July 20,2016

Iraq Veteran on a Mission to restore Vietnam Memorial Fountain

Michael Focke spends his days connecting fellow veterans to transition services in Kansas City. As a Marine, who served in Iraq, Focke knows firsthand what veterans face when they come home. But he says that his generation of service members owes a lot of benefits and programs they utilize to Vietnam veterans.

“If it wasn’t for Vietnam veterans, Iraq veterans wouldn’t have the care at the VA that they have now today,” Focke said. “Vietnam veterans paved the way for the rest of the generation that is today.”

One day after talking with local Vietnam veterans he decided to visit the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fountain, where a monument bears the names of 385 service members from seven metro-area counties who were killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War. He was disheartened to find the site littered with trash and the fountain in need of major repairs. Focke has organized multiple community clean-up events and even created a GoFundMe site to raise the money necessary to repair the fountain, which was dedicated 30 years ago this September.