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Carl Stancil, Humanitarian Veteran

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Carl Stancil, Humanitarian Veteran

<www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/03.26.03/heroes-0313.html>

From a spare bedroom in the upstairs of his Santa Cruz home, Vietnam veteran Carl Stancil runs the U.S. headquarters for the Vietnam Friendship Village Project
Founded in 1993 and run by a coalition of American, Vietnamese, French, Japanese and German veterans, the Village is now home to over 100 Vietnamese children and veterans with serious mental and physical disabilities from the war. Many of the Friendship Village residents are suffering from the lingering effects of Agent Orange, a toxic substance U.S. forces sprayed to kill foliage concealing the enemy.
The Village includes housing, a medical clinic, a school and lush gardens. Stancil leads the efforts locally and nationally to raise funds for the Village’s operating costs, as well as additional facilities. In the past seven years, he has raised about $75,000.
Stancil also regularly organizes educational events. On April 16, he is kicking off a month-long tour of California and Oregon, speaking at schools and churches and to community groups. He seeks to inform people about the Village and help them understand the effects of war, particularly the rarely acknowledged devastation caused by Agent Orange.
“Most of us have no clue what it means to have a war in terms of the lives of individuals,” he says.
Stancil first got involved with the project in 1996 when he traveled back to Vietnam for the first time since 1968. Upon crossing the border into Vietnam, he was deeply moved by the spirit of the Vietnamese people and how they greeted him warmly, even though he had once fought against them. He has embraced the Village project as a way to help the Vietnamese and create peace, unity and emotional healing for veterans like himself.
“I see it as not only helping the children to be more functional, but helping the broader issue of healing from conflict,” he says.
Info about the project can be found on the web at www.vietnamfriendship.org.
Somewhere in the haze of the war coverage and ever-shifting levels of terrorism alert, the real story and the larger perspective of what is going on between the U.S. and the Middle East has gotten lost. In trying to filter through all the information and with the massive polarization on the issue, most of us are bewildered about exactly what is happening or why.
 
 


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