We have all experienced situations in life that come full circle and I believe some of those situations are clearly Gods work. I would like to share one such life changing experience that came full circle and without my control. The experience centers on a former Batavian and Veteran that I will explain later.
In March of 1966, as a 17-year-old high school senior, I was focused on the regional basketball tournament at Troy Hobart Arena. Little did I know that in years to come March would also represent other important milestones in my life?
Two short years later, March of 1968, I found myself in Vietnam as a combat infantryman assigned to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. While in country, high school seemed many years removed although it had only been two years. During this time in history this scenario was very typical for many young men and unfortunately over 58,000 warriors made the ultimate sacrifice and one of those was a former high school classmate, Barry Lewis.
Several other veterans from Clermont County were killed in action that same year including Andy Haglage, also from Batavia. On May 30, 1968, Memorial Day, I was involved in a battle that took two of my friends, Richard Rucker and Pete Snell. Their names are on the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. under May 30, 1968. I was seriously wounded but was ultimately able to make it home. What are the odds of getting injured on Memorial Day and why did I survive when I was less than six feet from Richard and Pete?
On a cold winter night in January of 1970, the front doorbell rang at my rental home in Batavia where my new wife of 10 months, Connie Anstaett Bare, and I lived. Standing there was a short, older gentleman with a small mustache and glasses, bundled up with a heavy winter coat and hat. The gentleman was very soft spoken and extremely polite and said he was referred to me by my father-in Law, Mr. Kenneth Anstaett, a WWII and Korean Veteran who is now deceased.
The name of the gentleman was Mr. Jim Griffin and little did I know that would be the beginning of a common bond. At that time Mr. Griffin represented the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission as the only Veteran Service Officer in the Department. Can you believe there was a time when a Veteran Service Officer would make a house call to the home of a veteran on a cold winter night? Mr. Griffin wanted to make certain that I was aware of all my veteran rights including medical treatment associated with a war injury?
Now that is what I call real dedication because I know it wasn