Kansas veteran tends to books as a way to give back to his country

Veteran Salute

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Bob DeHaven says he’s been hard at work at his current job for roughly two years, checking off everything in his head, making sure everything is just right with the precision he used for another job nearly 45 years ago.

Most mornings when the West Douglas DAV Thrift Store opens for business, Bob tends to his books.

“I like the fact that, that we’re doing something good for veterans, and I’m, I’m real big on that,” he said.

DeHaven joined the Army in 1974 following his older brother’s footsteps.

“He is serious, A-type personality, owned his first home by the time he was 21, and I just hated him for that, but I kind of wanted to be like him, you know?”

During basic training, DeHaven helped process soldiers coming back from Vietnam.

“It made me pretty glad that I was just young enough to miss Vietnam. They all just kind of had a dead look in their eyes.”

He spent most of his time in the service in supply, a job he says prepared for what he found most rewarding, He eventually became a patient administration specialist at the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center outside of Denver.

“I had to make sure they had any equipment, or if they needed a nurse along the way, or whatever. I had to make sure all of that was there. If you screw up you were in trouble, somebody’s life could be in trouble. I got them in and got them in safely.”

DeHaven spent eight years in the Army, seeing the pages of history firsthand.

“That was just rewarding, you know. It felt good to know I did my job and did it right.”

Now, he says his job is to keep them all straight for those who support an important mission.

“The fact that that we’re helping disabled American veterans, and I know that I’m contributing to that is rewarding.”

DeHaven says he received his training to become a patient administration specialist at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

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