This month, HopeBUILDERS is working with a very unique person in Kenneth Gilmore, as we work towards helping him live a more comfortable life. Work and repairs on Mr. Gilmore’s home range from painting to ceiling repairs, which HopeBUILDERS will hope to complete by the end of September. But, it’s not the work that is being done that is so special about this story, instead, it’s Mr. Gilmore.
Mr. Gilmore was recruited into the Army at the very young age of 17 and his life was forever changed. Not soon after enrollment, Mr. Gilmore was sent to Fort Hood in Texas where he trained as a cook. But after just 3 months, he was told he was being sent to Vietnam as a Helicopter Door Gunner, an occupation he had never trained for. Mr. Gilmore stepped up to the challenge and ended up serving 6 months in Vietnam as a door gunner before a helicopter incident forced him back on the ground. He was then assigned to a ground fighting infantry in the Da Nang jungle, where he served the rest of his time in the Army.
In all, Mr. Gilmore served for two years in the U.S. Army before being honorably discharged in 1973, as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, the impact of PTSD on Mr. Gilmore caused much difficulty in his life and his ability to hold down a steady job or meaningful relationships.
However, through his faith, Mr. Gilmore has learned to persevere and mange his daily PTSD symptoms. On top of being a student at Carver Bible College in Kansas City, he attends church at the Concord Fortress of Hope and also launched his own chapter of VietNow, a support group for veterans of the Vietnam war.
HopeBUILDERS feels honored to be able to give back to a man that has given so much to his country, his community, and fellow veterans. We hope that our work with Mr. Gilmore can be another step in a positive direction for his life as he continues to thrive against all odds.