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Letter to Vietnam returns home

Marine saved 1967 note from Ti students 44 years

Charles “Gusher” Smith, a World War II sailor and long-time veteran’s advocate, marked his special day Nov. 11 — Veterans Day, which happened to be his 91st birthday. Joining Smith celebrating at Ticonderoga Elementary School  were, from left, Gulf War veteran Nancy Paquette, Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Roy Harper and Vietnam War veteran Tom Provoncha.

Charles “Gusher” Smith, a World War II sailor and long-time veteran’s advocate, marked his special day Nov. 11 — Veterans Day, which happened to be his 91st birthday. Joining Smith celebrating at Ticonderoga Elementary School were, from left, Gulf War veteran Nancy Paquette, Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Roy Harper and Vietnam War veteran Tom Provoncha. Photo by Nancy Frasier.

— “We will write again,” the letter concludes. “May God bless you and have a Merry Christmas.”

The students never got as reply, that they remember.

McDonald doesn’t know why Mark Gagnon saved the letter, but it obviously had meaning for him.

“It goes to show that you never know what an act of kindness may mean to someone else,” McDonald said. “This letter was important to him.”

Bessett feels good to know the letter reached a soldier and had meaning.

“I don’t even remember it, but it feels good to think we helped someone,” she said. “It took 44 years, but we know our good deed helped him.”

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