Vietnam veteran Gerry Wright said he’s focused on helping his fellow vets.
The Bolton resident said his mission is now supporting the troops and making a difference.
“It's memories, oh my God, some good memories,” Wright told Eyewitness News.
Those who know Wright said he’s the type of person anyone could spend hours with while he tells his stories.
They’re stories of his service as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
“You can't imagine a typhoon coming up at you off the Red China Sea,” he said. “And we were staying in a tent.”
He also said he charmed former President George W. Bush.
“Come down and spend a couple of days at my ranch, and we'll sit on the back porch and smoke a big cigar,” Wright said.
After serving in the Army, Wright said he later joined the Connecticut National Guard.
“I didn't want to be a weekend warrior,” he said. “That is such a misconception today. The National Guard does so much. So I joined.”
Wright continued to serve for another 17 and a half years. He rose to the rank of first sergeant retired.
Simultaneously, he said he built a business called Bolton Notch RV and the Happy Hauler.
However, it wasn’t easy.
“I had no place to live,” Wright said. “I rented out my house, had no business. But the National Guard took care of me. They put me on active duty for 130 days. [I] had a great time and built my business back up.”
He was later inducted into the Connecticut Veteran’s Hall of Fame.
Now Wright said he’s paying it forward.
Over the years, with the said American Legion riders and the Connecticut Military Corvette Club, Wright said he sent thousands of care packages overseas.
“If I can help another family or another soldier who's away from their home, make it just a little bit nicer for them,” Wright said.
He said his mission to help fellow veterans is going strong.
While many consider Wright a hometown hero, he said the word “hero” should be reserved for other soldiers.
“My heroes are the ones [who] were killed in action, missing in action, and the POWs,” he said. “The ones that never came home.”
Wright said he always has a project he’s working on for the troops.
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