Inspiration from an unsung hero
By Aubrey Ruehlmann McNiff
This is my Father Sgt. John Ruehlmann of the 1st armored Calvary. He was hit in Jan., 1969 and came home paralyzed everywhere but his left arm.
His mother, a WWII Canadian Army nurse taught him to walk, talk , eat and fully recover. His tank rolled over a land mine. He was the only survivor. A year after he was in college and received his his Associate degree from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Then went on to work for the VA in the benefits division along others like him.
Today he is in the VA nursing home in Washington, D.C. and still brings a positive outlook to the younger soldiers receiving rehab there. I am very moved by your page. I know growing up we had many a lost soul in our home. Dad always helped or tried to. He is a great example to us. PTSD played its parts but unlike many, we knew and helped. Dad is a true hero in so many words. He volunteered for the Army when others were dodging the draft. He was 21 when he was hit, married my mother at 25, and had 4 children. And all along the way his brothers were always in his heart and on his mind. He worked with the VA outreach, special Olympics and many churches to fill a void he felt by being the only survivor.
Growing up I may have not truly understood his flashbacks, trips to retreats and outbursts, but I do understand the love my father holds for everyone. And I see that he knows he was given a second chance. I pray everyday for his brothers. Many are truly tortured souls. I only pray they find someone or something to put their energy into. We visit my father as often as we can. He loves every second of his family. His memory is fading due to brain damage from his hit. But the light in his eyes is amazing. He laughs when he falls. Something we all need. God bless his brothers! All of them. The Vietnam Vets are always and will always hold a special place in my heart.