Follow up- A letter to Mother from Chuck Henry

A letter written by a soldier in Vietnam in 1968 to his parents and brothers in Forks appeared in the Forks Forum in February of that year and it was reprinted again on May 22, 2014. Many people wanted to know what became of the writer of the letter. Here is a follow up from Chuck's sister Jan.

In 1968, Mom and Dad picked Chuck up at Fort Lewis and brought him home. What a reunion! We were living in Kelso at the time but the next day we were in Forks and I got the biggest hug ever (so did Bob). Many tears, too. Stepping back and looking into those big blue eyes, I knew he was the not the same young boy who had left home.

That afternoon, Mom had prepared his favorite meal of a huge pot roast with all the trimmings. The best meal he had in years.
After a couple of months and Chuck had settled in, and we had moved back to Forks, the first order of business was for Bob to bring Chuck into Port Angeles to buy his dream car. A 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner, bright orange with a Hemi engine. One hot car!
The grin on his face when it finally arrived was an amazing transformation. You could see that kid again. The car was so fast and but he was a little intimidated by it, so Chuck had Bob drive it home! It didn’t take him long to get use to it.
Chuck started a job as a sawyer for a mill out toward Neah Bay so for a long time, we didn’t see much of him. While working at the mill, Chuck had an accident and lost three fingers resulting in him moving to Port Angeles to be closer to doctors and treatment. It was at this time, he also had to have two hip replacements from the effects of Agent Orange.
After some time, Chuck was enrolled in a vocational school outside of Seattle but
the day before he was to leave, he was involved in a hit and run accident in Port Angeles. It was a serious head injury and required an airlift to Harborview hospital in Seattle. He was in a coma for a very long time. As he healed, he was finally able to come home but needed care so Mom naturally took care of him.
Much later, Chuck was able to get an apartment in Sequim and now because of the head injury and on going problems from Agent Orange he is living at Retsil Veterans home in Port Orchard.
I’m sure he would like to visit with his many friends and family but I would suggest a phone call first.
Retsil has a website with driving directions.
Washington Veterans Home
PO Box 698 - 1141 Beach Drive
Retsil, WA 98378
Call 360-895-4700 for a tour of this facility.


Jan Gourley, Port Angeles


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