Page 10 - Senior Link Magazine Fall 2020- Online Magazine
P. 10

Military Order
                                                                                             of The Purple
                                            Hospital in Hawaii where I
                                            underwent surgery. Three                         Heart
                                            months later I was transferred                   Chapter 553
                                            to the Naval Hospital in Corpus
                                            Christi. I am still being treated
                                            [52 years later] for my injuries.                AMARILLO, TEXAS

                                            After discharge, Don attended
                                            Amarillo College and West Texas
                                            State University in Canyon. He     MOPH Chapter 553 supports our mission
                                            went to work for Southwestern      of helping all combat wounded Veterans
                                            Public Service designing power     and their families. We will help any
                                            plants. He worked with the same    Veteran who is in need, whether that is
                                            group of people through several    a monetary donation or helping them
                                            mergers and finally retired from   acquire benefit needs.
                                            Zachry Engineering in 2018 after
                                            41 years and seven months.         Local Community Veteran
                                                                               programs we support:
           back which made me a soldier the   “My wife Rosemary and I have     1) Thomas Creek Veterans Hospital
           enemy wanted to eliminate. When I   been married for 44 wonderful   for Veterans in their VA Community
           stepped on the booby trap, it tossed   years. She has been very     Housing First Program provides funds
           me 15 feet straight up in the air. I   understanding and supportive   for household goods as well as personal
           landed flat on my neck and back.   of me during the health issues I   hygiene supplies for homeless veterans
           The first thing I remember was not   have had from my injuries from   transitioning to permanent housing.
                                                                               2) We provide funds for the Thomas
           being able to move. My left arm   Vietnam. We have one daughter     Creek Veterans Hospital Clothing Room
           was almost severed at my elbow. I   Shelly who graduated from       for purchasing coats, underwear, winter
           felt like I was on fire. The blast had   Amarillo College and from Texas   clothing and personal hygiene items for
           burned my legs. The first thing I   Tech. She married a Marine      homeless Veterans.
           asked my buddies was, ‘Do I have   veteran who served in Iraq. They   3) We also provide funds to the Texas
           both of my legs?’ They assured me   have given us three amazing     Panhandle War Memorial and Education
           I did, but both of my bones below   grandkids – Miles, Mason, and   Center used to honor all veterans and to
           my right knee were compound      Morgan. We spend as much time      inform and educate the public about the
           fractured.                       as we can with them.”              wars the United States has fought.

           “Our squads had split up earlier in   Don Roden is currently the    4) We support local ROTC Programs in
                                                                               the area High Schools.
           the day, and the medic had gone   Commander of the Military
           with the others, so there was no   Order of the Purple Heart        Other projects that MOPH Chapter 553
           medic with us. I was conscious the   Chapter 553 and serves on the   has done for Veterans and their families of
           whole time. We were getting a lot   Board of Directors of the Texas   the Texas Panhandle include:
           of fire while I was waiting for a   Panhandle War Memorial and
           medevac chopper. All I could do   Education Center in Amarillo.
           was lay there and                He has served on the Board of
           hope I didn’t get hit                     Directors for the State
           again. Finally, the                       of Texas Alzheimer’s    When Commander Roden was 18,
           chopper arrived,                          Association and has     he volunteered for the “toughest
           but it took a couple                      worked with many other   branch” in the US military. At 71,
           of attempts to pick                       charities. He continues   he would like today’s 18-year-olds
           me up, due to the                         to have trouble with his   to realize that freedom should not
           heavy ground fire. I                      injuries. “Just last year   be taken for granted. Two of his
           was medevacked to                         the VA took shrapnel    best friends were among the nearly
           a military hospital                       and debris out of my    60,000 KIA in Vietnam who paid the
           in DaNang where I                         right leg (including a 2”   ultimate price for it, and Don Roden
           was stabilized, then                      sliver of bamboo). I get   wants to do everything he can to
           transferred to Tripler                    injections in my neck   make sure their sacrifice was not in
           General Army                              and left elbow when
                                                     needed.”                vain.

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