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My first blog entry

Saturday, February 07, 2009 22:03 | George Keyes
Greeting to all that read this:
I am about to tell you a story that made my life interesting.
After graduating from high school I went directly to USNTC San Diego, CA, What a culture shock. I had no idea what I was in for. I thought that the military was going to be a snap. Then the drill people got hold of us and we found that we were in VERY bad shape.
I played football and thought I was in good physical shape. I was wrong.We marched and did push ups and all the rest until we thought we were going to die. But, of course we did not die. We became military personnel.
I server in the Navy between the Koran action and Viet Nam.
 I went to Hospital Corps school at Balboa Naval Hospital, and graduated 2nd in my class.
After being released from the Navy I returned home and started working in a civilian hospital and found that all the experience gained in the Navy was a waste. I could  use that experience only if I went back to school.
I was determined to continue working in the medical field, so went back to school and became an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) in 1990. I did a lot of other thing and tried many more, but found that my calling was to be a nurse.
I worked in civilian hospitals in the ER, OR, patient care, ICU, and Long Term care, doctors office and home health and cared of children with sever disabilities. After my divorce I mover to Washington state and married my wife, now after   5 yrs. I am very happy with my life. I retired in 2003 after working in the health care industry for 30 years, I have gone back to work driving a wheelchair van.
Life is good and I am enjoying it to the utmost.

So much of my life is a blur that I am not sure that I can remember all of it. My first wife and the mother of my children and I started life in the San Francisco bay area. She was headed for Hawaii with friends and decided to stop of and work in aa hospital. We met there and got married and started our family. We had 1 son and 2 daughters. Today they all are grown and have families of thier own.  I have 3 grand children, and to my chrigrin I do not see them very often. My son lives in the Sacramento, Calif. area, and my oldest daughte live in Indiana and my youngest lives in Texas. Each has thier own familys. I can only hope that there are happy with the life they have chosen.

After 9/11 I moved to Vancouver, WA to be closer to my sister. It appears that she and my present wife are my family.
About 10years ago I contracted Diabetes and have been doing medications and now insulin injections daily. I know that I will get any better but I hope that I will nnot get worse. It does take its toll on the body and mind.


  • Sunday, February 08, 2009 08:52 | George Keyes
    I shave been asked to comment the information given at the orientation session. My problem is that I do not know about "models" and I need a person to talk to me at my level of understanding. I know that Al lives and breaths this project, but I also know that if he wants others to join and become learners and help there fellow veterans we need to learn to talk to them and not at them. All the information that Al gives is great and he is doing this for the benefit of veterans ever where. We all need to help Al and talk to friends and buddies ever chance we get.
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  • Tuesday, February 10, 2009 02:26 | Jeffrey Backus
    Mr Keyes, first, Thank You for your service to our great country. Seconc, Thank You for being the first Learner in the State of Washington. I spent most of my growing up years in the small town of Orting a "few" miles to the north of Vancouver. I look forward to reading more of your words in the near future.
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  • Tuesday, February 10, 2009 13:43 | Samuel Luna
    Mr.keyes,good to see that you are writing and hope to hear more of your story,very interesting so far.Thanks for your service and good luck in your future,God bless.
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  • Sunday, February 15, 2009 08:53 | Chris Thayer
    Dear Mr. Keyes,
    How wonderful to hear from you and that you are the first Learner in Washington state. Do you go by Matt or George?

    Thank you for your service and for your dedication to our country. You were in the Navy during difficult times of war – both the Korean War and Vietnam War. Thank you for fighting for our freedoms. I am so glad you continued in nursing after you got out of the Navy, even though you had to continue your education to do so. I hope that is something that can be improved in the future for our veterans; that one’s military training and service can more easily be applied toward civilian licensing. You have earned the privilege to transition your life with ease and support. I see Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center striving to do that.

    I loved what you said about Albert Renteria and his vision for veterans. All of us at one time or another have had to ask him to “slow down” and “say that again in plain English!” He is so determined and so focused that we all have to run to catch up with him at times. Thank goodness though, as he has recognized a need in our country to serve our veterans and has an urgency to get the word out and to implement programs that will work. What is in place in our nation now is not working at the level it needs to be working. I don’t understand completely either but I know Al wants to empower everyone to have their own business, to understand how to do that and to understand the process it takes to do so. And if not their own business then the tools to have good paying jobs to support their families and their dreams. These goals will help all of the veterans now and in the future to transition into the communities they come home to and live happy, healthy and financially secure lives, removing the statistic that 25% of all homeless people are veterans.

    I look forward to hearing more from you soon. I can tell you have a big heart and a strong desire to help others. That is something I am noticing as I learn more about all of our veterans as a volunteer community member with SWVBRC.
    God Bless and take care, Chris (Christine)
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  • Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:26 | Lyndon Dellis
    Great to see the first learner inthe great state of Washington. I am a Vietnam Era Vet and so I think we are close in age. Great start and I look forward to reading more.
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    • Friday, February 20, 2009 09:38 | Eleanor Tobias
      Matt, in spite of the fact that we were not raised together, having different mothers and living in different states, these past years we have grown close as brother and sister. I am so very proud, not only of your Navy service as corpsman, which was worthy, but the profession you chose to continue as a civilian. Every thing you do, whether as a volunteer or not, is always to benefit others. I tell you this at the risk of you having to get a different hat size! It is with great pride I call you my brother.

      And now, here you are the first Learner in Washington, dedicating help and support for our wonderful veterans!
      God Bless you! Love, Fran

      Link  •  Reply
  • Sunday, March 29, 2009 09:18 | Darlena Wills
    George, very interesting story. We never think of our own lives as being interesting but they ARE interesting to other people. Check out the popularity of reality tv shows. Being a nurse isn't a job, it's a calling. I seriously considered it but ultimately decided I'd do better in another line of work. I applaud your going back to school when you got out of the Navy. Think about how easy it would've been to just take a job, any job, and start earning a paycheck and chuck away the experience you had in the Navy. But you didn't take the easy route and it turned out being a good career choice that served you well for 30 years. It's too bad your family isn't closer. Distance makes visiting a chore for everyone because you have to set aside time and money to travel. It's really great that your wife and sister get along well, now if you could convince the others to move closer. :-)
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  • Tuesday, April 28, 2009 15:52 | George Keyes
    This past summer my wife and I took a vacation that was to last 6 weeks. Will, and fate would have it we spent 4 of those weeks in California in the drive way of some very special friends. They open there home and there hearts to Dee and I and we spent that time doing many of the things that I had promised my mother and others that I would do.
    However, during the time spent in California I started what I called the death of me.
    I became very dehydrated and not eating, or drinking water. Many times I thought that it was time for me to check out. But due to my bride I came through that time and found a deeper love of God and all the He stands for. I thank all my wonderful friends and family that helped me get though a very rough time.
    I can only hope that some time in my life I can pay them back, or help someone else in there hour of need. I keep trying to understand Diabetes and the terrible effects it has on the human body. All I can do is lecture and give out information that I hope they read and get interested in there own health and body.
    Thanks to all that have responded to my blog. Keep writing as it helps me to continue to write.
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    • Wednesday, May 06, 2009 08:21 | Carol Grice
      Dear George,
      A Navy Corpsman. One of my favorite people. I have always thought my Corpsmen were indeed part of the reason I was successful as a Navy Nurse. I praise your dedication to the health care field and Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service to our country. Following retirement one of my clinical specialities was a Diabetic Teaching Nurse. Although I retired from Nursing 11 years ago I think my brain might still be functioning well enough to answer questions regarding your Insulin Dependent Type II Diabetes. I wish you well in your management of this difficult disease and I strongly recommend you carefully watch your Blood Sugar levels.
      Again, Thank you for your service
      Link  •  Reply
  • Monday, May 25, 2009 03:58 | Mary Camacho
    Hey Matt---I met you yesterday May 24 at the open house in Vancouver.When I read your first blog I asked my brother Gary St. Germain "Is this the man transports you to your VA appts?
    Gary was delighted to see your happy face!! Matt I voluntered
    to go to the center on Wednesday 12-3 maybe see you there? Mary Camacho
    Link  •  Reply
    • Thursday, May 28, 2009 19:57 | Chris Thayer
      Dear Mary,
      How wonderful that you have signed up and are volunteering to work at the new Vancouver center. Fran and Matt will be delighted to have the help also. I heard the grand opening was wonderful and a great turn out from the community.
      Even though I am in California I feel so connected to all of you - one of the wonders of the Internet! God Bless you and your husband for your service to our country. Chris
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  • Saturday, June 06, 2009 08:01 | Frances Lowe
    It was very interesting reading about you life so far and I look forward to your next posting. I was particularly interested in you understanding of Al. Quite a unique individual. I thank you for your service to our country and look forward to more of your inspiring words.
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  • Tuesday, June 09, 2009 06:20 | Daniel Boothe
    Mr. Keyes, we all go through trials and hard times that I like to chalk up to ordinary everyday life. Of course some times are more trying than others, but with the Southwest Veteran Business Resource Center at our fingertips there is nothing we can't accomplish. I look forward to one day meetin you, but until then you can contact me with anything I can do to help.
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  • Thursday, June 18, 2009 09:32 | Tim Richardson

    I have enjoyed talking with you here at the Vancouver Center. It's always fun to swap stories with another Navy guy. Thank you for your service and the continuing service that you provide to the community and our Veterans.

    All the best,

    Link  •  Reply
  • Wednesday, July 01, 2009 09:49 | James Smith
    Here to support you with information, knowledge, leadership and friendship.

    Here 24/7... Call anytime!

    Jim Smith
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  • Saturday, July 18, 2009 18:59 | Terri Newhouse
    George, I just read your blog. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure you have a lot of stories to tell, can't wait to read more. thank you so much for your service. Also congratulations on being the first Learner in Washington.
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  • Saturday, August 08, 2009 06:44 | Paul Thompson
    George, you are a courageous person and the stories you share are so compelling. I don't know what I can do to help you but I do work for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and I have assisted many veterans in helping them obtain homeownership with our VA progams. In addition, I have refinanced many existing homeowners financially by helping lower their interest rates.
    I hope I can be of financial assistance to you or at least an ear to lend to you. I am a very compassionate person.

    Best of luck with you. I can be reached at or 360-574-0753.
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  • Monday, August 31, 2009 10:24 | Taffy Dalby
    Thank you for your knowledge and experience which has helped so many, including Southwest Veterans and a generous community assest. I hope your diabetes can be halted and this controlled for your enjoyment of life.

    Taffy Dalby RN
    Operation Interdependence
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  • Monday, November 30, 2009 12:19 | Chip Dykes
    My apologies for not commenting on your blog sooner. As you know if you get around Al, it is easy to have your head filled with 100 things to do at exactly that minute!! Please continue to spread the good word in your area. I am going to need guys like you on the ground to help me in my responsibilities as VP of Business Development.

    Semper Fi
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  • Sunday, January 24, 2010 06:38 | Jami Price
    Hello George! It's been a while since you have updated everyone. I hope that you are doing good and I hope to learn more about you Sir!
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  • Wednesday, March 10, 2010 09:12 | Jeff Bier
    Time for your second blog entry.
    Link  •  Reply

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