You know that feeling when you see someone walking a dog, running or biking by your house everyday and that person becomes almost like your family member? Well, there was this man riding his bike in the same outfit every time I drove on our street. Each time I saw him I wondered, “ Who is this guy exuding positive energy (sorry, I always pay attention to people’s energy) and why is he wearing the same outfit all the time?”
Harvey Diamond and Marina Sommers at the Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest
I soon found out when I was working at the Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest when I saw the same guy in the same white t-shirt and black shorts! I had to tell him that I knew him from our street! He then told me his amazing story.
When he was just 21, he was stationed in Vietnam and was exposed, like so many others, to Agent Orange, one of the heavy herbicides that has a long list of grim side effects. It took years for him to notice any changes in his body, but eventually his muscles started to give up on him and over time he has increasingly lost the use of his hands. He discovered Peripheral Neuropathy first hand. While most of the other veterans exposed to Agent Orange have passed away, he is still alive and in great shape. Even though he was unable to pick up the samples from my table, he had a happy energy and demeanor. As it turned out, he always wears the same outfit because they are the only clothes he can put on. He needs a special device to work on the computer and he has had to adjust greatly to perform his daily activities.