POWER OF HEALING
Jill and Fred Grimm of Palm City have dedicated many years to aiding Vietnamese people through their work with the D.O.V.E. Fund.
Vietnamese, veterans benefit from
philanthropic efforts to ease the scars of war
BY ALISON O’LEARY
Travel changes people by opening their eyes to new cultures
and ways of life. But Fred Grimm, who was just
a year out of high school in April 1969, did not choose
to visit the distant and exotic country of Vietnam. Yet after
being drafted to serve in the Army during the undeclared
war there, he remembers being pleasantly surprised for the
first day or two by the country’s lush greenery and friendly
people. That first impression might be what changed his life
— and the lives of many others — for the better.
The honeymoon phase of his deployment with the 39th
Combat Engineer Battalion American Division (where his
unit constructed a bridge and guarded a landing zone) was
brief as he was wounded by shrapnel just four months later.
After recovering in a Japanese hospital he returned home
to Minster, Ohio, and into the arms of his childhood sweetheart,
Jill. They were married within months, but he says he
thought of Vietnam thousands of times in the years that followed
as the couple raised their family in Ohio and joined the
Harbour Ridge community in Palm City in 1990. Both retired
(she from her interior design business) in 2016.
“I remember he actually wrote to me about how beautiful
the country was and how nice the people in little towns
were,” Jill remembers of her GI’s much-anticipated letters
home. “He said that he thought it would be a great vacation
spot some day.”
This year the couple returned to Vietnam with seven of
their Harbour Ridge neighbors, but not for a luxury vacation.
After raising $51,000, the group, which included 23 donors,
dedicated a three-room daycare center in a poor village of
rice farmers and fishermen. >>