2011-11-10 / News

Service Takes Many Forms: Some of Mackinac County’s Veterans Share Their Stories

Shoberg Helped Injured Soldiers

John Shoberg of Cedarville was a clinical psychologist at Letterman Army Medical Center during the Vietnam War and after. Sometimes, soldiers would come in as early as three days after being injured.

“I think the hardest thing was treating and talking to and helping young men that came in with severe wounds, for example, helping some 20-yearold, 19-year-old say goodbye to their legs, or an arm, or, in one case, two legs and one arm,” he said. “Their lives were changed forever, and very suddenly so.”

Mr. Shoberg counseled both the soldiers and their families.

“In the military, we take care of the whole family,” he said.

He spent just short of 25 years serving in the military. He served during Vietnam, Granada, and both Gulf Wars. He moved 19 times, living nine years in Europe and three in Hawaii.

“During that time, I’ve learned to respect people of all cultures,” he said.

He said he learned three things about people. First, it’s important to care about others and accept the care of others. Second, it’s important to feel one is making a constructive contribution to the world.

“Third, it’s important to recognize that caring for others and making a contribution to the world around us requires a great deal of energy, and I think that we all need a place to go, things to do, to help us regenerate our energy,” he said. “The meaning of leisure . . . is to re-create our energy so that we can carry on those first two activities.”

While his service wasn’t easy, Mr. Shoberg said, it was the right thing to do.

“It was always difficult, and sometimes emotionally draining, but it’s always important to remember that we are there to help, and that no injury or problem should be so great that we can’t help an individual engage with it and, if possible, overcome it,” he said.

“It was a true honor,” he said of his service. “It was a privilege to serve with so many fine men and women through my career.”

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