As a current American Red Cross volunteer, I thought it would be an intriguing opportunity to interview some of my fellow volunteers at Womack Army Medical Center. The first person I decided to interview was a Korean War and Special Forces Vietnam veteran. Sgt. retired Command Sgt. Maj. Glenn Lane. Lane has been volunteering at WAMC for over 25 years, helping out in the Family Medicine Residency Clinic. He delivers the mail, makes copies of medical records, and mentors his fellow volunteers and staff members. He volunteers an average of two days per week.
What surprised me most about Lane was discovering that he served in the Korean and the Vietnam wars, which ultimately led to a tumultuous event that he said he would never forget.
But before I get into that story, I would like to start from the beginning.
Lane was born in Scott County, Va. He said throughout his youth he always had the dream of becoming a Soldier.
“I used to march around all the time with a broomstick on my shoulder,” said Lane. His childhood dream came true in 1949 at the age of eighteen, when he enlisted in the Army and soon relocated to North Carolina in 1955.
He started his Army career as a private in the Korean War and was promoted three months later to a sergeant squad leader.
While serving in the Special Forces in Vietnam, from 1965 to March 1967, Lane, suffered serious combat injuries. He was shot six times in the stomach and chest from enemy fire and was flown to a Vietnamese hospital where he had to undergo major surgery. He made a full recovery, thanks to his good friend, Dr. Wesley G. Byerly, who currently resides in Hickory, N.C. Over the years, Lane was promoted to command sergeant major, retired in November 1970 and has been volunteering at WAMC ever since, giving back to those who have helped him. “It was like coming home when I came here,” Lane said. The best part about volunteering, Lane said, is the chance for him to assist the hospital each week and to inspire people of all ages to volunteer.
The Red Cross staff also acknowledged Lane’s exceptional commitment to the organization. “Glenn is an exceptional service to the armed forces volunteer, with a positive attitude, who always jumps in to help when needed,” said Amber Alexander assistant station manager. “I would like to clone him if I could; he’s a wonderful volunteer, said Sabrina Jackson, senior station manager.
When he is not volunteering, Lane enjoys gardening, making homemade jelly and spending time at home in Puppy Creek with his wife Tammy and youngest son Stephen, who recently graduated from Fayetteville Christian School. He also has an older son, Stacey, who lives and teaches in Asheville, N.C. and a stepdaughter, Jamie, who is a helicopter pilot stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala.