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Vietnam Veteran Larry Hester tells the story of fighting on Hill 861

Larry Hester fought with the 9th Marines in Vietnam. He now spends his days helping other veterans.

The walls in Larry Hester's office will tell you a lot about the man. A plaque hangs behind his desk that reads Walker County Veteran of the year 2007. It's right next to his 2014 Charles Coolidge veteran of the year. There's a shadow box with a Purple Heart, and many other decorations from eleven months, and twenty days in country in Vietnam. These things that hang on these walls tell a story, but it's not the whole story.

"Easter Sunday is the worst day of my life," Vietnam Veteran Larry Hester said.

It was Easter 1967. The fighting there has been called the First Battle of Khe Sanh or the Hill Fights. Larry Hester was with the 9th Marines.

"We was hit on hill 861 in Vietnam, and we was just overwhelmed," Mr. Hester said.

He told me they lost 16 Marines that day.

The battle happened more than 50 years ago, and he still thinks about that day all of the time.

"I think the good Lord let me live all these years since then to do what I do now," Mr. Hester said.

He says he has tried to retire, but he always ends up back in this office.

"There's so many people that need help, and believe it or not I'm still getting Vietnam Veterans, " Mr. Hester said. " (I) had one in here today who didn't know he had benefits, and he had things wrong with him that's related to the Agent Orange exposure. You know it's hard for me to quit, and dog gone it I just can't do it."

Mr. Hester has advice for veterans and wives of aging veterans. He says get your paperwork in order.

"Make sure you've got that DD-214 form, and then make sure you've got a marriage license," Mr. Hester said.

He also says if you are serving now, and have been injured during your service make sure that injury is documented in your records. He adds that all veterans and military members need to talk to your doctor. Make sure your medical provider is aware of all of the illnesses and injuries you're suffering from that may be tied to your service in some way.

If you are a veteran or a wife or widow of a veteran call or visit your county's veteran service officer.

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