Gerald (Jerry) Meek, honored by Linda Lenz
I was 17, a high school senior and pregnant when I married 19 year old Gerald (Jerry) Meek on March 29, 1969. I graduated in June. Jerry was drafted in July. Our son was born August 19, 1969 during the hurricane that hit the southern coast. The red cross was able to notify Jerry, who was doing his basic training at fort Polk, LA, of his son’s birth. We spent eight weeks at fort sill Oklahoma and then Jerry left for Vietnam in December. I saved up $1000 for his R and R but he decided not to take it so he could get an early out. He was also to get a promotion to E5. However, on Oct 31 Vietnam time he was injured. He was on guard duty and had just come up from an underground bunker. There stood a “gook” nearby and he threw a grenade which landed at jerry’s feet. He was taken to Germany and was told he had lost most of his blood due to the injuries. On November 5 Iowa time I received a phone call from Jerry that he was in the states and on his way to Fort Leonardwood for medical treatment. He was able to come home shortly after and was discharged on March 4, 1971. His legs were filled with shrapnel. The kids loved to pinch his legs because he had no feeling in them. We would find little bbs in the bed. And he had back problems the rest of his life due to the landing after he was virtually blown up. He drew 20 per cent disability on each leg. We farmed for 7 years and the he became a full time USPS rural mail carrier and we moved to town, Greene, Iowa. He worked hard and helped our boys with their mowing and snow shoveling business. He said, “I hurt when I am still and I hurt when I work, I might as well work.” After moving to town he became a first responder with the ambulance services. He had helped the medic in ‘Nam and it had interested him. He went on to study and became a Paramedic. He also taught classes though NIACC in Mason City, IA. We were very proud of him and he loved his paramedic work. He doctored continually with back pain. At one time we thought surgery would help but the doctor thought not. After trying many treatments in 1998 he found a doctor that put a machine in him to dispense pain medication. By then he was so thin and he looked like 90 year old. This treatment seemed to help and he regained his weight. We paid all his medical bills over 30 years as we did not use the value hospitals. We were divorced in 1999. Shortly after he developed lung cancer. He kept on working during all of his struggles and never complained. He had put in his retirement but passed away before it was actually through in December of 2007. His 3 sons, 1 daughter and I were very proud of Jerry’s service to his country and very proud of his work as a Paramedic. I will try to send a picture later. We have been told since that if we had told the specifics I was 8 months pregnant that Jerry probably would not have been drafted. I wonder what our life would have been like if he hadn’t served. Also, after he came home he nor I were getting paid. He also never received promotion. We were told that his records had becomes in Vietnam. It took our representative from Iowa, H.R. Gross, to get us our money. We made the newspapers and the AP. We received article from other vets about us.