Chance encounters at the American Legion Annual Convention

Veterans who served together 16 years prior meet up en route to event


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Joe, Matt, and Benjamin

Joe Worley, Matthew Campbell, and Joe’s service dog Galaxy at Detroit International Airport.

Two Veterans who once served together and hadn’t seen each other for 16 years met en route to the American Legion Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

VA Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation (OPCC&CT) Field Implementation Consultant Matthew Campbell was at the airport gate in Detroit, Mich., awaiting a connection to Indianapolis when he looked over and and saw a Veteran in a wheelchair with his service dog. Campbell noticed one of the Veteran’s legs was severely injured and he was also an amputee. He approached the Veteran in the wheelchair and asked what branch he served in. When the Veteran replied, “Navy,” Campbell said that he, too, had been in the Navy and that he served as a Corpsman. The Veteran responded that he had also been a Corpsman.

Campbell smiled. The Veteran in the wheelchair was his buddy, Joe Worley.

Worley suddenly stood up, and the two Vets embraced one another. It was then they realized they had served together 16 years previous at medical training in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Campbell and Worley shared how they were both going to the American Legion National Convention and agreed to catch up with one another soon. Neither realized how fast the reunion would be. That same afternoon while Campbell was setting up his booth at the convention, he looked up to see America’s VetDogs booth. It was Worley’s booth!

Here they were standing across from each other for the second time in the same day after 16 years, and their booths were directly across from one another.

On resiliency

OPCC & CT staff were slated to present to the American Legion‘s Health Administration Committee. Campbell grabbed Worley and said, “Joe, let’s go, brother, I’ve got an idea.”

At the end of Campbell’s presentation, one of his slides addressed resiliency. One slide, specifically, showed a Veteran, who is an amputee, on top of a hill with his arms raised, celebrating his success of climbing that mountain. On stage, as Campbell began to speak, he asked everyone to take a moment to reflect on the picture.

“Think about all the setbacks, surgeries, rehab, training and specific goals that this Veteran had to set to make it to the top of that mountain.” he said. “That is what Resiliency is! Brothers and sisters this morning that man is here with us today.”

Joe Worley then stood up and shared how VA’s Whole Health program had saved his life. As Worley spoke, members of the crowd began to cry. And then the room burst into applause.

Campbell continued: “Let me tell you. There is nothing more humbling and gratifying than the work I get to do each day with our Veterans. This moment is the exact reason I am in healthcare and here today. I will never forget this, and will forever cherish our brotherhood and remember all things work for a reason, and this story has meaning and purpose.”

With the help of a chance encounter, Campbell’s message was clear to all in attendance.

Author

Tony Davis

Tony Davis joined the VA in March 2016 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tony is a retired Army Intelligence Officer and combat veteran. After retiring from the Army, Tony served as the Country Director for all USO operations in South Korea before returning to the US and joining the VA. In his current assignment, Tony covers Veterans, Family, and Community Engagement activities for New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Comments

  1. Marc C. Daniele    

    To Hell with “The American Legion”!
    “The American Legion” has banned USS Liberty Survivors from it’s “national convention”, for BS reasons!
    This so called “Veterans Service Org.” cares more about protecting the easily provable false ally known as “israel” than it does about Veterans!

    For those who read this, I suggest you all learn the real facts about The Deliberate Attack on The USS Liberty (June 8, 1967, 34 Americans Murdered, and another 174 injured), and it’s cover-up. Not to mention, what “The American Legion” has NOT done to help the Survivors of this Deliberate Attack!

    I also suggest you learn about some of the other Acts of War, espionage, etc. against the US Republic by the easily provable false ally known as “israel”, ie: “The Lavon Affair”, Jonathan Pollard/”ADL”/”AIPAC” Treason/s, the theft of nearly 750lbs of US Weapons Grade Uranium from NUMEC (Apollo, Penn.), the theft of US Nuclear Triggers, the “harassment” of US Marines just prior to the Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing (Letter from Marine Commandant Barrow to Def. Sec. Casper Weinberger), the past/ongoing theft of US High Tech (civilian and military), etc.

    Over $10 Million PER DAY in “aid” goes to “israel” despite it being a violation of US Law, ie: “The Symington Amendment” (basically-no US “aid” is to be given to any nuclear armed nations that does not sign the nuclear arms non proliferation treaty. “israel” has over 200 nukes, much of which is STOLEN US Tech/Materials, and REFUSES to sign the NPT).
    Do you think “The American Legion” says anything about this illegal “aid” to “israel” even-though it knows that thousands of Veterans are homeless, Veterans get half-assed, at best, “medical care” (Illegals get better medical care), the US infrastructure is crumbling, etc.? Hell No!

    Unlike “The American Legion”- MY OATH DOES NOT EXPIRE UNTIL I DO!
    US Army Vet,
    Marc C. Daniele

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