A disabled Vietnam War Veteran celebrated the second National Vietnam War Veterans Day with a new air conditioning unit for his home. The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 11 organization in Florence worked with two businesses to donate the unit to 72-year old Glen McRae.
McRae served in the Army for 12 years and was exposed to a toxic chemical in Vietnam that gave him never-ending health problems. He said the chemical is called “agent orange.”
As a result, McRae told WBTW he’s had like seven heart attacks, three open-heart surgeries and 28 shunts. The health problems have made it difficult for him to breathe normal during heat and humidity. When the 20-year old air system in his home stopped working, Evergreen Services and Epting Distributors came together to donate him one.
“It took a couple of months of coordination and timing. Everybody was so excited about the prospect of it. They all wanted to give back,” said Dawn Jay with Evergreen Services.
The organizers didn’t tell McRae about their plans until a few days before they were coming to replace his old one.
“I get a phone call telling me, they’ll be here today and needless to say, I broke now. And, I’m trying not to right now,” said McRae.
Jay said McRae’s kind spirit is what made them do an installation valued at $9,000 for free.
“He’s never once asked anybody for anything, but he’s always said, ‘what can I do for you?’ How do you repay something like that?”
Although McRae’s life changed forever when he returned from Vietnam, he still finds ways to be positive.
“I’ve never liked to let anything whip me. So many people in the world today will go out and just throw up their hands and say, life has dealt me this hand, what a rotten hand they’ve dealt me. Even though what I’ve been through, I’m in better shape than a lot of guys,” he said.
McRae was at a doctor’s visit last year and said doctor’s told him he’d be dead by now.
“Well. As Dawn says, the air conditioner died, but I ain’t dead yet. I still got something to do. God still got something for me to do.”