Monday, October 13, 2008

Let's Continue to Bring Them Home

This personal treasure, was likely worn by Roger Dale Cole, over his heart, or laced in his boots on the 12th of November, 1970, when he was shot and killed in Vietnam. Roger was only twenty-one years-old. We can only speculate why the tag was separated from his body and remained in Vietnam until TOP recovered it. Almost three decades later, TOP returned this precious item home to surviving family in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Roger would have been 59 years old today. He is immortalized on "The Wall."

We invite you to visit TOP's Dog Tag List where you will see many other personal effects which have been "Returned to Family" of many other soldiers lost to the War. (Roger's name is also commemorated on our "We Remember" page.)

Please also explore our web site's "TOP in the News" section which includes many TOP Personal Effects stories. For example, reporter Jennifer Caprioli of the Tobyhanna Reporter recently wrote about Vietnam veteran, Jim Sulima's found & returned dog tag, in the article, "Piece of veteran's identity returns from the past."

Personal effects are returned to veterans and surviving families--without charge--as a free TOP service to the recipients. Returns acknowledge service & sacrifice; a symbolic "Thank you" and "Welcome Home" to veterans and families. This cause is all made possible by TOP volunteers and supporters. There are costs associated with Personal Effects returns--together, with your financial gifts, "we bring them home."

A dog tag worn by Killed-In-Action soldier Russell Evans, now rests with his family.

TOP supporters make gifts to "TOP Vietnam Veterans" in Tucson, in order to keep the seemless return of these effects. Together, we continue to bring them home. As well, TOP thanks and recognizes the financial sacrifice of our supporters in their role of making this all happen.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bandaid For the Heart

Inside the handwritten envelope were the words, "Welcome home, big brother, from Little Sis."

The letter contained a polished symbolic heart with a bandage over it. Ironically, the medal was made of the same stainless steel our dog tags were issued on (perhaps poignantly & gently suggesting it is time to retire our tags in our hearts).

"It's been a long time comin' . . . Welcome Home."

It was appropriate that this medal come from the "Heartland." The medal was sent by Monica Harvey from Stapleton, Nebraska.

Monica's unusual story began after surviving a freak Veterans Day parade in 2001. Since then, "Little Sis" has felt compelled to perform in Veterans Homes, hospitals, psychiatric wards, biker rallies, rides, reunions, tributes and traveling walls.

Over the years, Vietnam veterans, who have come to know & appreciate Monica, have bestowed her with the nickname "Little Sis."

Her "Bandaid For the Heart" is a tangible part of her cause and support.

Monica's letter ended with the words, "Let them never be forgotten."

Little Sis' medal was reverently placed on a favorite cap, and when worn, a "Welcome Home" can be heard deep within.

To Little Sis, we say with enthusiastic gratitude, "Thank you!" Vietnam veterans will proudly wear the medal you present us. All Vietnam veterans should have a sister like you.

Please know that it is never too late to welcome a Vietnam veteran home.