By: Su Phelps and Megan Way | Photos by: Su Phelps and Lawrence Oravetz
On Jan 12th, Veterans Foundation hosted a fundraiser at Applebee’s in the West Shopping Center. Half of the profits went to Fisher house. Members from Veterans Foundation volunteered their time to serve the food.
Founder of Nevada Veterans Foundation and Former Purple Heart State Commander Dr. Small and State Commander of Purple Heart Len Yelinek was interviewed by Alfie Huang from a Taiwanese News channel, Sanlih E-Television.
Alfie Huang interviewed the two of them about their experiences in Vietnam. Dr. Smalls was a heart surgeon.. He said he responded to the draft the day he graduated medical school. The first person he saved was a little Vietnamese girl with a heart problem. After he was severely injured in Vietnam he got his Purple Heart. Len Yelinek spoke about a time he and his friends helped a village,
“We were controlling the rivers and canals in south Vietnam in Mekong river because that’s where a lot of the Viet Cong’s were bringing their weapons and troops. We wanted to interject them and break the terror. So that was the mission of our little river patrol. My job was to make sure that the American people had a favorable view of us and right before I went to Vietnam most of the newscasts indicated body counts. This is how many the enemy was killed and how many we lost and I wanted to put personal face on that. So the job was to let the American people know other things that were going on.
I remember one time a village was caught in the cross fire between the bad guys and the good guys, the Viet Cong and the Americans and the village was wiped out. It was eradicated, the crops were trampled, the cattle were killed, the villagers survived they got out of there but we wanted to help them get back on their feet. We knew that and quickly so they could have income very quickly. Take a while for the cattle to mature or crops to grow. Someone came up with the idea of ducks and we brought 4,000 ducklings in Saigon and brought them to that village and gave them to the village elders to distribute to the people.”