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SALUTING PULASKI COUNTY’S VETERANS

(Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series of stories spotlighting Pulaski County’s military veterans.)

PULASKI — Reggie Scott is a military veteran who knows firsthand the challenge of overcoming obstacles.
Although he lost his left hand and most of his eyesight in Vietnam, he hasn’t let that stop him from living life to the fullest.
It was November 1966 when Scott, who had grown up in Hiwassee, was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was 25 and had already been married to his wife, “Peachie,” for several years.
Scott was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., for basic training, which was followed by advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., before he headed to Vietnam in April 1967.
While in Vietnam, Scott’s main duty was manning a 75-ton rock crusher. However, his tour of duty was cut short, when only three months after he had arrived, he hit a large rock with a charge of dynamite in it, which exploded.
This dynamite explosion left Scott blinded and without his left hand. He said some of his vision returned later, but he can still mostly just make out silhouettes and figures.
For his military service, Scott received a Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and a marksman badge, with rifle bar.
After he was injured in Vietnam, Scott spent a short period at an Air Force hospital before returning to the U.S., where he was admitted to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. Scott said that of the 45 veterans in his ward, 40 were amputees, some who had lost as many as three limbs.
“The men I saw at Walter Reed had suffered, but they took it with pride,” Scott said.
After his time there, he spent six more months at the Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center in Illinois, which was one of the first blind rehabilitation centers for military veterans in the U.S. Scott noted that most of the veterans who were there at that time were Vietnam veterans.
While at Hines, Scott said he mostly received training in mobility, but he also learned to type, read Braille and do woodworking. In addition, he was able to take and pass the GED test.
With the six months spent at Walter Reed and six months at Hines, it was one year before Scott returned home to his wife in Pulaski County. Together, the two eventually started a family, having one son, Bradley, and one daughter, Regina, who now have two boys and two girls apiece, giving the Scotts four grandchildren.
In 1971, Scott received his first seeing-eye dog, Omar. When Omar’s health went downhill, Scott received another dog named Pam, who he kept for four years. However, once his children grew older and were able to help out more, Scott did not have as much use for Pam, so he returned her.
Later on, Scott went to another rehabilitation center for the blind in West Haven, Conn., where he received computer training and obtained a computer specially designed for the blind. Scott also received additional training at a center for the blind in Augusta, Ga.
“When I first lost my eyesight, there were not that many things for the blind at that time,” Scott said. “Computers have been a new world to me. There are so many things I can do with [a computer] that I couldn’t do before.”
For example, reading used to be out of the question, but now that he has his computer, he can just scan the reading material into the computer and ultimately read it. He noted that he can even scan in material from the Bible and read daily scriptures.
Scott said learning to type with one hand and having to rely solely on keyboard commands instead of using a mouse have been his biggest challenges in using computers.
Now that their children are grown, Reggie and Peachie stay very active and like to travel, especially to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. They have also taken trips out West and even up to Canada and Niagara Falls when they owned an RV.
In 1997, Scott had the opportunity to visit Crested Butte, which is a ski resort in Colorado. This week-long free trip was sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans. While there, Scott was able to ride a dogsled and in a snow mobile, and even go scuba diving.
Back in Pulaski, where Scott and his wife reside, he is active within the YMCA, where he goes to exercise three times a week and has served on its board of directors. He also served as president of the Y’s Men’s Club when it was still an active group.
Scott noted that he takes the Pulaski Area Transit when he visits the YMCA, and he said that having that service has been very convenient for him.
The Scotts are also very active within Memorial Baptist Church, and both have served on numerous committees there. In addition, Scott has been a deacon at the church for several years.

When they have time, the two enjoy volunteering through the Pulaski Senior Center and Agency on Aging. Scott also occasionally does woodworking, and he and his wife take care of all the yard work at their home.
Scott has also continued his education through taking a correspondence course in English through the Hadley School for the Blind in Chicago, and taking computer classes at New River Community College.
After more than 40 years of being blind, Scott said that he has forgotten what some things look like, but his wife does her best to help describe sights to him. In addition to his loss of sight, Scott has had some hearing loss, so he often has to rely on his other senses.
Through it all, Scott said that church has been his mainstay, along with family and friends.
“Without being a Christian, I could never have gone through it all,” he said.
“And my wife, she’s been here all along, and I couldn’t have done it without her,” Scott said. “She’s been very valuable in my life. We’ve had a good life.”

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SALUTING PULASKI COUNTY’S VETERANS

(Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series of stories spotlighting Pulaski County’s military veterans.)

PULASKI — Reggie Scott is a military veteran who knows firsthand the challenge of overcoming obstacles.
Although he lost his left hand and most of his eyesight in Vietnam, he hasn’t let that stop him from living life to the fullest.
It was November 1966 when Scott, who had grown up in Hiwassee, was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was 25 and had already been married to his wife, “Peachie,” for several years.
Scott was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., for basic training, which was followed by advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., before he headed to Vietnam in April 1967.
While in Vietnam, Scott’s main duty was manning a 75-ton rock crusher. However, his tour of duty was cut short, when only three months after he had arrived, he hit a large rock with a charge of dynamite in it, which exploded.
This dynamite explosion left Scott blinded and without his left hand. He said some of his vision returned later, but he can still mostly just make out silhouettes and figures.
For his military service, Scott received a Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and a marksman badge, with rifle bar.
After he was injured in Vietnam, Scott spent a short period at an Air Force hospital before returning to the U.S., where he was admitted to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. Scott said that of the 45 veterans in his ward, 40 were amputees, some who had lost as many as three limbs.
“The men I saw at Walter Reed had suffered, but they took it with pride,” Scott said.
After his time there, he spent six more months at the Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center in Illinois, which was one of the first blind rehabilitation centers for military veterans in the U.S. Scott noted that most of the veterans who were there at that time were Vietnam veterans.
While at Hines, Scott said he mostly received training in mobility, but he also learned to type, read Braille and do woodworking. In addition, he was able to take and pass the GED test.
With the six months spent at Walter Reed and six months at Hines, it was one year before Scott returned home to his wife in Pulaski County. Together, the two eventually started a family, having one son, Bradley, and one daughter, Regina, who now have two boys and two girls apiece, giving the Scotts four grandchildren.
In 1971, Scott received his first seeing-eye dog, Omar. When Omar’s health went downhill, Scott received another dog named Pam, who he kept for four years. However, once his children grew older and were able to help out more, Scott did not have as much use for Pam, so he returned her.
Later on, Scott went to another rehabilitation center for the blind in West Haven, Conn., where he received computer training and obtained a computer specially designed for the blind. Scott also received additional training at a center for the blind in Augusta, Ga.
“When I first lost my eyesight, there were not that many things for the blind at that time,” Scott said. “Computers have been a new world to me. There are so many things I can do with [a computer] that I couldn’t do before.”
For example, reading used to be out of the question, but now that he has his computer, he can just scan the reading material into the computer and ultimately read it. He noted that he can even scan in material from the Bible and read daily scriptures.
Scott said learning to type with one hand and having to rely solely on keyboard commands instead of using a mouse have been his biggest challenges in using computers.
Now that their children are grown, Reggie and Peachie stay very active and like to travel, especially to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. They have also taken trips out West and even up to Canada and Niagara Falls when they owned an RV.
In 1997, Scott had the opportunity to visit Crested Butte, which is a ski resort in Colorado. This week-long free trip was sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans. While there, Scott was able to ride a dogsled and in a snow mobile, and even go scuba diving.
Back in Pulaski, where Scott and his wife reside, he is active within the YMCA, where he goes to exercise three times a week and has served on its board of directors. He also served as president of the Y’s Men’s Club when it was still an active group.
Scott noted that he takes the Pulaski Area Transit when he visits the YMCA, and he said that having that service has been very convenient for him.
The Scotts are also very active within Memorial Baptist Church, and both have served on numerous committees there. In addition, Scott has been a deacon at the church for several years.

When they have time, the two enjoy volunteering through the Pulaski Senior Center and Agency on Aging. Scott also occasionally does woodworking, and he and his wife take care of all the yard work at their home.
Scott has also continued his education through taking a correspondence course in English through the Hadley School for the Blind in Chicago, and taking computer classes at New River Community College.
After more than 40 years of being blind, Scott said that he has forgotten what some things look like, but his wife does her best to help describe sights to him. In addition to his loss of sight, Scott has had some hearing loss, so he often has to rely on his other senses.
Through it all, Scott said that church has been his mainstay, along with family and friends.
“Without being a Christian, I could never have gone through it all,” he said.
“And my wife, she’s been here all along, and I couldn’t have done it without her,” Scott said. “She’s been very valuable in my life. We’ve had a good life.”

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