Hudson Valley Man Who Served in Vietnam Honored as ‘Vet Who Rocks’
Every month WPDH honors another Hudson Valley vet by sharing the story of their service and contribution to the community.
This month's Vet Who Rocks is Harry Cullen. The Vietnam vet was nominated by his daughter Stacy, who wrote us the following letter about her father's story:
I have been listening to WPDH for decades. Every year I say I am going to nominate my father and another year goes by. Harry is now 76 yrs old which seems unimaginable. The thought of him getting old never really crossed my brothers' or my mind. He is still the charismatic, handsome guy I imagine he always was, even when he was 18 and enlisted in The Marine Corp to go off to Vietnam.
His father was a veteran of WWII, was an alcoholic and did not work. My father, being the oldest of five grew up very fast. He dropped out of high school when he was 15 to support his family, getting various jobs in Queens, NY.
When he was 18, my dad enlisted in the Marine Corp. When his two best friends found out, they immediately went to the recruiter's office in Peekskill, NY where they all lived and enlisted. Unfortunately, his two best friends never came home.
My father was a front-line gunner at 18 years old in a jungle called Vietnam. Now that my brothers and I are well into our adulthood, when Harry gets some drinks in him we hear the most breathtaking stories about his experience of that time in his life, good and mostly bad stories of what he lived during that time. We just recently found out that since leaving Vietnam, our father has had this CONSTANT RINGING IN HIS EARS. This is 54 years later. He is finally telling not just his VA Doctors but his children as well.
He never once bragged or even discussed the heroism he and his fellow brothers deserve. Like 90% of other vets, he kept everything inside. It has made me smile but mostly made me cry for the man I never really had the opportunity to know but mostly for the young boy that saw and did things he never should have had to, He is a hero, he is a Marine, he is my Father.
Thank you to Stacy for sharing the incredible story of your father's service. In appreciation for all he's done, Harry will receive $500 for being this month's WPDH Vet Who Rocks. He will also be in the running for $10,000 which will be handed out to one monthly honoree on Veteran's Day this November.
Thank you to our partners: Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Unity Ambulette, Xterior Solutions and Mental Health America of Dutchess County.