Our March 2022 NFM Salute reaches back in time to honor a soldier from the most controversial wartime era in our nation’s history.

Full Transcript is Below:

– Welcome to our March 2022 NFM Salute. I’m your host, Greg Sher. Veterans, no matter who they are, where they are, always hold a very special place in our hearts, but there’s an extra special place for those that served during the Vietnam War era. Joining us right now is an individual who did just that Army Veteran John Lanier joins us from Lynchburg, Virginia. John, thank you for agreeing to be our NFM Salute for the month of March 2022 and thank you for your service.

– Well thank you for inviting me.

– It’s our pleasure. So happy to have you here. Many of the gentlemen that you trained with ended up in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, but you were put in a different location. Tell us about that process and where you served.

– It was four of us and we had to go through special training. It was, two was going to Korea and two was going to Vietnam. I guess I consider myself being lucked out because I got the Korean duty.

– So while the Vietnam War was going on, they had just gotten done a war between North and South Korea. That kinda sounds familiar even today, but there was still a lot of remnants of war and a lot of bad behavior going on there. So what were your duties?

– Well, we were protecting the South Koreans in a military capacity, but they didn’t like us too much, but that’s the duty that we had to do.

– And of course there are casualties in any war, but the losses that you took were very personal. You became super, super close with a South Korean military member by the name of Kim. Take us through what happened to your dear friend.

– Kim was a translator and he was with the sergeant and myself. One particular day, we went upon this man that was out in the field and he had a mine from the Korean War and he was shaking it. And Kim started running toward him telling him to put it down. And just about time he got close to him, it went off and Kim was killed.

– And that’s something you carry with you today. I know that it’s been very tough for you. You know, I want our audience to know that since you stopped serving, your transition back into civilian life has been filled with challenges because of your PTSD. Unfortunately for you, John, it wasn’t the only thing that you saw that really stuck with you. There was a situation with a monsoon. Share with us what happened

– When it started to rain, we told all the people that was on the island to cross the bridge, ’cause we were going to pull the bridge up. That night, it started to rain again. I mean, it was pouring down rain and the people couldn’t get to the bridge and the people didn’t have nowhere to go, they was on the island. So the river got ’em. They just swept them down the river and all of the bodies and the screaming and hollering, couldn’t get them. And it stuck, it stuck in my mind over and over.

– Yeah, yow are you doing physically, you know, other than the mental toll that it’s clearly taken on you having served in the time that you did?

– Well, I have a whole lot of physical problems. I’ve had three back operations, a heart attack, so it’s taken its toll also, but I do the best I can and keep on trying to move on.

– I wanna speak to how you and I got to know each other. It’s through an incredible organization by the name of Code of Vets. Gretchen Smith helps to run that organization and what they do is they help veterans out in times of need and they were there for you and your wife when your mortgage fell behind. They contributed $7,000 to you guys to get you back up on your feet, and I wanna just give you a chance to tell the world how grateful you are for the people at Code of Vets and what they’ve meant to you.

– They have meant a lot to us. They sent the money to get my mortgage caught up. They sent us different products to help us out with our household. They’ve sent us clothes to wear. So it’s been a fantastic organization and I appreciate them so very, very much.

– John, are you able to squeeze Jerline into the picture? Can we say hello to your wife real quick? Jerline, thank you for allow allowing me to kind of pop you on here unexpectedly. I’m just curious after hearing John’s story, knowing that you’ve been married to this man for 48 years, having dealt with all of his struggles emotionally, yet he is a hero and I just wanted to know what it’s like to be married to him and how proud you are of him.

– I’m proud of him because it wasn’t something that he was born with. It’s a blessing that he was able to do as well as he’s doing. These Veterans, we are so thankful for you all. The Code of Vets, people like you, people like Gretchen, and people that bring in, for the three days, we’ve been without heat and we have electric, but the thermostat is not working at the house, so we walked around with these coats that the Vets sent us, sent John, we keep those on. One night, we had to sleep in them this week, this weekend and last three or four days. And so we are very thankful.

– We’re thankful for you. Why don’t you slide that camera back over to that handsome young gentleman for a minute? I have something to tell him. John?

– Yes.

– She’s a keeper.

– Yes.

– How much does she mean to you, as much as she’s been there for you through so many ups and unfortunately, too many downs?

– Well, she has been by my side all these years and we are still together. We get on each other nerves every once in a while and I appreciate the fact that she puts up with the things that I’m going through. It’s nothing that I can do about the situation. I just try to forget, keep things that happened outta my mind and every once in a while, something on the TV or something like that will pop up and bring back memories, but I try to cope with it.

– You know, it breaks my heart that the struggle is so real for you. Just in getting to know you, you know, you’ve told me that you’re living basically day to day financially, that you don’t have any cable, that you’ve received clothes and other donations so you can have shirts on your back and that’s just not right, you know, given all that you did for this country. So in addition into the $2,500 that we are gonna donate to the Code of Vets, NFM Lending is also going to cut a check for $2,500 for you and Jerline to use personally to help get you back up on your feet.

– Thank God, we appreciate it. We appreciate that very much.

– John, thank you so much for all you gave to us and you continue to give every day. You’re carrying this immense burden on your shoulders and we share it with you today.

– Well, I do appreciate you all having me on and I appreciate all that you are doing and we are just hanging on, we’re just hanging on.

– That’s combat engineer and Army veteran, John Lanier. And I’m NFM TV’s Greg Sher with our March 2022 NFM Salute.