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Volunteer scout

"Volunteer scout" Continued...

“He was the greatest find,” Arndt said. “There were 10-15 of us who were really close at Ft. Hood. The great thing is when Kitty finds guys for us, you get to talk to them and know they’re OK. You just don’t talk about [Vietnam] to anyone else.”

Doug Dowson attended the Nashville reunion, his second. He was one of Millard’s “finds” and remembered the call he received from her three years ago. It caught him off guard. “Wow,” he remembered thinking. “Somebody has an interest in us.”

Millard uses the same script for the thousands of phone calls she has made. The call to Dowson went something like this:

Dowson: Hello.

Millard: Is this Doug Dowson of Charlie Company 5th/46th, 198th Light Infantry Brigade who served in Vietnam from September 1968 to September 1969?

Dowson: Yes.

Millard: Welcome home and thank you for your service to your country.

After that the responses vary from stunned silence to “Are you with Veterans Affairs?”

“No,” she replies. “I’m just a normal housewife.”

A normal housewife whose unusual service has brought peace and comfort to thousands of men still suffering from a 40-year-old war.

“My purpose is to help them heal from the traumatic experiences they had,” Millard said. “I can listen to them so they can go on with their lives.”

—Bonnie Pritchett is a writer living in League City, Texas

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