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Keith Lay's Story

In 1968 I was drafted into the US Army. I did my training at Fort Hood. In 1969 I headed to Vietnam where I was a grunt for six months then transferred to helicopters as a door gunner which I really enjoyed. I went to Australia for R&R where I met my future wife. I returned to Vietnam in March 1970. I immediately requested another R&R to Australia. We both felt the Lord had his hand in our lives. We continued to correspond.

In August 1970, we were flying and suddenly, the helicopter went quiet. I looked out to see where we would land. Our elevation was 3000 ft. and below us was 100 ft. of triple canopy jungle. I did my job making sure everyone was correctly strapped in. We quickly fell through the tress while sparks were flying everywhere. When the helicopter crashed, there were medivac teams positioned and ready to help. I couldn't straighten my back and went in and out of consciousness. I was immediately taken to the hospital and was operated on to remove a blood clot from my L1 spinal disc. I was paralyzed from my waist down.

I was transferred to Japan for two weeks and then I was transferred to Letterman Hospital in San Francisco where I was flat on my back for six months. During that time, I questioned my faith in God and about my life with Kay. I didn't want her to have a paraplegic for a husband. While I was in Letterman I started to get feeling and some movement in my legs and feet. After six months, I was transferred to Long Beach VA facility where I continued to improve. My cousin was the nursing administrator there and she offered to have Kay to come stay with her if I bought her over. She arrived in the States January 1971, the day before I was to get out of bed and learn to walk again. Although I have some medical issues which I endure every day I thank the Lord I am on my feet even though the older I get the more unstable I am. I get amazing care from the VA. Yes, Kay and I were married and thankfully we have been married for 45yrs. We have three children and five grandchildren. Feeling very blessed.


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I was afraid I'd need a new roof but they came out and and explained what they needed to do to make it last a few more years. Great. Did a fabulous job and so far so good. My only fear was watching them do their job on my high roof. By the way, I sell Real Estate and refer them to my clients too. Honest, dependable and reachable!

Carla Sweetwood
Carla Sweetwood Realtor Keller Williams Realty

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