Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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June 10, 2014

The nurse who gave local vet a hand

47 years later, Jim Vines able to hug and thank the Army surgical nurse who repaired his hand

(Continued)

Other than knowing the soldier was a baseball pitcher, she learned little else about him – until about 47 years later when she received a call from him.

AmVets Post 133 commander Jim Vines was 19 when he was wounded Oct. 18, 1967, by a short artillery round in Cu Chi, while serving with the 25th Infantry Division. A nurse at the 12th Evacuation Hospital had sewn up his hand.

Vines writes a veterans affairs newspaper column and spoke to Blum after he had written a column about sexual abuse in the military. In 2013, Blum published “Women Under Fire: Abuse in the Military” that addresses the issue.

Vines discovered something else they had in common – their service in Vietnam, attached to the 25th Infantry Division. It was then he realized Blum, now a psychotherapist in Seattle, Wash., was the nurse who had sewn together his pitching hand.

Her efforts to repair his wounded hand enabled him to hold the hands of dying vets and hold the hands of his children, and most importantly to “put the wedding band on my wife’s hand,” he said to those attending the wall update Saturday.

After Vines introduced Blum, a retired Army captain, he saluted her and they then hugged.

“She’s my guardian angel,” Vines said.

The other three guest speakers this year were retired U.S. Army Col. Mark Franklin, retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Mant Hawkins and U.S. Navy Capt. Gil Miller, currently the commanding officer at NAS-Fort Worth.

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