weather icon Clear

Veteran uses talents to help other veterans

Robert Serge served in the United States Navy for 20 months as part of an ordnance laboratory test facility. As he puts it, “We designed harbor mines and stuff like that.”

He trained at Fort Monroe, Virginia, in the cold waters of the nearby bay. “We tested mines out there away from the land mass, so no one would get hurt,” he said. Except sometimes they did.

“I was in the water to set the charges to go off electronically,” he said.

The last time he set a charge and moved to get out of the water, it went off prematurely and threw him against the test boat. The electrician’s mate ended up with a smashed knee cap, cutting short his planned military career. After surgery and other treatment, he received a medical discharge.

As a civilian, Serge earned a degree in structural design and worked as an architectural draftsman, part of a team that helped build RiteAid drug stores. Later, he worked for other companies that had to do with designing pharmacies.

Fast forward to Las Vegas: In his senior years he began to volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans as a driver in the organization’s transportation system.

The local Veterans Affairs provided a short computer training class to enable him to access the program for the DAV transportation system, which schedules veterans requiring travel help. Before long, on his own, he located a private company that helps design websites.It instructed him in the use of computer modules.

“I’d been kinda working with computers for a long time,” he said.

He took to the subject quickly, and before long he was fully engaged in keyboards and monitors. When Vietnam Veterans of America Post 17 wanted a website of its own, Serge volunteered.

Word began to spread, and soon American Legion Post 76 came calling on Serge with a request for a website and a blog. Then another Vietnam veterans group, Chapter 1076 in Henderson, asked about a website. And the group that assists the Fisher House in North Las Vegas, the Nevada Veterans Foundation, was next up.

As his reputation spread around Southern Nevada, John Waid of the Military Order of the Purple Heart invited Serge to a meeting. Serge does not have a Purple Heart, but Waid had a solution. He arranged for the computer operator to become an honorary member of the group, and before long, it was added to Serge’s list of website owners.

Member Richard Small said that as far as he knows, “Serge is the only honorary member of the national group.” Although Serge sometimes uses a three-wheel scooter for transportation, he generally gets by with just a walker, equipment provided by the VA.

Serge is humble about his talents: “To me it’s kind of simple once you use the modules. You type whatever it is you need to, show pictures, and it’s done.”

Serge receives permission from the veterans groups to use their logos and is careful not to infringe on proprietary rights. He said his volunteer work encompasses between 40 and 50 hours a week. And he always makes sure that with all his volunteer work, he does not ignore his wife. She is supportive of his efforts, he said.

“She tells me it’s great that I have something to do. Because I’d drive her crazy if I didn’t,” he explained with a deep laugh.

Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War and the host of “That’s America to Me” every Sunday at 7 a.m. on 97.1-FM.

Holistic treatments help many veterans

Last year in one of my columns, I briefly discussed holistic medicine and efforts that the Department of Veterans Affairs had been taking to include such treatments in its care of veterans. Since then, the VA has made some additional efforts to include nontraditional treatments.

Gallery helps veterans explore their feelings through art

Artist and businesswoman Chris Frausto used to reside in Boulder City and owned an art gallery here. It was located on a corner, so it was not considered unusual when she named it the Corner Gallery.

Burns’ Vietnam documentary explores ‘truths’ about war

The Vietnam War. The conflict is burned into the minds of millions of Americans — those who fought in it, civilians who lived through the 1960s, historians, journalists, photographers and filmmakers.

Vets’ families find compassion at home away from home

When veterans and active-duty military personnel need help, it’s very common for other veterans and service people to step up to lend their collective hands. Providing assistance to their fellow brothers and sisters is ingrained in the hearts and minds of America’s military culture.

Ex-Tunnel Rat appreciates ‘penthouse’ lifestyle

Boulder City is currently the home of a veteran whose name is “Fearless.” When someone’s name is “Fearless” it could either be a satirical reference, or it could mean that it’s someone who is in reality a very tough individual. In the case of Fearless Fredy King, it’s the latter definition.

USO helps military as they travel, return to civilian life

The general public knows the combination of letters “USO.” Many even know the type of work the USO is involved in. But if one were to ask those individuals what the letters stand for, and where the organization is located in Southern Nevada, the answer might just involve a blank stare unless the person being questioned is involved with the local military or veterans community.

Teacher’s brush with fame included astronaut

Veteran John Glenn was known by most Americans and indeed was internationally famous. Most Americans also know that Glenn died in December at age 95.

Honor Flight offers awe-inspiring experience

Many individuals, especially those who follow issues concerning veterans, have more than likely heard of the Honor Flight Network. The mission of the group is to honor select veterans, especially those who served in World War II, by taking them on all-expense-paid excursions to Washington, D.C., to visit military memorials.

Nevada celebrates veterans’ achievements

Southern Nevada resident and former Army Sgt. Richard “Dick” L. Moyer was presented with a Bronze Star Medal with a “V” for valor this month for his heroic efforts during the Vietnam War.

Paralyzed Veterans aids those with spinal cord disabilities

There are many organizations that help veterans, and sometimes they overlap. In fact, there is often much overlap, but each major group does have a positive specialty of some type, such as Paralyzed Veterans of America, Nevada Chapter.