

And what a surprise treat! The fellow always hanging around on visits through the years is his son! I didn’t know that he had family. Gifts to Duong included a rice cooker, a blender, vitamins, Ibuprofen, edible treats, and funds to buy food and other essentials.

 

With Duong and Son

It was discouraging, though, to learn that Duong’s health has been failing. He is pretty weak and has little appetite. I’m hoping that the 400-day vitamin/mineral supplement supply will help. On top of it all, the TV that we bought some years back is shot. All poor Duong can do is sit on the floor or lie on his hammock. It’s sad. I assured him that he’ll get another TV, but it might not be on this trip. Maybe I can figure something out if Thong will help, but it’s a full day on a motorbike. It would be expensive to, again, hire a car/driver for the day. Maybe $70.  Saying goodbye with a hug, then walking away with a wave, was tough. 

 

Goodbye to Duong
 

I want to figure out a way to get back and make that TV a reality, as doing so will certainly lift his spirits. He has endured such a difficult life. Remember, he fought with the United States Army… and has no benefits. It’s so damn depressing. 

 On leaving Duong, we continued on to see Phung, Lady The's son and Son's brother.  Lady The died this year at the age of 96. I was disappointed to find that Phung couldn't lead us to the graves of his mother and sister, as he was suffering from the heat. However, we paid respects to the wonderful The at her memorial altar. Never forget that it is Son and The who are the cornerstone of our humanitarian program. 

Lady The's Altar

 
Paying Respect

With Thong at The's Altar

Snacks and a small monetary gift were given to Phung, as he had guided us from Hwy 1 to Thua's, Duong's, and on on to his house on his motorbike. Even though we have been there several times, finding one's way in the labyrinth of small paths is tough. Thanks to Thong (Damn guide) and Chi, his niece, for their help through the day.

Yesterday afternoon I made my way to Hue and met with my good friend, Khanh, of Hearts for Hue. And in his office was a smiling Vi, who will accompany us tomorrow. Now it is 5:45 AM and time for me to get ready for Khanh's and Vi's 0800 arrival. Today we will distribute school supplies to 50 students in a remote mountain village inhabited by an ethnic minority. It will be very interesting.  Folks, I'm staying busy!


 

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