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Clyde Lewandowski

Personal Experiences and Reflections of Vinh Son Montagnards Orphanage

Since 1968, when I spent some time in Vietnam, I've had a soft spot in my heart for Vietnamese kids. Of course, in 1968 we soldiers were all kids. Over the years, I've become the unofficial historian for the artillery battalion that I served with. Back then we did what we could to help the kids and connected with the orphanages that were near our headquarters area. In 2002, after doing some research at the National Archives in Washington D.C., I was able to find the name and address of one of the orphanages in Hue that we had supported and began a quest to find it. Unfortunately that orphanage had closed many years ago.

In 2006, I still had not found a connection to an orphanage in Vietnam that felt right, and was fortunate to have been found by Dennis Coyne and Friends of VSO. The trip to the orphanage at Kontum in February 2007 sealed my fate. The kids, the caregivers and sisters are absolutely the most wonderful people I have ever met. Just seeing their happiness brought tears of joy and I was hooked for life.

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