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Hi I'm Joe

I'm a Viet Nam veteran. I carry the scars of my service to my country. I know that my life has a greater purpose. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

On August 12, 1966 I awoke to the sound of small arms fire and mortars exploding. I had been struck in the right leg. My legs felt like lead as I struggled to my feet and attempted to return fire but my efforts were short lived. I was struck again this time by shrapnel from a mortar round that exploded near by. A fellow marine moved me into a crater created by a mortar blast and covered my body with his own. It was later reported in the Stars and Stripes that 85% of my unit had been killed or wounded that night. I was one of the lucky ones. After serving in country for only six months I was on my way back to the United States. I had been struck in numerous places but the worst of my injuries were to my lungs and heart. I didn't know it at the time but I was carrying a piece of shrapnel in the heart muscle. In January 1967 I underwent open heart surgery for removal of the shrapnel from my lungs and chest. The surgeons also removed an aneurysm on the left ventricular chamber of my heart. Today I still carry the scars from my injuries and the surgery but a question that I had when one of my comrade in arms was killed in Viet Nam has been answered over and over again. "Why was he killed instead of me, he had more to offer then I did?" I was placed here for a very specific purpose. My life and my service in the Church have had a positive influence on the lives of others. My wife once told me she was the reason my life was spared.

Why I am a Mormon

I know that righteous desires are granted and fulfilled. As a boy growing up in another religion I wanted to help with administrating the sacrament. I now hold the priesthood, God's authority, restored in these the latter days. I still consider participation in the administration of the sacrament for Heavenly Father's children one of my most treasured services and blessings. A convert to the church I was 26, married, and raising a family when I was baptized, but I wanted to serve a full time mission. Thirty seven years after my baptism my wife and I were called to serve in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission. Today my wife and I are planning to serve another mission.

How I live my faith

Where much is given much is required. Today I tried to become a blood donor. I was turned down because of my open heart surgery. Tomorrow I hope to be given another opportunity to help someone in need. We never know how our words and actions will influence somebody we see or meet. Just a smile or a kind deed may make the difference in someone's life. I try to live my life in such a way that I will never bring discredit to my church, my country, or myself.