Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Howard Goldin, a Vietnam Veteran who started a non-profit foundation in Vietnam.
Howard Goldin was born in September 1947 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. When he was four years old, his family moved to New York City. Then at the age of 12, his family settled in Spring Valley, New York, where he attended Spring Valley High School and graduated in 1965.
After graduating, he worked for the space program by building components. Since his work was war-related, Goldin received a draft deferment. However, he refused the deferment and joined the Army in February 1967. After basic training, Goldin went to advanced individual training at Fort Polk in Louisiana. In July 1967, he deployed to Vietnam as an infantryman with the 4th Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.
On Oct. 3, 1967, the 25th Infantry provided security for the 65th Engineers who were clearing a dense wooded area. From a distance, someone spotted a bunker complex, and Goldin volunteered to investigate. When he was halfway to the bunkers, the enemy opened fire and shot Goldin in the left knee. What Goldin didn’t realize until the medics looked at his leg was that he was shot three more times in the same leg. In the hospital, his doctor could not remove all the shrapnel. Goldin stayed there for two weeks, then had 10 days of physical therapy and went back to his unit.
After completing his yearlong tour, he went to Fort Hood in Texas and then Fort Wadsworth in New York. He left the Army as a sergeant. In May 1970, he joined the police department in his hometown, Spring Valley, New York, and worked there for the next 30 years, rising to the position of police chief.
In 2004, when Goldin was speaking at a school about the Vietnam War, he met an eighth grader who was adopted from Vietnam and learned that her father had died from Agent Orange. This prompted Goldin to go to Vietnam. While there, he witnessed extreme poverty and the continued aftermath of Agent Orange. In 2006, he enlisted the support of the Spring Valley Rotary Club and founded S.T.E.P., Schools To End Poverty, with fellow Vietnam Veteran Edward Frank. Their mission is to end poverty through education. The organization has initiated numerous projects including building schools in Vietnam, as well as Jamaica and Honduras.
Goldin is also active in a number of organizations including Disabled American Veterans and Jewish War Veterans. Goldin earned several medals including a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart.
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Writer: Michael Veronda
Editor: Katie Wang and Rachel Falconer
Fact checker: Ileana Rodrigues
Graphic artist: Katie Rahill