Gerald and Mary met in Washington DC in the early days of US involvement in the Vietnam war. Mary was a volunteer at an event the USO was putting on for service men awaiting deployment or returning form the war, Gerald had driven up on a 72 hour leave from Fort Bragg North Carolina to attend the event. Gerald was serving his country in the Marines while Mary did what she could on the home front. Theirs was a war time love story complete with a wedding while Gerald was on leave after returning from a 13 month tour in Vietnam.
The newlyweds returned to Gerald’s home in Dickenson North Dakota after he served his four years in the Marine Corps. The economy in Dickinson was lacking in the late 1960’s and jobs were hard to come by so the couple decided to make their home in Fargo. Years after Vietnam Gerald was diagnosed with systemic heart issues and valve problems, his doctor attributed his condition to agent orange exposure in the war. Mary has struggled through surgery on both feet and both shoulders now finding it difficult to maneuver in their home and falling frequently
Gerald and Mary bought their 1 and ½ story home in south Fargo in 1971. The home was in need of expensive repairs and restorations the couple was unable to afford on their limited social security income, partial disability pension, and small savings. The older home was in need of new siding to prevent pest infestation and weather penetration, and accessibility modifications to create a safer bathroom for Mary. Thanks to a grant from Sears “Hero’s at Home” Campaign and great volunteers from Bike and Build we were able to transform the home of a Fargo Veteran!!