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My 1st Chapter

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:27 | Lyndon Dellis

      October 1962. The supersecret U.S. U-2 spyplane has discovered nuclear tipped long range ballistic missiles on the island of Cuba, able to hit any city in the continental U.S. Just the year before,shortly after the Berlin Wall was erected, Nikita Krushev General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, at the opening session of the United Nations, had taken off one of his shoes and after banging his shoe on the lectern had declared that Soviet Russia and its "Communist Utopia" would be the agents of consigning western capitalism and democracy to the "ash heap of history"!

Witnessing these events as a young boy set me on the path I was to follow as an adult.

November 2008. Discourged and disgusted I hung up the receiver of the pay phone outside the 7/11. I had read of a new Vets Service Center that had just opened up on 1st November in Fallbrook and had gone there. It was almost noon on a weekday and the place was locked up tighter than a drum. So I got the number off the door and with almost my last half dollar had called that number and gotten voicemail! I left a detailed message, but really didnt expect an answer. You see I am a Vietnam Era Veteran and although I served God and Country proudiy, ( and would do so again without hesitation or reservation ), it has been my sometimes bitter experience that, it seems like anyway, most other Americans really aren't much interested in what happens to the combat veterans of that godforsaken fight against the " Red Menace".

        I picked up my Vietnam Era camoflage style rucksack, threw it up on my shoulder, turned, and started to dejectedly walk away.

        I had been laid off from my job in July of that year. Having already lost my truck and cell phone through lack of funds I was about to be evicted from where I was living and I was desperate. I made about two steps and that pay phone went to ringing. I turned and started to pick it up and I thought "nah" that could'nt be anybody getting back to me that fast. But I was desperate so I thought "what the hell" and picked it up anyway. And so thats how I had my first conversation ever with Albert Renteria founder and CEO of South West Veterans Resource Center. He let me know when the center would be open and we made an appointment to meet in the next few days.  I was very impressed with Mr. Renteria before we ever met. He was at a meeting in Vancouver Washington to set up a Veterans Center up there and yet he got back to me in less than a minute. So I knew right up front that he was serious about reaching out to his fellow veterans. When we met he laid out his fourteen point program and filled me in on his vision and plan for enabling veterans to reintegrate into civilian society. I discovered that Al Renteria was a retired U.S.M.C. Warrant Officer. He has a heart for his fellow veterans, is very patriotic and is determined that none of his fellow veterans will be jobless or homeless. So I had my orientation, signed my learners contract and here I go! I already know that with all the benefits that are available to me as a veteran that everythings gonna come out good. I am currently volunteering at the center and will soon be back on my feet. We Vietnam Veterans are known to be able to land standing up! And so here I am beginning to write my life story. Al says people are really interested in it although I personally don't know why. Anyway here we go and my only hope is maybe in some small way I, personally, can be of some assistence to a needy fellow veteran.


  • Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:05 | Laurel Ho
    Glad you got back on the horse right away! I couldn't help be effected by your first attempt and it really has the beginnings of a great Novel. I could picture you walking away from that phone with your camo bag. You made the choice to pick up the phone and see where things lead. You could have just as easily walked away, but you didn't. It sounds like you still have the fight left in you, and I am eager to hear more. Don't let Al work you too hard over there, although I can tell you are eager to do what you can to help your fellow Vet's.
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    • Wednesday, December 31, 2008 05:12 | Lyndon Dellis
      Thank you for your kind words and support. Al said people were interested in my story and I guess he was right! Thanks again!
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  • Tuesday, December 30, 2008 13:31 | Chris Thayer
    Hi Lyndon,
    I am from the Vietnam era and I am ashamed of how the returning Vietnam veterans were treated. I never understood it and am glad to see that we now can create a positive experience with programs like SWVBRC and people like Mr. Renteria.

    I recently heard someone say that no matter how we feel about the war, we need to honor the warrior. I really believe this. God Bless you Lyndon and ALL our veterans. You are on your way and you have earned the right to ask for and receive positive support.
    All the best, Chris (Christine)
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    • Wednesday, December 31, 2008 05:16 | Lyndon Dellis
      I really appreciate your prompt and positive responce. It is people like yourself who will push some of us old vets back over the top! Thank you so much and with the Lord's heip also I know I will get there. thanks again.
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  • Wednesday, December 31, 2008 00:24 | Drew Ryan
    First, and foremost, thank you for your service to our Great Nation. The old adage "To those who have served, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know" is so very true. Al is a great man, and a great visionary- I am glad that you have the opportunity to see his work, work with him, and share your experiences, hope, joy, suffering and pain with this community. When you share these things, the suffering and pain seem that much easier to deal with, and the hope and joy seem boundless! Good luck on your journey! Know that you are not alone!

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    • Wednesday, December 31, 2008 05:19 | Lyndon Dellis
      I served proudly and would do so again! thanks for the kind words and encourgement. Just knowing that folks like you care makes all the difference!Thanks again!
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  • Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:36 | Linda Sanders
    Hello Lyndon,
    I've been waiting for your blog! When Al posted the first "Learner's" pics on the website, you were among them. In my heart I knew your story would be that of our older Veterans, most likely one of those who served our country honorably but who's service was not recognized or appreciated as it should have been. Thank you for your service.
    I'm so happy you picked up that phone and made the call. You are off to a great start - keep up the good work! And yes, with perseverance, hard work and a mindset to succeed, better days lie ahead. I'll be praying for your journey. God bless,
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    • Friday, January 02, 2009 09:00 | Lyndon Dellis
      The kind words of encouragement are already pushing me to greater heights! thank you so much! Happy New Year!
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  • Wednesday, December 31, 2008 14:06 | Jeffrey Backus
    Lyndon, It took me a few tries to get inside the door to the Veterans Resource Center, and a couple more visits to link up with Al. The moral of my story is keep on trying until the mission is accomplished. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better over then next couple of months. Keep on pecking away at Chapter one. Good Luck.
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    • Friday, January 02, 2009 09:02 | Lyndon Dellis
      Thanks for your comment. This is one mission that I must see successfully accomplished! Happy New Year!
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  • Thursday, January 01, 2009 04:05 | Liz Turner
    Lydon, I'm sure by now you know that there a lot of interested poeple in YOU! The story about the pay phone brought tears to my eyes!! Albert is great and there are a lot of connected people to help you. It's a very difficult economic time right now, but there is a lot of love and appreciation for veterans!! I know you will do well because you are motivated and that is what an employer looks for. I look forward to seeing your resume (that's my job). Liz Turner
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    • Friday, January 02, 2009 09:09 | Lyndon Dellis
      Gosh the comments have all been so positive and kind! I already sense that 2009 is going to be a great year for me. Thank you so much for youy kind words to us vets. It means the world to me. My only hope is that as I progress that I might be able to help some other vets to pull themselves up! Thanks again and Happy Nwe Year!
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  • Saturday, January 03, 2009 08:48 | Daniel Boothe
    Great lead! You captivated me from the first line and your personal experiences really tug at the heart. I look forward to reading more and hope I can help in any way possible. I am only a call away.
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    • Sunday, January 04, 2009 07:04 | Lyndon Dellis
      Thanks for all the help! You have a great future ahead of you and I hope I can contribute something positive to you and your lovely wifes future.Its been great working with you so far and I look forward to the future!
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  • Friday, January 09, 2009 15:20 | Christopher Bush
    Inspiring how you went from down and out to now picking yourself up again and getting back in there and not give in. Good on you brother, I'm honored to be fighting beside you.
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    • Tuesday, January 13, 2009 13:11 | Lyndon Dellis
      Welcome aboard Chris! I look forward to working with you!
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  • Sunday, January 11, 2009 09:37 | Karen Meadows-McGraw
    Gosh I just learned something - got to make sure I edit before I press the button...

    Lyndon, I AM interested in your story! I am the spouse of a active duty soldier, he's a lifer. I am also the sister of a now deceased Vietnam Vet. I remember that era all too well. School age children were wearing dog tags and folks were talking about building bomb shelters. The bases here in Cali were going full bore - including dances every Saturday Night at El Toro and Pendleton! You have alot to offer - most especially to the newbies coming home and trying to transition. I look forward to reading your story - for many reasons. THANK YOU SIR FOR YOUR SERVICE!
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    • Tuesday, January 13, 2009 13:15 | Lyndon Dellis
      thank you so much for taking time to reply! Times are a lot different now than they were then. I nwas proud to serve and would do so again. Your kind words and interest are greatly appreciated!
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  • Tuesday, January 13, 2009 01:48 | Darlena Wills
    Lyndon, I am SO GLAD that you found SVBRC (and Al & the Staff). I cannot wait to read the rest of your blogs. Having known Al a few years, albeit long-distance, I can tell you, he's goal-oriented and a man of action. Hesitation and procrastination are not words in Al's vocabulary. If Al says it, you can count on it coming to pass.

    You, Lyndon, and those like you, are the reason SVBRC was founded. You WILL be back-on-top. You'll get a new truck and a new cell phone. We all experience periods of relative non-success. Try to think of it as a "holding pattern" while you're preparing to achieve great things. Thanks so much for sharing, I can't wait to read more. ~darlena~
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    • Tuesday, January 13, 2009 13:24 | Lyndon Dellis
      It is sometimes a little difficult to put such personal info out there for everyone to see! But I thank you so much for your interest and such kind words. I know that with the good will and sentiments of people such as yourself, that I will indeed be successful once again! thanks again!
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  • Saturday, January 17, 2009 17:58 | Samuel Luna
    Lyndon,I have a lot of respect for vietnam vets,I can imagine all the struggles you guys went through,even after the war.Thanks for being a friend,and for voluteering at the center.God bless you.
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    • Wednesday, January 28, 2009 08:58 | Lyndon Dellis
      Appreciate your comments, Sam. We are in this together so we just have to keep pulling for each other while we also try to help ourselves.
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  • Sunday, January 18, 2009 08:37 | Fielden Coleman
    It has been a pleasure reading your post and talking with you lately. You have a strong sense of commitment that is rare today. I wish you luck as we step through the program.
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    • Wednesday, January 28, 2009 09:01 | Lyndon Dellis
      Great getting to know you Fielden. Just know that I am here for you if there is anything at all I can help you with. I am committed to heiping my fellow vets in need anyway that I can.
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  • Thursday, January 22, 2009 09:45 | Wes Koehler
    Thursday, Jan. 22nd, 1428 hrs. Lyndon: Your blog is starting off great. The "red menace" indeed! And it never went away. It's still here. You and I have been through the same struggles and it's been difficult clinging to the edges of different lifeboats while shadowy unnamed agents pry our fingers loose and back into the water we go again. When I'm at the Fallbrook Center I'll try to help you with your project if I can. Just ask. Keep up the great writing. This will turn out great as the story progresses. WES
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    • Wednesday, January 28, 2009 09:04 | Lyndon Dellis
      Always enjoy our talks Wes. I appreciate your commitment to the center and your fellow veterans. You are an excellent photographer! Keep up the good work.
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  • Wednesday, March 04, 2009 04:02 | Maegan Sakievich
    Thank you for your honesty as you reported your feelings during the last while. You write in such a way that I can picture what you are experiencing. Thank you for sharing that talent with us.

    Please know that there are many out there who respect the service you gave during the Vietnam War. I stand in awe of you and your willingness to serve us. I look forward to reading more in the future.
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  • Sunday, April 12, 2009 04:21 | Fred Scott
    your write up caught my attention real quick when I saw oct, 1962
    I was in the Navy aboard the USS Navarro (APA 215).. came aboard in June of 59 and would be discharge in June of 63..hard to believe it has been 50 yrs since I went aboard..

    we could carry up to 1500 marines, I only served 4 yrs but the four yrs taught this young 18 yr at that time a lot
    your write up is great........

    I appreciate your time served and wish you the best...

    Fred from Tx
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  • Sunday, August 02, 2009 20:37 | Liz Turner
    Lyndon, I am looking forward to reading the next chapter. I am also from the Vietnam era, so I can understand your disappointment. Fortunately you found the SWVBRC! Tell us more.... Liz Turner
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