ROCKPORT, TEXAS — A local Vietnam veteran is committed to helping others in any way he can.
“I keep running into people who think I'm crazy,” said Richard Butler. “I’m not crazy, I'm living life.”
It would have been easy for Butler to give up and fade away. He came back from Vietnam in 1970 with damaged feet and severe post-traumatic stress disorder. The mental and physical strain forced him to bounce around from job to job.
“32 different jobs in forty-some years, because I had to call in sick, I couldn't walk,” said Butler.
He even started a few businesses, but by the mid-2000’s, Butler was down and out. That's when he found his way to the Coastal Bend. He spent a few months living on the beach when his life suddenly turned around.
“The Lord provided everything from a vehicle, to work, to friendship, to these lovely people down here,” Butler said.
Since then, Butler has devoted his life to helping others, even when he had little to give.
“Even if it was all I had, I would give it to them,” he said.
These days, Butler has finally found peace.
“I’m an artist, I'm a 3-D designer, I'm, a wood-maker; just to keep from sitting in a rocking chair and going to waste,” he said.
Late last year, Butler applied for benefits through the Veterans Administration. In January, they were approved.
“I punched in my computer and I cried,” Butler said. “I almost fell out of my chair because there were thousands of dollars in my bank.”
Unsurprisingly, Butler is still paying it forward. His latest example, battle cross plaques that he's presenting to the local honor guard.
“ In my heart they deserve it and it's just my honor to do it for them,” said Butler.
It’s the kind of gesture Butler plans to continue as long as he can.
“If I can help as many as I can before I go, hey, thank you Lord,” Butler said with a laugh.