CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM)–“Battle Buddies” is a new program at the VFW Carlisle Post.
It’s surprising, maybe, at least to learn how hard it is to get veterans to accept help. Surprising too to find out how much the “help” is helping the helpers.
“Flo is one of our Vietnam nurses,” commander at VFW Post 477 Rick Olson said.
“Nurse in Vietnam, the years 1967, 68,” Flo Huard said.
Huard said she has seen it all.
“Young men who have just had their leg torn off by a rocket or their chest penetrated by a bullet,” Huard said.
One of her strongest memories…
“My first mass casualty situation. and no experience could have ever prepared me for what I saw,” Huard said. “And I heard that day, the chaos and the crying and the screaming. It’s something that you will never, ever forget. and you never get used to it. Never. War is a terrible thing.”
“When you’re injured in war, who better to help you than a nurse,” Olson said.
Including all these years later. Olson says…
“And I thought to myself, I haven’t seen a lot of these guys in a long time,” Olson said. “So I thought, well, we need to check up on these guys and gals and perhaps they need something.”
“Rick came to me with he had this idea of starting a Battle Buddy program,” Huard said.
“She said, ‘Oh, I would love that. that would give me purpose in life,'” Olson said. “And I’m like, that was a powerful statement. Helping other veterans is going to give her purpose.”
“I needed a purpose,” Huard said. “I was no longer entrenched at the bedside and I am basically rather sedentary because of being confined to a wheelchair now. So he gave me a list of 50 people to call. I had to learn right away to say this is not a solicitation because bam.”
There is that and…
“People are not anxious sometimes to accept help, especially a veteran,” Huard said.
“Veterans don’t want help right,” Olson said. “No, go help somebody he needs it more than I do. Right.”
Now they are sending out these postcards.
“There’s a questionnaire they fill in,” Olson said holding the form. “Yes, I’d like to be a battle buddy or have a battle buddy assigned.”
“If nothing else, be a buddy,” Olson said. “We’ll assign someone to you and give you some purpose, additional purpose in your life.”
If you are a veteran in the Carlisle area, then give the VFW a call at (717) 258-4412.