Mike served in Vietnam from January 1968 to August 1969. The first year he served the 25th Infantry Division in Cu Chi, Vietnam. The second six month tour was served in Vung Tau, Vietnam.
He came through this year and a half in Vietnam seemingly unaffected. This changed over the next few years as he learned more about the reasons the United States was at war in Vietnam.
While attending Madison Area Technical College from 1976-1978 on the G.I. Bill. As a veteran his education was paid for by our government. By this time the information he had been reading jelled and in the summer of 1977 Mike went to his mother's house and took his medals and uniform and threw them into the trash.
This is where things stood until 1992 when Mike returned to Vietnam with a group of American veterans to help build a medical clinic in Xuan Hiep village, Dong Nai province, Vietnam. His emotional reaction to returning to Vietnam was unexpected. He had worked in offices during the war and thought he had no problems from the war.
In response to this emotional turmoil, Mike, once the clinic was finished, traveled north with some of the other American veterans and when they reached Quang Ngai province he insisted they visit My Lai. There he played his fiddle as an offering to, not only the Vietnamese, but the Americans as well — everyone who was hurt by that war. He played 'Taps'.
This trip to Vietnam gave Mike a new direction for his life— to serve the people of Vietnam. The first project initiated by Mike and others from Madison, WI, was a micro credit program for the poor women of My Lai.
Two years after the initial funding of the My Lai Loan Fund project Mike met the man who would become his partner in these projects—Mr. Phan Van Do.
Phan Van Do became the Project Coordinator for Madison Quakers, Inc., and started overseeing all the projects in Vietnam.
Together, Mike and Do, for more than a quarter of a century, have facilitated projects that have profoundly altered the lives of poor Vietnamese in Quang Ngai province, Vietnam.