In 1967, when David Cantrell received his notice from the U.S. Government that he was designated as 1A and would soon be drafted, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. David comes from a large family. Four of his brothers served our country, only David was sent to Vietnam.
His Basic Training was completed in 1967 at Parris Island in South Carolina, and his additional training was completed at Camp Pendleton, California. From there, he deployed to Vietnam.
David was awarded two Purple Hearts for his injuries. He spent most of his service in Vietnam outside of Da Nang where he was wounded the first time. He was later on a mission in the jungle in the A Shau Valley when he was wounded a second time and sent home.
David struggles with nerve damage in his arms, legs, and hands. He has metal in him from head to toe. He is unable to write, tie his shoes, or even eat with his right hand, and when using his left hand, he needs assistance. He also suffers from the long term effects of exposure to Agent Orange.
David does not speak much about his time in Vietnam, which is typical of most of our Vietnam Veterans. A Shau Valley was very intense with conflicts at the time, and the memories are difficult for him to bring back. “It took a while to get over where I had been and get back into civilian life,” said David.
After David returned to the states, he started working in Gaston County in North Carolina as a welder-fabricator.
David and his wife struggle with day to day living due to health issues. Their home needs new footers and beams in the flooring to help stabilize the house, along with assistance in their bathroom. David wants to be assured his wife Sherry will be left with a good home. “She is my rock,” David says. “She means everything to me. She takes such good care of me, and I love her so much.” They have been married 47 years.
David and Sherry appreciate Purple Heart Homes coming in to help get their home to where it should be, not only for mobility issues, but also for their safety. “Purple Heart Homes is a great organization. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” says David.
Thank you for your service, Mr. Cantrell. We are so proud to be able to assist you, and we welcome you and your wife, Sherry, to the Purple Heart Homes family.