‘We are lean and mean’

Barbara Chapman, 69, wife of Harold Chapman, sat on a bench near the concession stand where her husband Harold was buying lunch. “Do you want ketchup on that hot dog?” he yelled.

“Nah,” she replied, before recalling the early days of their 48-year-long marriage.

Photo credit: Lara Szott Picture of Harold Chapman, AmVets, at wreath laying ceremony .

Photo credit: Lara Szott
Picture of Harold Chapman, AmVets, at wreath laying ceremony .

The pair wed nine months before Harold was deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. Stationed in the Philippines for 18 months, Harold was charged with laying out resting barriers to prevent the F4 Phantoms from hydroplaning.

“Typhoons were frequent so I was busy a lot,” Harold said.

Currently, he is the first vice commander of AmVets, a volunteer-led organization that works to improve veterans’ quality of life, which he joined in the 1980s. When he returned from the war, Harold was content to “settle down with my wife and not worry about deploying again,” he said.

As Harold took a bite of his hotdog and chased it down with a beer, a passing friend, Beryl Love, waved hello. Love also works for AmVets as the national programs director.

“We are lean and mean,” Love said. “We fight for the reintegration of veterans in daily life.”

Reporting by Lara Szott