Murk Alexander

About three months ago I had the good fortune to be referred to the Veterans Group that meets on Wednesday night for about an hour at the Church. A non-combat veteran, who knows me fairly well, suggested I attend one of the meetings. At first I was somewhat skeptical of attending for I have met many non-combat vets, who I respect for having served, but who don’t quite have the same perspective of what “we” experienced. Happily, I have found a “home” where the others attending talk the same “language” I do, and where I have the real feeling that as our coordinator, Bobby Farmer, says, “we got your back.” This experience has been a real blessing for me.

I served in Vietnam in 1968-69 in the Mobile Riverine Force, running river assault and patrol in the Mekong Delta, and operating with elements of the Ninth Infantry Div.. Often times I felt as though I was part Army and Navy. That 12 months in country turned out to be the most significant time of my life, and unfortunately has had a “controlling” effect on me ever since. About 30 days before I was due to come home, I was wounded, not seriously, and ended up at the VA hospital in Durham, NC. That was the start of a “bad” relationship with the VA. I checked myself out of the Hospital after about 3 days, and never thought of the VA again until 1998. Long story short I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1998 due to Agent Orange exposure, and started getting treatment. During that time I was diagnosed with PTSD and ended up in various individual and group therapy sessions at the VA here in Columbia. I have to say that now I am very appreciative of the VA system and all the help and assistance I have received from it. I have participated in several “groups” at the VA, and felt I was among “friends” and felt secure. For what ever reason the VA here in Columbia has gotten away from group therapy and I have missed the benefit of being with kindred vets.
The “group” that I now attend at the Church has been a blessing for me and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it. In our group, we have members that served in WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and range in rank from E-3 to 0-6, yet we are “all the same.” I could not have imagined such a group of men representing such a range of experiences together in one place talking the same “language.” I look forward to this Wednesday group, and feel as though it is a once in a lifetime experience to be able to talk with and learn from men that have fought and defended our Country going back to WW II.
I hope and pray you will give the new group starting up a chance and that get to know Bobby Farmer and his dedication to this effort. It is never to late to start the “healing” process.
Very Respectfully, Murk Alexander