Air conditioner donated to disabled Vietnam vet in Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Glen McRae has given his service to his country, to God and to his community. On Friday, people had the opportunity to repay him for his goodness. He was in need of a new air-conditioning system and one was donated.
McRae, a disabled Vietnam veteran, received a new HVAC unit for his home thanks to the DAV Chapter 11 in Florence, Epting Distributors of Conway and Evergreen Services LLC Heating and Air of Effingham.
“I can’t put into words what this means to me,” McRae said as he watched the men unload the air-conditioning unit off the truck. “These are good people. I’ve never had anyone do anything like this for me. It means the world to me.”
McRae shares his home with his wife and his mother-in-law.
He said that when their air-conditioning unit started to fail, he and his family started trying to think of ways to purchase another, but now that isn’t an issue.
“We were wondering how we could get air for this summer,” he said. “I knew none of us could live through it (the heat) without air.”
He and his mother-in-law both have breathing trouble and his wife suffers from cerebral palsy.
“I’ve had three open-heart surgeries, 28 shunts and three major heart attacks,” he said.
He said the heart condition stems from exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide used by the U.S. military during his service in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. McRae said he volunteered to join the military and to go to Vietnam. He served his country for 12 years.
McRae said it has only been about the last five years that the Veterans Administration has recognized that he was exposed to Agent Orange and what it has done to his heart.
“We had no idea we were being sprayed with poison, and these would be the results 50 years later,” he said.
McRae said there are many veterans who need help. He said one of the greatest needs is that of the homeless population of Vietnam veterans.
He said this country is losing thousands of veterans a year from Agent Orange.
“A lot have been dropped through the cracks,” he said. “I had a doctor a year ago tell me to go home and die.”
He said he isn’t one to give up.
“I’m still here,” he said, but the air conditioner isn’t.
“You couldn’t find a more deserving person,” said Dawn Jay, owner of Evergreen Services LLC Heating and Air Conditioning.
She and her husband, Mike, who is commander of the DAV Florence Chapter 11, knew of McRae’s condition and situation and wanted find him help.
“We had been out to repair his unit several times,” she said. “He does a lot for others in the community and never asks for anything in return.”
Robert Eldridge, treasurer of the DAV Chapter 11 in Florence, said he got involved through the DAV. He said you couldn’t find a more deserving veteran to help.
“We knew Glen was in need through our services,” Mike said.
He said Epting had made it known that it would donate a unit to someone in need. He said the DAV voted that McRae would be the recipient.
Epting Distributors donated the unit and delivered it to McRae’s home in Darlington on Friday. Evergreen Services donated its services and miscellaneous material to complete the installation and permit.
“When they told us (about McRae), we knew it was the right thing to do to give back to the community,” said Pete Johnson of Epting Distributors.
Dawn Jay said McRae is “very active in his church community and is always helping anyone who needs help.” She said she is so thankful for veterans and what they have done for the country.
“I’m so grateful for these guys,” she said. “I don’t think we can ever repay them for what they have done.”
McRae was born and raised in Mullins. He met his wife, Beth, in Darlington and has lived there ever since. He has lived at the same location on Wire Road for 30 years.
McRae said he went back to school to become a minister and served as pastor of Middendorf Church of the Living God in Hartsville for 15 years until his health forced him to stop.