By Joe Silva.
When Cym Lowell came home from Vietnam, his country did not welcome him like it had done for Veterans of previous wars. There was no parade, no band playing patriotic music no cheering crowds, no praise for these Veterans’ service. Instead, Cym Lowell and most Vietnam Veterans were met by anti-war protestors, who called them names and vilified their war-time service.
Most of the advocacy and resources being offered to Vietnam Veterans was drowned out by the protestors’ voices. But Cym Lowell was determined to provide a different homecoming for the Veterans who came after him. It is for this reason that he founded Operation: Next Chapter.
Operation: Next Chapter works with non-profit Soldiers’ Angels and its initiative Valor: IT, a program that helps to provide voice-controlled laptops to Veterans who were wounded a result of their military service.
Lowell admits that he did not take academics seriously when he was younger. But when he transitioned out of the U.S. Navy, Lowell used his GI Bill to earn a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. He eventually went to law school, and, in 1972, graduated from Duke University’s School of Law. He became a successful tax lawyer and made partner at his firm. In recent years, Cym began writing thrillers, publishing “Riddle of Berlin” in 2008 and “Jaspar’s War” in 2014.
Through it all, Lowell has been an advocate for Veterans, pledging 100% of the proceeds from “Jaspar’s War” to benefit Operation: Next Chapter.
“When I came home from Vietnam, I was spit upon,” Lowell said. “I wanted to make sure that later generations of Veterans received a much different welcome home.”
The laptops provided through the program cost approximately $800 each, but to the Veterans who receive the voice-controlled laptops, they are priceless. Veterans who are recovering from amputations, burns, eye injuries, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries use these laptops to communicate with their families and complete other functional tasks while they are in treatment and beyond. With Lowell’s help, some 70 Veterans have received laptops through the Soldiers’ Angels initiative.
“It is such an honor to be able to help Veterans in a way that is useful and meaningful in their lives,” Lowell said.
Now Cym Lowell and Operation: Next Chapter are teaming up with Patriot PAWS, an organization that trains and provides service dogs for disabled Veterans. While the the service dogs are provided at no charge to the Veteran, the care, handling and training of the dog costs patriot PAWS approximately $27,000 per dog. Through this venture, Lowell hopes to continue to provide a better welcome home for disabled Veterans .
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Military Connection: Cym Lowell: Veteran Helping Veterans: By Joe Silva