Angel Blog

A Tribute to our Heroes: Vietnam Veteran Pascal Koyton

In this latest episode of our video series, A Tribute to Our Heroes, we talk with Vietnam veteran Pascal Koyton – a Detroit Mobile Food Distribution [MFD] volunteer and a previous Soldiers’ Angels Volunteer of the Quarter.

Pascal shares about his time as a Soldiers’ Angels volunteer, his experience in Vietnam and in the Air Force Reserves, and why he thinks it’s important for veterans to be involved in their community and support their fellow veterans.

View his video interview below or scroll all the way to the bottom to view some of his photos.

Video Interview with Pascal Koyton

Q. You’re a member of the American Legion, Joe Louis Post 375 where our Mobile Food Distribution is hosted every month in Detroit. Can you tell us how you got involved in volunteering with Soldiers’ Angels?

Pascal: I got on board with the American Legion and they just started having it [the monthly MFDs] and I just volunteered, because, you know, it is to help our veterans. They need all the support they can get… And me being a veteran for 33 years, that was the main reason. A lot of them are bad off, so anything I can do to help the veterans I do… I didn’t mind at all to jump in and help out.

Q. What kind of response to you get when you are distributing food or doing other things around the community?

Pascal: You know, pretty good. For Soldiers’ Angels, it’s once a month – the second Thursday of every month – and sometime 200 people sign up [to receive food assistance]. Usually November, close to Thanksgiving is a heavy month, and it can get close to 250… And if there’s food left over, sometimes I give it to church groups that I know in the area. So it’s always a hectic day because I’m busy – I open the hall up, close the hall up, and clean up and everything… So it’s been working out. It’s a full day, trust me! When I leave there at 4 or 5 o’clock, I am tired. 

Q. What does it mean to you to be a veteran?

Pascal: I served my country. I’ve seen veterans, and some of them are doing well and some of them are really struggling. I see it here in Detroit and other places where I’ve gone. Homeless vets. When I go down to the VA hospital, I see a bunch who are struggling trying to get medical help. That’s why I jump in and try to help out as much as I can. 

Q. Can you tell us about your experience in Vietnam?

Pascal: I was in De Nang Air Base, which was the most northern base in Vietnam to the DMZ. I was an account finance specialist, so I made sure the troops got paid and the bills got paid… I interacted with a lot of people coming in from the bush. I would try to be sympathetic and try to help them as much as I could because they were hurting or wounded. I thought it was very rewarding in my sense.   

Q. Do you have any words of wisdom to impart on the next generation of service members?

Pascal:That’s something I’m focused on – to get the next generation of veterans coming out, trying to catch them as they come out and get them to join the American Legion and to do things also with Soldiers’ Angels… so that’s something I’m interested in myself.  

From all of us here at Soldiers’ Angels, we want to thank Pascal for his service to our nation – both in and out of uniform.

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