Vets With A Mission
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Dr Lee the Chief Medical director of the Da Nang Province and Bill Kimball displaying the partnership plaque displayed on the new HEIC building built in 1998.

Current Photos 1998 - 2010

In 1998 VWAM worked with the Da Nang Department of Health in establishing the Health Information and Education Health Center (HIEC). We had in previous years worked with a young upcoming Dr. Huynh Ba Tan. We had worked with Dr. Tan in building rural health stations in the area surrounding Da Nang.Dr. Tan had a vision to see health information developed in the Da Nang area via the new technological advances that were taking place in his province. Television had appeared as part of the new economic changes happening in Vietnam. Even the poor were now able to afford a television. Dr. Tan was granted permission to develop training and information programs for television broadcasting in Da Nang. His center would be the arm of the Da Nang Department of Health’s vision to see health care practices brought to the local home via television. With these television programs they would also run regular local seminars on health care subjects such as sanitation, Aids prevention and the connection between Lung Cancer and smoking. This was a big step in Vietnam’s development of a standardized health care program on a provincial level. VWAM partnered with the HEIC in developing this center.

 

 

 

Dr Lee the Chief Medical director of the Da Nang Province and Bill Kimball displaying the partnership plaque displayed on the new HEIC building built in 1998.

 

Dr Huynh Ba Tan was the director of the HEIC until 2008 when he became the director of the first women’s health center in Da Nang the Center for Reproductive Health. This was another first for Vietnam and another first for Dr. Huynh Ba Tan who assumed directorship of the Women’s Reproductive Health Center after completing his PHD in reproductive health. VWAM, understanding its important relationship with Dr. Tan and his efforts to meet the medical needs of his province again partnered with Dr. Tan in this joint effort in sponsoring the additional reconstruction of the new Reproductive Center’s addition of its new wing that includes research and counseling services rooms.

The new center was dedicated this August in Da Nang. Our August medical team was holding medical clinic at the Man Thai Ward in Da Nang and were able to attend the dedication ceremony.

 

To the right is a picture of the dedication ceremony. Dr. Huynh Ba Tan is pictured in the middle.

Dedication ceremony
 
 
 
Chuck Ward, the executive director of Vets With A Mission and Dr. Huynh Ba Tan the director of the Da Nang Center for Reproductive Health
Pictured here is Chuck Ward, the executive director of Vets With A Mission and Dr. Huynh Ba Tan the director of the Da Nang Center for Reproductive Health.
We will never know the impact of our work in this country. We get small glimpses of it occasionally but the full comprehension of it will always be hidden from us. It is not for us to know but to be obedient to the call that God has given to us. Each individual is significant; each operation is life changing in so many ways. We’ll never know how our dollars allowed women who otherwise would have never been

able to have children give the gift of life through childbirth. We’ll never know how that child grew up and changed the course of other’s lives. We’ll never know in this life, maybe in the next one we’ll find out, but for now it is our responsibility to be faithful.

 
 
Vets With A Mission
 
 

In 2006: In November a twelve person Typhoon Xangsane Disaster Relief Team spent three weeks in Danang City and Hoa Hai commune/ward near Marble Mountain. The volunteers came from All Nations Christian Fellowship in Vancouver BC Canada. After raising over $30,000, the team was able to provide 32 new roofs, rebuild 1 house, give away six tons of rice and other food staples, offer 47 emergency cash stipends between $50-$100 to families in need, present repair funds to the Danang Department of Health and Thanh Khe District Hospital to repair damage to four VWAM sponsored clinics, make major repairs at the Love of Arts Centre and Cafe Oz, and minor repairs at the Bread of Life Coffee Shop & Bakery and Pizza Parlor (friends of VWAM who work as NGO's in Danang). This village is an artisan village and has been for hundreds of years. They are the Marble Carvers of Vietnam. Marble Mountain no longer supplies the Marble for the artisan’s work as it has been marked as a national treasure and its precious marble is now protected. Legend has it that the ancient dynasty rulers would hide the Emperor’s gold in these Marble Mountains. Some believe that the artisans were not able to marry outside of the village to protect the “secrecy” of the secrets of the Marble Mountains.

     
Marble Mountain in 1965.
Marble Mountain in 1965.
 

In 1965 the 3rd Marine Division landed at Marble Mountain and became the first U.S. military to occupy the village of Hoa Hai, and guess what, the Marble Mountains were off limits to all U.S. personnel. That did not last long and the off limits restriction was soon changed to only the Pagoda that sat in

between the two mountains. This Pagoda sits in the center of the five mountains that make up the Marble Mountain complex. The pagoda was designated as “sacred grounds” and was off limits except to the Viet Cong who used it for military

 
Chuck Ward surveying some of the damage done to the Hoa Hai commune at the base of Marble Mountain.
Chuck Ward surveying some of the damage done to the Hoa Hai commune at the base of Marble Mountain.
Our Xanphone Typhon female volunteers meeting with one of the women who would have her house rebuilt.
Our Xanphone Typhon female volunteers meeting with one of the women who would have her house rebuilt.
 

purposes and spying on the Marines encamped around the mountains. Dr. Lee who is pictured above in the dedication ceremony of the HEIC building was a former Viet Cong surgeon during the war years. At a dinner in mid 1996, he related a story to Bill Kimball and Bob Peragallo about how the Viet Cong were using the Marble Mountain caves as a hospital to treat wounded Viet Cong. He told us that at one point they brought him two captured, wounded American soldiers’. He stated, “one was a Black soldier and the other American was a White soldier, both were seriously wounded. They wanted him to treat them so they could move them North as POW’s. Dr. Lee stated that the one Black man had suffered serious back injuries and any movement would kill him. He pleaded with the NVA to not move the man until he was recovered enough to travel. He literally begged them not to move this man. Moving him would have been his death. After a month they decided he was stable enough to move and his guards began to move both of the American soldiers north. He later told us that the patrol escorting the two American had been ambushed by American troops and both Americans were rescued by the Americans forces. It was an emotional story and it is not often that the Vietnamese talk about such incidents as these. We were all held spellbound as Dr. Lee related this story to us. It did not end there. He them told us in 1986 he was a surgeon at the hospital in Chu Lie and that the Black American he treated came and found him working in the hospital and thanked him for saving his life. At this point Dr. Lee was in tears, as were we. Relationships such as these are the backbone of why VWAM is still working in Vietnam as a humanitarian organization (we’ve been working in Vietnam for twenty-two years). We have cultivated relationships of value by being honest and forthright with our purposes and commitments. The Vietnamese culture honors the values of family relationships. It is not unusual to find Vietnamese welcoming us as part of their extended family. These relationships take time and resolve. The Vietnamese know the value of time and its rewards. It is countercultural to us westerners who want it all now and we want it cheap. VWAM has stood faithful in our time in Vietnam by adapting to the culture of the people we minister to. One of our constant sayings to our team members is, “Be flexible, or you will break.”

Marble Mountain today
Marble Mountain today.
 
 

In 2009: VWAM was to make its first official visit to the Central Highlands – Ban Me Thuot! The medical team partnered with a Vietnamese charity, the Social and Medical Committee of the Evangelical Church of Viet Nam – South (SOMEDCO), who had gotten permission for the medical team. Again, the Vietnamese authorities told VWAM and SOMEDCO that the team could not travel to Ban Me Thuot due to “civil and church unrest.” This word came with only a week to go before the team was flying to Viet Nam. What led up to this denial of permission was the demolition of the last standing post-1975 CMA church in Ban Me Thout. The team lost two members but the remaining team members arrived in Saigon waiting for a new assignment. Two days later the team was given permission to go to Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta.

 

Between May 5-9 the 32 Vietnamese-American team worked four days and saw just over 2,000 patients – a new VWAM record! With the help of the Dung Phu Evangelical Church, the team worked on Cai Be Island, at the church, Dung Phu village, Hoa Ninh Clinic, and Bunh Hoa Phu village. The team treated 2,037 patients for an average of nearly 509 per day! In summary the team saw 2,037 patients providing $7,500 in medicine; $650 in food stipends; $750 for transportation assistance; $9,000 for surgeries; $2,200 for hospitalizations/diagnostic tests; $1,400 for 20 wheelchairs, 2 walkers, 3 canes; 200 pairs of eyeglasses ($1,200) and 3 hearing aides ($475); 181 dental patients were seen and 267 teeth extracted; 8 cataract surgeries cost $1,100 and every patients received a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste!

Medical team
 
Vietnamese-American team
 
 
 
Joined Hands in Healing the Wounds of War
 
Joined Hands in Healing the Wounds of War
 

In 2010 Vets With A Mission met with the Hue Friendship committee and joined in participating with them in a seminar, “Joined Hands in Healing the Wounds of War”. Former American Vets sat across from former North Vietnamese Regular Army (NVA) soldiers during the Vietnam war and talked about the war and the pain it inflected on both side. During the meeting former veterans exchanged lapel pins and shook hands together. Chuck Ward the Executive Director of VWAM spoke about the history of VWAM working in Vietnam as a humanitarian organization and that we look to a future with better cooperation’s and unity from the people’s Committee in Hue. We were welcomed with appreciation and recognition.

 

At the conclusion former enemies greeted each other and exchanged handshakes, smiles and even embraces. For many of these veterans this was a pivotal point in the healing of the scars of war. They found that their former enemy was a lot like they were. Eager to meet, talk and look into each other’s eyes and understand that yes, we survived, but what a price we all paid.

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