Hank Lemoine, Veteran
USA – Vietnam
Narragansett, Rhode Island – 06-22-20
ABOUT THE MISSION:
Patriot Guard Riders and Associates, we have been asked to provide a flag line to welcome home Hank Lemoine as he returns home to spend his final days on Block Island. Hank joined the fray by enlisting in the U.S. Army in June of 1968. He was shipped off to Officer Candidate School in Columbus, Georgia. Soon after, according to Toni, “he saw the handwriting on the wall.” Vietnam was in his future either as a second lieutenant (notoriously first killed in battle) or in the infantry. He opted out of school and received orders to go to Fort Shafter on the island of Oahu. Toni followed Hank to Hawaii, and remained there when he was shipped to Vietnam. During his tour in Vietnam, Hank served as a squad leader and radio man. He earned the nickname “Water Buffalo” because of his ability to carry the heavy radio equipment through the delta’s muddy waters. After two years, he received an honorable discharge. By 2014, Hank noticed increasing problems with his balance and gait. He went to the doctor and got devastating news. The issues he was having couldn’t be chalked up to aging. They were symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, probably linked to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam almost a half-century earlier. While Hank had hoped to pick up his running pace during retirement, the Parkinson’s symptoms started accelerating instead. In 2018, Toni and Hank managed a visit to Block Island. But within a year, Hank had a bad fall that Toni describes as the “fast-forward button” on his disease. The VA now classifies him as 100 percent service-related disabled. Most recently, his red-blood cell count plunged, indicating myelodysplastic syndrome, also called bone-marrow failure disorder, another illness commonly linked to Agent Orange exposure. Hank “Water Buffalo” Lemoine, who used to carry radios in the field in Vietnam, now struggles to find the strength to scratch his nose. He is fed, turned and bathed by others. These are just excerpts from the Providence Journal article. On Monday we are going to provide a flag line to give Hank the welcome home that he never got when he returned from Vietnam.
PRIMARY STAGING DETAILS: 06-22-20
Staging Time: 3:30 PM
Pt. Judith ferry terminal
304 Great Island Road.
Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882
There will be no reserved parking for the PGR so please park wherever you can safely.
Flags & Water:
Flags will be provided
Large Bike Flags will NOT be needed.
Water WILL NOT be provided, please bring your own.
Submitted By: Michael Graichen
Position: Rhode Island HOTH Coordinator
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