With teary eyes and a firm handshake, one veteran stood tall while accepting a kind reminder that his pledge to serve his county hadn’t gone unnoticed.


With teary eyes and a firm handshake, one veteran stood tall while accepting a kind reminder that his pledge to serve his county hadn’t gone unnoticed.
“This group here, they’re disabled veterans. And they are more in need than I am, so that makes it very special,” said 74-year-old Leon Zellner, who accepted a $500 check on behalf of the Disabled American Veterans Wednesday at the Veterans’ Center.
Zellner was among four victims who were impacted by the storm that tore through southern Oklahoma. Each of the men chosen served their country in various periods in American history, but each received a $500 check to help with the cost of rebuilding their lives.
Hanvey James, 68, and Carlton Eanes, 56 were two other veterans who received the checks made out in their names in high spirts. And JoAnne Graham came to accept the check on behalf of her husband Donald.
“These are tornado victims and they are vets. “They are veterans and we help veterans” said Burt Gibbs, Disabled American Veterans chapter 30 commander. “All of these folks suffered a tremendous loss and as disabled veterans in chapter 30 we extend our help and assistance to these veterans. As long as a man is a vet we will assist them.”
Adm. Wesley Hull, chairman of the Carter County Veterans Council, added that it was a pleasure to help assist the four veterans and their families during such a difficult period, but the hard part was actually tracking the four down.
“You find one and you ask them do you know of any other,” Hull said. “And you just keep searching .We may miss someone and we regret that if we do. But we do our best to find the veterans that were impacted in this tornado.”
Just that effort alone is what made Hanvey James feel honored.
“It’s a pretty good feeling for a Vietnam veteran to have anything given to them,” said James, who added that his one-story home in Majestic Hills was totaled. “It’s like you go through it and do what you have to do. That’s life. You pick it up and put it back together and go on. You do what you have to do to live.”
Keith Howard, 221-6542
keith.howard@ardmoreite.com