Dr. Linda Schwartz, A Hero Among Us.
Connecticut’s Commissioner of Veteran’s Affairs is Dr. Linda Schwartz, a caring and compassionate woman who has walked the walk.
In Vietnam as a 22-year old Air Force nurse she flew thousands of hours and was instrumental in saving so many lives until she was wounded in the line of duty.
Dr Schwartz told me “much of what we know about war, the real war the real people is never told, I can tell you stories that would, are heartening and they’re sad. I can tell you of us trying very hard to help men who are blind and were coming home to be married, you know, tried to get their spirits up so that they could come home. I can tell you stories of real loss.
“I’ll just tell you one, because we had a lot of multiple casualties, just as we do now and you cannot imagine what it was like to be my age and to come to work in a unit which maybe had 25 beds, but not one of the people in the beds had all their arms and legs and some of them had no arms and legs. They were torsos, and that was in 1969 and 1970, not what we have today, and you wondered what was their life going to be like.
“And I remember one, they were able to make telephone calls, we were able to make a telephone call for him to his wife who was expecting a child, and I remember this and he said ‘I’m all right honey, I’m just worried about you and the baby’. So that is the real strength of what you witness, the real true humanity, and he didn’t want to tell her what condition he was in, but that’s I’m ok, I’m just worried about you.”
Dr. Schwartz is one of those military heroes in the state of Connecticut. If you find that you or your family could use some help go to the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.
After our interview Dr. Schwartz presented me with the coveted coin, a symbol of how Veteran’s help Veterans. The story behind the coin is this: In 1864 during the Civil War, the first home for disabled veterans and soldier’s orphans in the U.S. was built on a 19-acre parcel of land in Noroton Heights. It was named after its founder, Benjamin Fitch of Darien, who funded almost the entire project. The state provided limited aid until 1883. In 1887 the state took over control and formally named the institution “Fitch’s Home for Soldiers.” The home, which housed veterans and the children of veterans, was dedicated on July 4, 1864. Veterans of the Civil War, then the Spanish American War and finally World War I were cared for at the home. After World War II the institution’s services were transferred to the larger Veterans Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill.
Enjoy the interview.