KINGMAN – There’s nothing like reconnecting with an old friend and taking a stroll down memory lane, and for one Kingman man that joyous occasion led to the formation of The Wall Operation Pal Joey, an effort to send veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
When Harley Pettit reconnected with his childhood friend, Joey, after 50 years of thinking he was killed in the Vietnam War, the two went out for lunch and the project was born.
“When we were talking, he mentioned he’d like to get to The Wall, and it got me thinking,” Pettit said. “When I went there it was kind of a healing thing for me, and I thought that might be the same for Joey, that it might give him some peace of mind.”
If the trip could be beneficial for his friend, Pettit thought it may also appeal to other veterans who haven’t had the chance to make the trip to D.C.
Pettit, through The Wall Operation Pal Joey, a 501 c3 nonprofit, is looking to raise money so veterans can make the journey that Pettit described as a reverent experience. World War II, Korea, Vietnam and active military personnel of any branch of service are welcome to take part.
But veterans won’t have to make the trip alone, as Pettit wants to send them with a friend or family member.
“That’s so they won’t be alone in a strange place,” Pettit said.
The operation isn’t quite ready to start sending people to D.C., but is now taking donations, which can be sent to The Wall Operation Pal Joey at 1308 N. Stockton Hill Road, A100, Kingman, Arizona 86401.
“Individual donations are great, but industry, companies are what drives these things because they have a bigger budget,” Pettit said. “So we’re looking for donations and help not just from the community but businesses also.”
For questions or more information, call Harley Pettit at 928-530-2555.