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july/august 2008

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Pat Ramsey is the president of Greenville, S.C., Chapter 523. It’s a good chapter, he says, with more than sixty members, though only ten to fifteen typically attend chapter meetings. For him, the road to Chapter 523 began with a boat show.

It was an impressive boat show. But what caught his eye was a booth set up by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 523. They had a little putt-putt golf fundraiser on the side.

“I spent thirty years trying to forget,” Ramsey said, and he wasn’t going to be distracted by any veterans group.

“Oh, I remember him that day,” AVVA Regional Director Nancy Nix said. “Vietnam veterans still in the closet: They’re easy to spot. He walked all the way around the boat show three times.”

“The first time around, I said, ‘Hi,’” Ramsey recounted. “The second time around, I said, ‘No, thank you.’”

“And the third time,” slam-dunks Nancy Nix, “he was lassoed and
hog-tied.”

He had been to the Vet Center, which is located near the Greenville Hyatt. He was impressed, especially with Dave Hollingsworth who ran the center. But it didn’t stick. But here, with this small group of men and women, he felt at home. He didn’t have to forget.

“I can help,” he said to himself. So he joined. As a life member. “That’s the way I do things: Both feet.” Ramsey is quiet, self-possessed, self-deprecating.

But he was right: He could help. And he did. Then he did more. He was encouraged to take leadership roles. Nancy’s husband Dicky Nix, who was chapter president, pushed him along, too.

He’s the good soldier. He always stepped up to the plate. Now he’s chapter president.

 

 

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