A Place to Come Home: Meet Vietnam Veteran Mr. Herman

Homeowner Mr. Herman loves a lot of things. He loves joking around and he loves a good book. Most of all, he loves his children. Herman has three sons and one daughter.  After four months in Vietnam, he received a letter accompanied by a photo informing him of the birth of his oldest son.  To say he was a proud papa is an understatement. 


Mr. Herman joined the United States Air Force after college, which is how he served three years in Vietnam. He worked on McDonnell F101 Voodoo aircraft. His favorite part of the service? The sharp Air Force uniforms and the “cold, cold beer.” Herman now lives in the same home he would return to when he came home from Vietnam. 


These days, Herman spends his time meeting new people by playing pinochle, cutting his grass, and hanging out in his man-cave. He goes to Walmart once every other week. He wears his US Air Force hat each time he goes. Someone always thanks him for his service and they offer to help him. Mr. Herman says, “I don’t ask for help but if somebody wants to give help… I most graciously receive it.” 


His attitude to graciously receive help was apparent when his home needed repairs. 


His favorite place, the man-cave (a special home project he completed soon after retiring) soon showed signs of wear. Not long after, it became difficult for him to get in and out of this part of the house using a walker. It wasn’t just his man-cave that needed critical repairs. Over time, this 60-year-old home was in need of critical repairs. 


Rebuild Upstate volunteers from the Handyman Club worked through new COVID-19 volunteer policies to keep Mr. Herman safe. They spent the days joking alongside Mr. Herman while keeping his safety at the forefront of their work.


“They put the ramp up to my front porch that makes it much much easier to bring things into the house. Before, I would shop and put things in my walker, but when I got to my porch I had to step up to the porch. Most of the time it [groceries] would fall off my walker.” All in all, the Handyman Club built a new ramp, repaired the floor, installed new storm doors, and made his bathroom more accessible for aging in place. 


Mr. Herman shares that when he walked, sometimes the floor would shake. “In my china cabinet, things would rattle because the floor was not supported properly. What they did was jack up the floor to make it level. I want to do that myself but… I’m on a fixed income and I’m retired. I did what I could do but they did something I could not afford.” He said that he can now “enjoy my house much much much more.” After all, it is where he feels at peace.


With a home safe and secure, Mr. Herman wishes to fulfill his lifelong dream: to travel throughout the country and see the Nation’s wonders. He’s been to several foreign countries but wants to take his time slowly through New Orleans, the Redwoods, Niagara Falls, and Mt. Rushmore. His only stipulations for the road trip? Be gone and to not drive at night.


Mr. Herman was overwhelmed by the great work done by the Rebuild Upstate volunteers and says he can’t express his gratitude enough. For our team, helping a veteran and long-standing community member like Mr. Herman means the pleasure is all ours.


Interested in hearing more stories from those who’ve served in the armed forces? Meet volunteer and veteran Michael or explore more stories here.