For some American heroes, coming home is when the real battle begins—PTSD, injury, and learning to be a civilian again are all things members of the armed services have to contend with. For sufferers of Agent Orange exposure, the battle has been ongoing for 50 years. This is why Edward Amodeo, a former Patchogue resident and veteran with 25 years in the U.S. military, wants to help.
“Agent Orange was a tactical herbicide the U.S. military used to clear leaves and vegetation for military operations mainly during the Vietnam War. Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may have certain related illnesses,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The defoliant was used during “Operation Ranch Hand” from 1961 to 1971, causing cancers, leukemia, Type II diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease, among other ailments to American military service members. Furthermore, in a 2012 article in the Washington Post entitled “Agent Orange’s health effects continued long after the Vietnam War’s end,” it was estimated that the chemical agent may have affected as many as three million Vietnamese.
Amodeo’s desire to help other veterans is motivated by his own struggles with exposure-related illness. He was in Vietnam for 14 months, between 1965 and 1966—right in the middle of when Agent Orange was being sprayed. The war lasted from 1961 until the final U.S. troops were pulled on March 29, 1973.
“It not only affects the individual—it also affects the family, friends, relatives, neighbors, anyone who knows them. It’s very tough what they go through. It causes a lot of stress—physical and mental,” he said.
Amodeo is selling prints of stipple artwork done by Al Lazio, an artist and friend of Amodeo. Stipple artwork is a technique where dots are used in areas of light and shadow.
Amodeo has two artworks, both depicting the Vietnam War. One features U.S. soldiers carrying guns while walking forward and away from a fiery dragon. The other is an abstract sketch of a dragon encrusted with weapons. Amodeo donated original prints to the Northport VA Medical Center, where they remain. He’s also selling additional prints in order to help Agent Orange sufferers.
For more information, contact Amodeo at (631) 284-3593 or AmodeoEdward@yahoo.com.
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