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ietnam Veteran Finds Nurse Who Helped Him Through Serious Injury (english)
by Shannon Kettler
09 Apr 2003
The war with Iraq has stirred up a lot of memories for veterans of past wars.
For one Vietnam vet, it has helped fuel his desire to find the nurse that cared for him after being wounded.
ohn Erby of Sharonville lost his right leg in Vietnam and he credits his recovery to several people including a nurse.
He's spent the past 19 years trying to find her.
"We started receiving incoming and my RTO and I were hit."
It was january 1968, Army Lieutenant Erby was wounded at the fire support base in Vietnam. Just a week after surviving one of
the biggest battles of the war at that same location
"A mortar came in right about a foot and a half away and tore my right leg up along with the achilles tendon and blew out the
heel," said Erby.
Erby, a football standout at the University of California, was devastated, his right leg was amputated.
"That first day, Whoa is me! My whole life is ruined, but it wasn't and she pointed it out to me," said Erby.
"She" is Lieutenant Christy, the nurse that took care of Erby.
But after leaving the hospital, Erby says he wanted to put Vietnam behind him. He coached football at the University of
California for four years until getting a job in Cincinnati as sales rep for Levi Strauss.
Then a visit to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington D.C. 19 years ago brought his time in Vietnam back and he
began to search for nurse Christy and his physical therapist Bill McDill.
"I always looked back and thought I wouldn't have accomplished this if it wasn't for Bill McDill and Lt. Christy," Erby said.
Erby found McDill but his search for nurse Christy was difficult. He took a sign with her name on it to dozens of reunions hoping
someone would help.
"There were a 100 people searching various leads and rosters," said Erby.
After 19 years of searching a friend found Lt. Christy in Michigan last week and she remembered Erby and called him.
"The first phone call we caught up on our lives and what we done. All these years and I could do nothing but praise her," Erby
And the reunion was of course, an emotional one.
"She didn't know it but I was crying," Erby said.
Erby believes his story can be a lesson applied to others, not to give up no matter how difficult the task.
"If its important enough it will happen," Erby said.
Erby received a purple heart medal for his actions in Vietnam.
He is now active in veteran affairs and his next project is to meet nurse Christy face to face.