VA Western New York Healthcare System
Continuing His Service for Veterans
Rene Ehret is a most humble and modest man, so when interviewed for his story, like many Veterans of his era, he played down his personal military role in Vietnam but spoke passionately about the contributions of his unit - the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Rene is proud to have been a former member of the 1st Cavalry Division’s Company B, 228th Aviation Battalion, as a flight engineer. While explaining his assigned helicopter maintenance duties, Rene reflectively discussed to his trip next week to Washington, D.C., to attend two special events – a reunion of the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association on April 18, and on April 19, a 50th anniversary commemoration of Operation Delaware. The commemoration will include a memorial dedication at Arlington National Cemetery for all aircrew and pilots lost during the Vietnam War. During Operation Delaware alone, over 30 helicopters were destroyed or rendered inoperable, with over 100 killed and 500 wounded in action. During the entire war, the division suffered more than any other U.S. Army division with 5,444 men killed and over 26,592 wounded. For Rene personally, he will be reverently honoring and remembering the service and sacrifice of his close Army buddy who was killed in action, Specialist 7 Anthony Housch.
Today as a VA Volunteer, Rene is glad to serve Veterans in a different capacity, preparing food for veteran patients at VA Western New York Healthcare System. For over 8 years, Rene has been working two shifts a week to stay busy, but more importantly, he says, to “interact with good people and do something truly worthwhile – preparing good food for veterans.” Food preparation work as a VA volunteer is no surprise to those who know Rene well. After his Vietnam service, Rene used his GI Bill to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State College in 1972 in Food Service and Nutrition. He then put his expertise to good use for 17 years as a food service manager living in Massachusetts for a restaurant chain based in New York City. Mr. Ehret eventually moved back to Buffalo to take a position in the printing industry for many years and later selling windows for a lumber company. Though he officially retired in 2008, VA Western New York Healthcare System is thrilled and lucky to have such a dedicated Veteran and VA volunteer like Rene Ehret in their Food Service department.
If you are interested in volunteering at VA Western New York Healthcare System, please contact Sharon in Buffalo at 716-862-8671, or Jason in Batavia at 585-297-1197.