Charles lives in Manchester, in a tidy room decorated with Vietnam Vet caps, American flags, and plaques from his loving family, testifying to his gifts as a father and a grandfather. A large screen TV, busily taping the latest rerun of “Gunsmoke”, sits nearby.
Born in the late ’50s in California, Charles was a self-described “hippy with long hair” as a teenager. However, after hearing about the war in Vietnam, he came to feel so strongly about protecting his country and the soldiers already fighting there that, in January of 1974, he enlisted in the Army. He was 17 years old. Charles joined the 82nd Airborne and eventually underwent rigorous training as an Army Ranger. He was assigned to the crew of a 155 mm Howitzer and recalls lifting the large packs of propelling charges that shot the projectiles. To this day, he misses the camaraderie of the service. “In the Army," he says, “nobody was ‘different’. Race, religion—these things didn’t’ matter. We all worked together.”
Upon returning home to California, he took a position as a home repair worker, repairing houses for low-income and elderly people. He took great pride in being able to help others. Just 3 years later, he had worked his way up to supervisor—a pattern he would repeat throughout his career of starting at the bottom and very quickly working his way up to a supervisory position.
A family move 24 years ago brought him to New Hampshire where he has done his best to adjust to the cold weather! About 3 years ago, as his vision had worsened and had started to affect his balance, the VA suggested that he join the SJCS Meals on Wheels program. Charles enjoys the chicken and tuna salads the best as well as the ambrosia, featuring all the little marshmallows. He is especially fond of his MOW drivers, calling them “the nicest people -- so friendly, and they really seem to enjoy their jobs and helping others.” The MOW staff is fond of him as well; one of his drivers calls him “Charles in Charge.” Charles guesses that, without MOW, he would be eating lots of cold cereal and maybe even ramen noodles, but only in a pinch.
Charles keeps busy with family phone calls and visits and with his duties as Vice President of the Blinded Veterans Association, New Hampshire Regional Group. Please join everyone at St. Joseph Community Services in saluting Charles and all the other veterans who participate as valued clients, volunteers, and staff in our Meals on Wheels/Community Dining Programs.