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Veteran Stories

Keith Walls

Born and raised in West Virginia, Keith Walls has always taken the act of service seriously, both inside and outside of the military.

Keith was drafted into the Vietnam War as a Marine back in 1971. Aside from the Draft, Keith cites that his inspiration for serving our country came from John F. Kennedy’s words: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” He completed his basic training at Parris Island, SC, and then completed his individual training as an Anti-Tank Assault Man at Camp Pendleton, CA. Keith served in the 2nd Bn. 4th Mar. 3rd Mar. Div. in Camp Hansen, Okinawa, before participating in Operation Eagle Pull and Operation Frequent Wind, where he helped evacuate over 7,000 refugees along with the U.S. Ambassador. He also participated in the rescue of SS Mayaguez, an incident that resulted in 41 deaths. Keith ranked as a Sergeant before he was honorably discharged in 1978.

The transition back to civilian life was a struggle. Keith told us, “It was bad out there. It was difficult finding a job. The wounds you sustained both overseas and back home run deep.” Eventually, he got involved with the Marine Corps League, DHL Detachment #981 in Clarksburg, WV. Keith earned both the National Silver and Bronze Awards for recruiting a total of 79 members within 2 years in the state of West Virginia. To this day, Keith claims that his interests pertain mainly to community and humanitarian service, along with being involved in his church.

During his military service, Keith sustained severe Post-Traumatic Stress, claiming, “You don’t have to be there long in order to be traumatized.” Keith also suffers from side effects of Agent Orange from South Vietnam and Contaminated Water from Camp Lejeune, NC, including cancer, degenerative arthritis, sciatic nerves, vertigo, and difficulty with walking. Through it all, Keith receives endless support from his wife, Kimmie. “She’s my soulmate,” says Keith.

Purple Heart Homes will provide the following home renovations: enclosing the Walls’ porch, updating their kitchen, repairing their lighting, providing a new roof, and making their entire house handicap accessible. When asked what the intervention from Purple Heart Homes means, Keith is elated. “There are no words to describe what this means. It’s a very emotional process. We’re so grateful for Purple Heart Homes,” shares Keith.

We’re so grateful for your services Keith. Thank you for all that you’ve endured, and welcome to the Purple Heart Homes family!

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