At the grand opening of our College Park location, we had the honor of meeting two Military Order of the Purple Heart Commanders who were kind enough to join us for our ribbon cutting ceremony. As soon as we started speaking with them, we knew that we had to share their incredible stories with you.
Over the next few blog posts, we will be telling the stories of these brave American heroes in the hope of spreading awareness for the Purple Heart, and showcasing all of the amazing things that they do for our country’s veterans.
To begin this two-part profile series, we sat down with Purple Heart Commander Jim Hauser of Maryland as he told us about how he joined the military, the time he served, and his story of becoming a member of our partner charity, the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Raised in an orphanage until he was adopted at the age of six, Jim learned perseverance at a young age. After 15 years of growing up alongside his new brothers and sisters in Maryland, Jim decided to pursue a career in the military at the age of 19, to give stability and direction to his life. After completing an eight-week advanced infantry training session, Jim was sent to serve in the Vietnam War in 1966 where his life would soon be changed forever.
While stationed in Vietnam, Jim served as an “11 Charlie,’ meaning he was an on-foot, infantry soldier. Within his first year at war, Jim was wounded at the young age of 20. He sustained a rifle shot to his arm and a grenade wound his chest, and was sent to the 7th Field Hospital in Japan where he was left to recover for an entire four months.
Wounded both physically and emotionally, Commander Hauser was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas for approximately 18 months, where he would soon become a Sergeant in the Military’s Armor Division. Constantly moving from one place to the next, Jim was asked to control riots in Chicago in the spring of 1968 following the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Hauser describes how it felt to see his own country in turmoil, “I not only carried a weapon overseas but […] also in my own country.”
As Jim returned to his home state Maryland, the country was in turbulence as anti-war protests were in full swing. Finding that employers were often weary of hiring Vietnam Veterans, Jim chose to omit his service in job interviews and applications. As a result of this, the Vietnam vet struggled for over a decade as he tried to return to normalcy and adjust to civilian life after war.
Jim can recall the day he finally went to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to issue a claim for assistance. Soon after filing a claim for himself in 1996, Jim began to help fellow veterans out of the 27th infantry regiment. His assistance focused on helping soldiers with PTSD get back on their feet, especially those who were injured since the military is unable to provide worker’s compensation.
It wasn’t until two of Hauser’s friends mentioned the Military Order of the Purple Heart years later to Jim that he decided to join the organization. Realizing that there is no one person more deserving of VA and Purple Heart benefits than the next, Jim says, “Once you get involved, it’s hard not to get more and more involved.”
Now a Commander for the Purple Heart, Jim says people would be shocked by the extent of service that the organizations provides, as he was before his involvement. Jim, along with his fellow vets, spend their time volunteering at job fairs, helping at homeless shelters, educating soldiers, and countless other activities in order to give back to their fallen military brothers and sisters.
When asked how those at GreenDrop have helped him in his efforts to spread awareness for the Purple Heart, Jim said, “By contributing to GreenDrop and to the foundation, that money goes to all the States and to Guam and it helps all of the Vets who are in hospitals.” Wanting to help soldiers that are wounded in any way possible, Jim adds, “That’s what we are really keen on—getting [donations] to the hospitals and helping the hospitalized vets.”
Speaking to Commander Jim Hauser truly makes us here at GreenDrop proud to be partners with such an amazing organization like the Military Order of the Purple Heart. To veterans like Jim, and to all of those who choose to donate to the Purple Heart, thank you, from all of us here at GreenDrop.