I worked for Eric and Viviana Hollenbeck at Blue Ox in 1979-80, when the newest piece of equipment was a Korean War surplus engine for the sawmill ("The Journey of Radioman," Nov. 9). I had no idea at that time that Eric was a veteran, let alone survivor of some of the heaviest fighting of the Vietnam War.
I was 26 years old at that time, and Eric and Viviana became my foster parents as my father was dying of cancer. They both gave me a lot, in a lot of different ways, but there's one story that stands out to me: I was working on a piece of equipment and Eric was there advising me. There was some kind of disagreement between us and I got pissed off and walked away. Eric came up behind me as I was still walking, spun me around by my shoulder, and said, "Don't ever turn your back on a man!" He was shaking like a one-man earthquake, and I thought he was going to flatten me right there.
But he didn't. I don't remember exactly what happened after that, but it taught me something impossible to forget — the power of speaking truth, straight out, without violence, and letting whatever happens next be what it is.
To me, that's heroism beyond war. Thanks Eric, Viviana.
Bob Olofson, Eureka