Joe Stahlkuppe

At the Veterans Information Table at the Gardendale Public Library last Thursday (from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.), an 88 year-old man, Mike got in my face about having mostly Vietnam Veteran signage and stuff. He wanted to know if WWII and Korean War Veterans and those after Vietnam weren’t veterans also.

Of course Mike was right, I explained that I only had mostly Vietnam material to display. He seemed to understand. It is sad that Korean Veterans haven’t had the response from the public (and the military) that my war veterans have had. I will try to find info on the other war and veterans, but our tables are for ALL veterans, young, old, women men, Navy, AF, Marines, Army Coast Guard, Reservists, National Guard and any others deemed to be veterans.

I invite all types of veterans to come and share information and experiences with us. We have had Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Grenada, non-combatants and even some Korean War veterans visit with us. We have also had family members of all wars of the 20th and 21st Centuries spend some time with our Info Tables.

Please come and tell us what YOU would like to see at our displays, like Mike did. I promise that I’ll do my best to meet your requirements. But I won’t know what those requirements are if you don’t share them with me and our other veteran participants.

Speaking of participants, the Veteran Information Tables (at the Fultondale and Gardendale Libraries and at the Gardendale Farmers Market last summer) have talked to many hundreds of people. Referrals have been made and progress for many people has been duly noted. Some of our helping veterans have been: Benny Reeves, Jim Parola, Bill Carter, Ron Becker, Jimmy Perry, Zach Burton, Harry Vaness, Jeremy, Sam, Ed, George, Greg and a number of others. You could come and help too—BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

We are seeing a strong assertiveness among veterans and veterans groups to spend more time and energy trying to help our veterans solve problems. Opioid addiction, alcoholism, suicide, divorces, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Agent Orange sicknesses and other life-shattering things happen to everybody, but more often to veterans than some other groups of people. Our Veteran Table people have information that can help some of these veterans and their families.

I have found some interesting veteran stats:

(A) As 2019, there were 12,987 living veterans that served in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War (all three wars);

(B) In 2017 there were about 1.9 million female veterans in the U.S.;

(C) As of 2019, California, Texas and Florida were the states with the largest veteran populations;

(D) As of 2019, 11.7 million veterans are over the age of 65 (this is 61% of all Veterans);

(E) Veterans make up 11% of adults experiencing homelessness. This homeless group also suffers greatly from addictions and mental health problems.

It is my sincerest wish that Our Blessed Heavenly Father would bless our country, our veterans, our service people and their families and all our first responders (law enforcers, firefighters, EMTs, teachers, clergy and parents. Most of all my greatest hope is that God would be with you and bless YOU!

GIJOE

Gerald “Joe” Stahlkuppe is a combat Army veteran of the Vietnam War. An ordained clergyman, public speaker and author of several books, he lives with his wife in Gardendale. 

Questions or veterans issues you would like to see addressed in the column can be directed to Stahlkuppe at P.O. Box 849, Gardendale, AL 35071 or emailed to editor@njeffersonnews.com.

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