A story by Vince’s wife Julie Gallo in Issue 39 of The Intake:
“I was debating about sending this account of an incident that took place when hospice was here at our home during Vince’s final days, but decided you might be interested in it.
The nurse who headed the hospice team was named Ny Yen; he was oriental and had an accent. We asked about his home country. He said, “Vietnam.” We looked at each other, wide-eyed. He must have seen the looks on our faces and added, “South Vietnam.” What a relief that was. He said, “I noticed the airplanes and other military items in the room over there (Vince’s den). They belong to patient?”
“Yes,” we answered.
He went to Vince’s bed and held his oh-so-thin hand and asked, “You fly jet planes in Vietnam?” Vince nodded his head. Ny Yen shook his hand with much care and explained, “I want to thank you and my people want to thank you and all Americans for helping us. The planes come and fly down river where enemy hide. The river was fire! We hear loud voices for help. My people run to river, they jump and shout and put hands in air. They know Americans help them. I thank you, and my family thank you.”
Yes, there were tears, including those of Vince and Ny Yen. He explained he was a small child at the time, but he would never forget the noise of the planes and the fire and the smiles on the faces of his people!
What an extraordinary time for this incident to occur, after nearly 50 years and when Vince was so close to passing, that these two special people meet! It was a thanks so meaningful from a Vietnamese that it refutes all of the negatives that were cast on the military about the war. I wonder, could it have been Divine Intervention?
Before Ny Yen left for the day, he assured us that Vince would be a special patient, and he would see that the rest of his team knew that as well.”