Area nonprofit to host golf tournamentWritten by Mary Petrides | | email@example.com
The Development of Vietnam Endeavors (DOVE) Fund, a Toledo-based non-profit that brings aid to Vietnam, will host its 10th annual golf outing on June 8 at the South Toledo Golf Club. The golf outing is one of two annual fundraisers — the other, an auction, will take place in August.
Ten years ago, a Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war got a group together, raised money and went to Vietnam to build a school. When they returned to the United States, they made a presentation at a Rotary Club Meeting in Toledo. About six other Vietnam veterans spoke with them after the presentation — they wanted to build another school.
“It just kind of blew from there,” said Fred Grimm, vice chairman of Vietnam projects. Since then, the DOVE Fund has helped build 43 schools and complete a host of other projects in Vietnam.
Fred Grimm has been to Vietnam 11 times and his wife Jill, a board of trustees member, has been there eight times. DOVE members travel to Vietnam to “look at projects, go to the site, meet the people,” Fred Grimm said. Then, they return to the United States and raise money.
“Your money goes so far there,” Fred Grimm said. He said it costs between $12,000 and $55,000 to build a school.
Fred Grimm, himself a Vietnam War veteran, said returning to the country decades after the war has been good for veterans.
“It was very unnerving the first time,” he said of his own first return visit.
“In their minds, I think everything is the same as it was 40 years ago,” he said. “[There’s] a lot of anxiety, a lot of tears shed by grown men.”
Several veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or horrific memories from the war have said that visiting the country was better for their healing process than 40 years of medication, Fred Grimm said.
“I’ve heard them say ‘this day’s better,’” he said.
Fred Grimm compared veterans’ memories to music on a tape recorder: the old is discarded when the new is recorded.
“When a Vietnam veteran goes back finally, he erases the old music and puts on new music,” he said.
Sometimes, a veteran’s first impression of the country so long after the war is a school opening. It’s a big day: the whole town comes and children line up with flowers and drums.
“It’s erasing all the tragedy and sadness,” Jill Grimm said.
Though DOVE is based in Toledo, donations have come from all over the country and from Canada and France. High school students from Minnesota and college students from Maryland have raised money for DOVE projects and visited Vietnam, the Grimms said.
“Americans are very generous,” Fred Grimm said. “Vietnamese really love Americans. All the students want to come to America to study.”
Besides building schools, the DOVE fund lends money at low interest for Vietnamese to start businesses, provides scholarships for high school and college students, brings clean water to small villages and hamlets, builds medical clinics and helps blind students and people with leprosy.
Fred Grimm said only two Braille printers exist in all of Vietnam — and the DOVE Fund is responsible for one of them.
The DOVE Fund Bandage Brigade collects handmade knitted or crocheted bandages for Vietnamese lepers. DOVE volunteers have brought more than 3,000 bandages to a leper colony, where about 700 Vietnamese lepers live.
One hundred percent of the money donated to DOVE goes toward projects in Vietnam. Volunteers even pay for their own plane tickets.
The Grimms said DOVE members are close-knit.
“It’s like a family,” Fred Grimm said.