Each Tiny Step A Victory

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On the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam veteran Chuck Searcy is that tall, friendly American who is changing lives one child at a time. The children have cerebral palsy or polio, are too weak to walk, and in desperate need of leg braces, CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen reports.

And now they have the braces, because of him. They're custom-made in a special workshop. The Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation paid for it, but Searcy made it happen.

"If we don't have Chuck, we never have a workshop like this," said Dr. Tran Thi Thu Ha, a pediatrician.

Every tiny step is a victory.

To Help Out
Anyone interested in contributing to Chuck Searcy's efforts can contact him via e-mail at Chucksearcy@yahoo.com c/o Chuck Searcy, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, landmine removal project. People can also contact MAG, the mines advisory group technical advisor, David Denman, at his organization's Web site or via e-mail at maguk@mag.org.uk (United Kingdom) or at magviet@dng.vnn.vn in Vietnam.

"For me, it's an opportunity to pay back the Vietnamese people and, in a way, to honor some of my American friends who died in Vietnam," Searcy said.

Like many other young Americans, serving in Vietnam turned Chuck Searcy against the war. Five years ago, he came back.

Despite the seeming tranquility of Vietnam today, there remains a terrible American legacy. Vietnamese are still being maimed and killed by land mines left behind from a war long since over.

In what was once a Marine fire-base — Charley One in rural Quang Tri province — small, privately-funded groups are removing mines. For Searcy, it is not enough. Through the Vietnam Vets Memorial Fund, he's determined to raise more money to clear away the estimated 350,000 tons of unexploded mines and bombs that remain hidden here.

"It will take up to 10 years and between $4 (billion) and $10 billion to clean up the problem," Searcy said.

Once a week, the group destroys the mines they find here, a haunting echo from the long-ago war that brought Searcy back — a former enemy, now a trusted friend.

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