Agent Orange Widows Awareness Coalition
5873 Pavo St., Long Beach, Ca 90808
November 4, 1999
The Honorable Congressman Elton Gallegly
Dear Congressman Gallegly,
I am writing to support the approval of the proposed project In Memory Memorial plaque, to be near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. In recognition of the many Vietnam Veterans whose postwar deaths are attributed to their service experiences. The proposed 3x3 foot, ground-level table, bearing no names, would be inscribed with a short message to provide these veterans with a permanent testament of recognition and honor.
I am newly widowed and have co-founded an organization called Agent Orange Widows Awareness Coalition, AOWAC, along with Karen Olszewski, who became widowed in 1996. My husband, Robert Douglass, died on February 19, 1999 from service-connected cancer, Non-Hodgkins's Lymphoma. He was diagnosed in August of 1997 at the young age of 47. In asking where did this come from, our medical staff did not know the connection of lymphoma or the other diseases to Vietnam service. Even going to UCLA for a second opinion last October, the research doctors did not know the connection either. I traveled to Washington, DC last April with the Lymphoma Research Foundation and discovered that even lymphoma research experts were unaware of the connection and not doing studies with Vietnam Veterans.
My visit to the Vietnam Wall in DC in April had a significant impact on myself and my mother-in-law, Irene Frey. My husband and Irene's son,Robert Douglass, will never be represented on The Wall, even though he lost his life because of his service to our country in Vietnam. So, the addition of the In Memory plaque would be a symbol of healing, honor and recognition to my husband and for my sons, our entire family and friends, in acknowledging all those who served and died from their service to our country.
I have been in contact with Ruth Coder Fitzgerald for almost two years now and I am working diligently to support this In Memory plaque project. My husband is pictured on the In Memory web site, also.I will be encouraging all Congressional and Senate Representatives to support this project in full.
Thank you for your support and efforts in bringing this important issue before the Congress of the United States.
Link to the Agent Orange Widows Awareness Coalition