Vietnam veteran continues service after 35 years in military - WNEM TV 5

Vietnam veteran continues service after 35 years in military

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

At just 19 years-old, after getting his high school diploma, Tom Salvador was drafted to be a solider in the Vietnam War.

“Yea, you're afraid, afraid you're going to be leaving home. You're going to be around new people. You don't know what you are going to be doing...you don't know what to expect,” Salvador said.

He didn’t realize that this was just the beginning of spending the majority of his life serving our country. 

“I felt that it was my obligation, I really did. You got to give something back,” Salvador said.

Salvador served two tours in Vietnam. He went on to spend a total of 35 years in the military.

Now as a retired master sergeant, he is still giving back. Salvador mentors veterans in Mid-Michigan that need help getting back on their feet.

“Tom is a first rate guy. He has always cared about soldiers,” said Fred Bourjally. “As he moved up in the ranks, he demonstrated that.”

Salvador also does the honor guard, which gives our soldiers proper funerals. Sometimes, they are the only family that veterans have.

“Sometimes when that does happen, we will be the family,” Salvador said. “It's not easy, it's really not. It's like you are looking at yourself.”

Along with volunteer work and mentoring, Salvador teaches fitness at the Flint YMCA. He also helps organize runs and walks that raise money for our veterans. 

“He has just embraced the Flint area, to an unbelievable level,” Bourjally said. “He knows everybody, and willing to help anybody.”

Salvador said, “You lead by example, I’m so up on that.”

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