LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – American flags and camouflaged uniforms filled the leaf-covered streets in downtown Jackson. Some were air force pilots and others boots on the ground soldiers during Vietnam.
They didn’t serve together, but today they all make up “Vietnam veterans chapter 109.
“It’s my whole existence right now. It’s just myself and my two cats at home and this is my family life right now and this is my family,” said member, Michael Finch.
Finch or “doc” as they call him is one of more than a dozen members. Together they’re helping other veterans open up about the good and bad during their time serving.
“We are a brotherhood, and we support each other, and a lot of these guys need support and so we do everything we can to help the veterans out,” said Finch.
For other members like Bob Wilkinson who says he suffered from PTSD following his time in Vietnam, he believes this group is needed not just to help Vietnam veterans but anyone who has served.
“I want to try and give those veterans in need a voice. It’s easier to talk to a veteran than it is to somebody that had never been there before,” said Wilkinson.
They’re also taking their experiences to help younger generations get a better understanding of the history of what they went through.
“That inspires us to keep doing this. We love to do young people. We just love to do that,” said Wilkinson.
It’s work that’s giving them national attention. This week they earned national chapter of the year during a convention in North Carolina.
“As soon as I got it I just did backflips. It was just quite an honor and we are really proud of what we did,” said Finch.
“For a small chapter, It’s quite a feather in our cap I guess. I could walk around smiling for days,” said Wilkinson.
Group members say despite their ages, seeing what they are able to accomplish is giving them a new reason to serve others.
“I’m proud to be a part of this group of brothers and sisters,” said Wilkinson.