Monday, April 1, 2024

2023 Donations

2023 turned out to be a great year for donations from family and friends. Over $3000 was donated. The number of orphaned children has decreased but there is always a need for outside support Here is the latest picture of the permanent community. 2023, also, was a year that I finally met the Euopean contact for the orphanage, Christian Phillippe. He was able to come to my home for two nights where we finally shared our much talked about apertif since I contacted him in 2008. He also met two friends of mine who he had contacted previosly when he found out that their dad was a World War II Veteran. Christian treated us to dinner and much conversation. Christian's association with Kim Long goes back to the early 2000s. Through Christian, I have been invited back to Vietnam in 2026 to attend the 70th Anniversary of Sister Chantal's time in the St. Paul ministry. Once again, I thank all who have donated, both new and annual regular donors. Your kindness is much appreciated.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

2022 donations

Once again, my family and friends came through and I was able to send $2500 USD or about 58 million Viet Nam Dong to the orphanage. if interested, please contact me Here are the children that are recipients of your generosity.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

2020 updates

It has been a while since I have posted anything on this blog. I still have been active in fund raising for the orphanage and have been very fortunate to have been able to send an average of $2000 annually each Christmas season. To date, thanks to family and friends, I have been able to send $18,500 to the children of Kim Long. Since my last post, I have been fortunate to participate in several events related to my Vietnam service and the orphanage. I was contacted by a woman who was doing research about her roots and found me on the internet. She was at the orphanage at the same time as I was and we had a reunion at my home that was covered by local CBS. I was also interviewed by New Jersey PBS, with many other Vietnam Veterans. The interviews were shown before the Ken Burns Vietnam series and I was invited to the premiere in New York City. Hopefully, this exposure will bring in more donations for the orphanage. I have also been asked to be a part of a documentary about three orphans and it will be a part of the Sundance Film Festival. See the website for more information. It has been a busy time since my last posting but I hope to be more diligent in posting in the future.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 2016 Update

Each year, I send a donation to the orphanage. I also use a part of any proceeds from the sale of my book as a donation. You can help support the orphanage directly through me or see how to donate at My book is available at Memories of the orphanage played a big part in my story and continues to be a part of my life today. Thank You Bob

Monday, February 8, 2016

2016 Update For the past few years, there has not been much news to report. Donations were sent in 2014 and 2015. In December of 2015, I was able to send $1550 USD or about 33 million VND. Sister Chantal informed me that the monies would be used to buy clothing and shoes for the children and the remaining money would be used to have a small party to celebrate Tet.
I accept donations all throughout the year and send when there is enough to make it feasible. The wire fee is $35 so I need to have a few hundred dollars to make the wire worthwhile Thanks to all who have donated.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 Update

I have received several contributions the orphanage that I will be sending before Christmas. If anyone is interested, please email me at Thank You, All, in advance

Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Update

I want to thank all who contributed to my Christmas 2011 fund drive. It appears that the economy took its toll and I was only able to raise about 50 % of what I have in the past two years. Although I was only able to send a little over $800 to the orphanage, Sister Chantal was happy to be able to buy about 1.5 tons of rice and some much needed milk for the children. Hopefully 2012 will be a better year and the donations will come back to previous levels. Remember, you don't have to wait to contribute. You can send at anytime. Just send me an e-mail and I will let you know how. I am also exploring the possibility of a PayPal account which could make it more convenient to contribute. Thank You again. I have added a picture of the children that are helped with your donations.

Friday, January 22, 2010

One year Later

It has been a year since I returned from my trip to Vietnam. The memories are still with me and it is one trip that I will never forget. Since my return, many events have occurred that continue to remind me of my time with my daughter in Vietnam.
After losing most of my pictures due to an SD card malfunction -- I did recover some-- I was fortunate that Stacy took so many great pictures that I have been able to post on this site. If she was not with me, I would have lost all photographic evidence of my trip.

Our first stop in Vietnam was Saigon, where we attended the wedding ceremony of Doug and An. Since that time, An has come to the United States and after a short visit with her parents in the Chicago area she rejoined her husband and went with him to their Colorado home. An experienced the cold and snow of Colorado, as well as the beauty of the mountains. A few months after arriving, they traveled to New Jersey to meet Doug's family and made a side trip to my home. So, we came full circle, meeting online trough a work relationship, meeting her fiance the same way. Then, we met in person in Saigon and finally closed the circle with a visit to my home. We treated An to her first taste of American barbeque. It was a great visit and I hope that we can do it again.

Another event that kept the memory of Vietnam alive was my birthday dinner at my daughter Mary Ellen's. She prepared a traditional Vietnamese feast with everything from Pho to realistic Vietnamese Spring Rolls. It was very authentic and I enjoyed it immensely. Take a look at

Part two of our journey took us to Hue. It was near Hue, where I spent most of my time in Vietnam at Camp Eagle. When I was assigned to the 101st Airborne, I was a little leery about serving in the Northern part of the country. Our roads were dirt and mud except for Route 1 which was paved. When it rained, the mud was so thick that you could get stuck in it, walking or driving. I flew around the northern part of the country, delivering communications equipment to firebases like Sally and Bastogne, to camps like Evans and Carrol and to other cities like Phu Bai and DaNang. But the excursion that changed the way I saw Vietnam took place on a hot Sunday morning when I visited Kim Long Orphanage. So, after 39 years, I did return and within this blog is a detailed description of our day.

Since returning from Vietnam, I have continued to support the orphanage through donations from friends and family. After delivering almost $900 in person last January, I have been able to collect another $1500 and Sister Chantal has made good use of it. I dislike asking for donations, but at a mention of the orphanage, I get voluntary contributions from some. Last year I received the Christmas Pollyanna money that the cafeteria workers at Central Bucks East High School donated. I didn't ask for anything this year but got a call a few days before Christmas telling me that they had an envelope for me. "What are we gonna do with a $10 or $20 gift to each other", they said. They would rather contribute to the orphanage. Operation Eternal Gratitude at CB East also sold gum in the cafeteria for a few months and contributed the proceeds. I spoke at CB East on Veterans Day and at the end of my speech, I talked about my return visit to the orphanage. Colby Umbrell's parents, who lost a son in Iraq, were generous enough to contribute to my cause, because my words reminded them of what their Son did while he served in Iraq -- He, too, was concerned with the welfare of the children of Iraq.

So, it goes on. If anyone is interested in donating, I wire money as I get a total of $500 or more. Feel free to contact me. And if anyone would like to fund a return trip to Vietnam, I am open to all donations for that as well :).

Kim Long was dormant in my memory for a while, but thanks to a nurse who served in Phu Bai that I met at a writer's forum, I was able to revive its memory and find a contact and return.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Six separate flights,including flying over the North Pole twice, about 36 hours in the air, three different airlines, four different Asian cities, about 18,000 total miles, all to go back to a country that was in total chaos when I left there in October of 1970.

I never imagined that I would want to or could ever go back. A wedding invitation, finding Kim Long Orphanage again, an invitation from the sisters at Kim Long and the urging of my family to go back and for my younger daughter to join me in my journey were all indicators that I needed to do this. After reading the orphanage posting, if anyone is interested in donating to Kim Long, please contact me via a comment and leave your e mail. I plan on sending any collected donations on a quarterly basis. Past donations have been used to buy a washer and a stove -- or cooker -- as I was told. I have collected donations from friends, Veterans groups and families; no amount will be refused.

I feel that I had left no ghosts behind in Vietnam, although it did take time to readjust to "the World" again. I had no special closure to make. I had always talked about my experiences, the good times, the bad, the close calls and not knowing if the bullets that left my M-16, my grenade launcher or M-60 ever hit or killed anybody. I wrote about my experiences in a book, a play and my poetry. Ultimately, the rediscovering of Kim Long Orphanage was the most important factor in going back. My daughter's enthusiasm over the trip was a close second.

I found this wonderful place in early 1970 when our company clerk asked me to take a ride to drop off some laundry from the guys in our company (HQ 501st Signal, 101st Airborne Division, Camp Eagle).

I have never forgotten it. I never talked about it until the day I was asked, by my great-nephew, A J, some questions for a Veteran’s project he was doing. He asked me what the best thing I remembered about Vietnam and I told him about the orphanage. His mother, Terry looked at me in astonishment and said that I had never told her – or anyone else – that particular story. So, A J, thanks for that question. It made me realize how important those trips to Kim Long were and how much they did mean to me.

Will I return again? I sure hope so. If I hit the lottery, definitely. If I find the funds, possibly. I will continue to raise funds for Kim Long through friends, families and Veterans groups and I will continue to communicate with the good sisters of Kim Long and Trang, who was our interpreter during our visit.

I hope someday that Vietnam is a free country and with that free speech to be able to create and access blogs like these. (Since my return home, I have discovered that my Vietnamese friends have been able to access this blog) I hope, also, that the children of Kim Long find happiness and the families that they truly need, although they appeared so well adjusted and are a family in themselves. The Sisters of Kim Long and their teachers and staff have done a wonderful job. The experience has been heartwarming for both of us and very special, as well. The words of this blog cannot fully explain the feeling we had after our day at Kim Long (See January 19th entry), but the pictures do help in showing what we experienced.

When I left for Vietnam, there was one name on the Memorial in Philadelphia's Fishtown section – Charles Glenn III . Charlie was only 20 years old when he died. He was shot to death by a sniper in Da Nang, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, on July 7, 1967. He was the first from my Fishtown neighborhood to die in the war and a monument in his honor was erected at Wildey and Marlborough Streets. The Corporal Charles J. Glenn 3rd Memorial also includes the names of 10 other young men from the Fishtown-Kensington-Port Richmond neighborhoods who died or were missing in action in Vietnam. Dedicated in 1967, it was either the first or one of the first memorials to Vietnam Veterans in the United States.

The other names include:
Bill Sessions
Ed Secrest
Joe Kull
Joe Monaghan
Harry Seedes
Ron Briggs
Butch McCuen
Lawrence Reichert
John Jolley
Albert Wall

I would also like to salute members of my class of 1966 -- Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia who also gave the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. A heartfelt thank you to Brother Harry Schneider, OSFS and Mr. Walter Johnson, my former German teacher in my Sophomore and Junior year for gathering this information for me.

Lawrence Anthony Branigan
Anthony J. Metzger
Joseph T. Monoghan
Thomas F. Nilan
George Joseph Reed
Joseph Francis Schimpf
Patrick James Thiroway

I salute them all and appreciate their service and sacrifice. I was lucky enough to return home safely and fortunate enough to be able to go back.

For all my readers, thanks for sharing our experience. Please feel free to leave a comment on any of the posts.

In May of 2009, I was asked to write and article about Charlie for the Fishtown Star. The link has been removed-- see the text after the link below...
Here is the link:

I will never forget my reaction to the news we received while hanging out at Allen and Shackamaxon Street on that warm July evening. The War in Vietnam had taken one of our own Fishtown boys – Charlie Glenn. I can’t remember all of us that were there out that night, but I know we were sitting on Be-Bop Brannigan’s step when his Mom came out and gave us the news.

The War had meant little to us until that moment. None of us knew what to say. We were all stunned by the news. Charlie would be coming home, but he would be in a pine box.

Many more of us went to Vietnam in subsequent years. Some of us volunteered, others were drafted. Many of us came home to our Fishtown neighborhood, but some did not. Ten more names were added to the original Charles Glenn Memorial. The Memorial was erected in record time all with private donations. I believe that it may have been the first memorial dedicated to a Vietnam Veteran in the United States.

Although Charlie was a year older than me and a year ahead of me in school , he was still a friend. I remember him as a kind and caring individual who always watched out for you. I can truly say that he was an inspiration to me. He has been in my thoughts since his death, but mostly around Memorial Day. His memory has helped me in some of my writings. Initially, in a poem that is posted at --“Away in a Bunker” was written in his memory.

I also wrote a passage in a play that I co-wrote about the “Wall” in Washington -- In that play, one of the characters visits the Wall every year on Charlie’s birthday and talks about his Mom and Dad and how much they miss him

“Chuck” is also one the main characters is a book that I authored – Chapter One -- The Story of Vic Charles” is a “fictional” account of my experiences in Vietnam.

Charlie’s sacrifice for his country and the sacrifices of almost 58,000 other men and women who lost their lives in Vietnam can never be forgotten.


Going Home

Sunday January 25th 2009

The phone in our room rang at 5 AM on Sunday Morning (4PM Saturday in the US. Mary Ellen had called even before our hotel wake up call.

It took a few minutes to get out of bed, but we were in a cab by 6:20 AM and on our way back home. We learned our lesson from our inbound ride and took a metered taxi which, even with all of our luggage, was less expensive by about 90 Hong Kong Dollars from the inbound ride.

We approached the ticket desk, hoping for another upgrade, but to our dismay, in disappointment, none was available this time. So, it would be coach all the way , or as Cathay Pacific calls it – Economy class.

Before boarding and after clearing security and emigration, we had breakfast. I also bought a few more little souvenirs and Stacy bought some drinks to take on the plane. Unfortunately, they did another bag check after the gate and on the way to the plane and the drinks were confiscated, even though they were purchased after security checks.

We boarded and sat in our aisle seats. One consolation was that there was no one sitting next to either of us so we could stretch a bit. But, it would still be difficult to sleep even with larger seats that had wings
on the head area
to rest against. We weren’t treated as well as business class, but it still wasn’t too bad.

We took off at 10 AM Hong Kong time. Thanks to the International Date Line, we would arrive about noon at JFK airport in New York. Fourteen hours and 30 minutes in the air, 2 meals, one snack, some wine, lots of water and less than two hours sleep before landing back on American soil.
Baggage claim took forever as bags passed us several times before ours appeared. Customs was a breeze and no worries about catching a cab. Mary Ellen was so very kind to pick us up, saving another car rental and a drive home in my tired state. First we dropped Stacy off at her apartment, unloading her baggage and her treasures. Then it was off to Doylestown where a roast beef dinner would be waiting.

Six separate flights, about 36 hours in the air, four cities, all with H (Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hue, Hanoi and Hong Kong) about 18,000 miles and a two hour ride from New York to Pennsylvania.
Home. My faithful dog, Bailey, hardly greeted me. It was as if I had just taken out the trash and returned. Thanks Bailey.