Making Sure Vietnam Veterans Receive the Recognition They Deserve

VAN METER, Iowa -- "It was a different time and people were not as gracious and they didn`t honor the veterans," said Candy Brown, the 50th Vietnam Commemoration Chair of the NSDAR Jean Marie Cardinell Chapter, Des Moines. "I think we learned from our mistakes," said Brown.

Brown, who lives in Van Meter, understands that Vietnam veterans did not receive the thanks they deserved for their service when they returned home from war. That's why, as part of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she spends her time trying to reach Vietnam vets now, to give them some recognition.

"It`s still really hard to get to every Vietnam veteran," said Brown.

Brown saw our report that aired earlier this month, which showed a roofing company in Urbandale, comprised of veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, giving a free roof to Vietnam vet Larry Hensley of Carlisle.

What struck Brown  was what Larry's wife Irene said at the time.

"I think it`s the first thing that`s ever been done for him, as a Vietnam veteran," said Irene Hensley. "I would say this is the first time that he`s had any kind of an honor and for a company to do that I think is remarkable," she said.

"The fact that she said it was the first time Larry had ever received any recognition for his Vietnam service...that really bothered me," said Brown.

So Brown took action.

"I sent him an entire packet, which included a certificate from the Daughters and also the Presidential Proclamation and the lapel pin."

Cody Rowland of Titan Roofing & Exteriors got to see firsthand just how much Larry and Irene appreciated the recognition.

"I went out there Thursday night and had dinner with them and Larry and Irene were both just tickled that she had sent out those certificates, you know, she had mentioned they went out and got them framed," said Rowland. "I saw that. They have them sitting up on their mantle. He showed me his little pin," said Rowland. "You know, I just think that this is the first time that he`s ever really felt appreciation for the sacrifices he made and it`s amazing."