I am Stacey, a native Texan and proud American. I am a friend to veterans, a voice for those who have yet to return. I live to honor those who made it back, and remember those who did not. I am an adopted member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 278, a life member of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, and an honorary member of the United States Coast Guard [you can see that, and my other honors, here]. I am the proud granddaughter of three World War II veterans. Furthermore, I am the daughter-in-law, cousin, niece, aunt, and sister of numerous other veterans, including a brother who is currently serving in Afghanistan and a nephew who served two tours in Iraq.
People often ask me why I got involved. The truth of the matter is, I don't know. I can, however, tell you how I became involved:
I first became involved in the POW/MIA issue in January 1998. I was a junior at the University of North Texas, and six months away from my twenty-first birthday. Surfing the internet one day, I happened upon a web page that paid tribute to a man who was still Missing in Action from the Vietnam War. Feeling heartbroken because this person was only nineteen when he was lost, and wanting to learn more, I decided to follow a link and adopt my own MIA. Little did I know what a pivotal point that would be in my life.
Within a year, I had adopted six more people unaccounted for from the Vietnam War and began this site; in 2013, I adopted my eighth MIA. Each of my adopted POW/MIAs were adopted for a reason: Harwood, because he was the first name given to me; Kinsman, because he was lost in the same incident as Harwood; Vietti, because she was the lone female POW; Green, Forrester, Armstrong, and Rittichier because they represented the remains branches of the military. When I adopted my seventh MIA, I felt complete. They were my special heroes, the men and woman whose stories I would commit to heart so that I could tell others about them. Later on, I dedicated part of this site to all Texans unaccounted for from both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and I would recollect bits of information about some of them when I would hear their names. I felt connected to them as well, but not on the same level as my original seven adoptees. However, after contacting the daughter of another MIA, we became fast friends. I wanted to do what I could to help honor her father, so, fifteen years after I adopted my first MIA, I decided to adopt her father as well.
This site has evolved over the years, and so has my involvement. I have gone from shaking my head in frustration at people who did not want to look at this issue as a major issue to speaking to those who do at my city's annual POW/MIA vigil. I have jumped for joy when I learned that another MIA is home to weeping with the family as I attend a former MIA's funeral (five so far: USCG Lt. Jack Columbus Rittichier - Vietnam; USAF Chief MSgt. Luther Lee Rose - Vietnam; USAF Major Arthur Dale Baker - Vietnam; USAF Colonel James Wimberley Lewis - Vietnam; and 2LT. Raymond Arthur Cooley - World War II).
My life has changed throughout the years as well. I moved to Texarkana in 2001, and became involved with the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter. Through them I have been able to reach out to so many people. I have volunteered at The Moving Wall twice – once in Texarkana in 2002 and again in Branson during Operation Homecoming USA in 2005. I have been able to give speeches and share my passion with others. I have morphed from a college student to a married woman and mother of two. My boys are young but I am already instilling in them a sense of pride for our country and respect for our veterans.
So much has changed in the fifteen years since I first became involved, but one thing has remained the same: my firm belief in the quote that I end all my speeches with, which is this -- “A man is not dead until he is forgotten.”
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
This was formally the 'about this site' page; that information is now here.