Chuck Harvey’s Journey from Serving His Country to Serving Others
Edgehill maintenance supervisor’s inspiring dedication to supporting fellow veterans.
Chuck Harvey grew up admiring his uncle, a Marine who served in the Battle of Iwo Jima, so from an early age, he knew he would follow in those footsteps.
“I left high school a couple of months early, joined the Marine Corps, and then my first opportunity, I volunteered to go to Vietnam,” he says.
In the Marines, Chuck was a combat engineer who worked closely with civilians, helping to rebuild Vietnamese roads and villages after attacks. He was injured during his first tour of duty but returned for a second tour.
He spent four years in the Marines, earning a Purple Heart and a Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and left as a sergeant in 1972.
“We really didn’t talk about Vietnam at all,” Chuck says of the mood then. “I would say it was 30 years, and nobody asked me about it. Nobody.”
He says the advent of the home computers provided a way out of the isolation many Vietnam-era veterans faced.
“I can remember when the computer first came out,” he says. “I had a Tandy from RadioShack. I was on a bulletin board back then, and that’s when I first started connecting with other veterans.”
Chuck joined the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcycle riders—many veterans—who lead motorcades at the funerals of fallen service members and first responders. On one of those rides, he noticed someone wearing a patch for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA).
“When I found out (their purpose) was combat vets for combat vets, I knew that that was for me,” recalls Chuck, who is a State Representative for the Connecticut chapter of CVMA.
The group holds charity rides and golf tournaments and has the support of local businesses. Last year alone, they raised over $50,000 to support Connecticut veterans.
“Just two weeks ago, we helped a 90-year-old Korean War veteran,” he says. “His house and yard were in disarray, and he was at risk of getting thrown out of his house. We all met there and cleaned up his yard. Just seeing the gratitude from a 90-year-old vet, the smile on his face, that did it all.”
Today, Chuck is the maintenance supervisor at Edgehill. Each year, at the community’s Veterans Day luncheon, he puts on his Marine Corps uniform and joins the resident veterans for lunch.
“I really look forward to this,” he says. “We share our stories, and the war stories are the same whether World War II, Korea, or Vietnam. There’s just a camaraderie with these vets.”