While travelling with Tours of Peace Vietnam Veterans there are many moments of bravery.
Veterans who have survived a war and perhaps years of rehabilitation and healing confront the memories which they have carried for many years.
Each veteran's story is one of courage, either on the battle field or in revisiting the sites where their youthful innocence was lost.
Jess is the Founder and CEO of TOP. He has provided the opportunity for countless veterans to return to Vietnam over the last twenty years. Each trip is planned so that the veterans under his guidance can return to the exact site (or close to it) where vivid memories were etched in their young hearts so many years ago. Quiet and contemplative, Jess honours each veteran today as he has for so many trips.
Doug on the left and Elliot on the right have both returned to Vietnam twice with TOP. Both are kind and sensitive to the experiences of all the men on the trip and openly share their feelings and reactions.
Bruce on the left has travelled with TOP 8 times and is now the expert at map reading, research and navigating for all significant sites. Steve on the right has travelled with TOP 4 years in succession, and is now the "glue" for all of the humanitarian project goods.
This is Chuck, another TOP returnee. As you can see he embodies the goodwill and spirit of our humanitarian projects and is the first man in on the fun at orphanages and care homes. He also is an armchair scholar of the Vietnam war and shares valuable data to help us all understand many of the tactical events of the war.
This is Anh. He is a veteran from the Vietnamese side of the conflict. A survivor, as a child of a New Economic zone and labour as a rice farmer, he has grown from an uneducated rural child to become a university graduate, excellent translator and a "miracle" worker in keeping us on track and on time through some precarious travel. Without Anh's resourcefulness, we would not get through all of the regulatory red tape and find the individuals and communities who benefit from our donations.
Hen gap lai! (See you again!)