Red Cross volunteer to speak about her Vietnam War experiences

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 26, 2016

 “Donut Dolly” is Kotcher’s personal view of the Vietnam War, recorded in a journal that she kept during her tour.

“Donut Dolly” is Kotcher’s personal view of the Vietnam War, recorded in a journal that she kept during her tour.

Photo provided by Joann Puffer Kotcher

Advertisement

EASTPOINTE — American Red Cross volunteer in Vietnam and “Donut Dolly” author Joann Puffer Kotcher is set to present her experiences during the Vietnam War, which she wrote down in a journal, at 2 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society, 16600 Stephens Road.

“It’s a very interesting story. She’s a very energetic lady and she puts a good presentation together. She will be the kickoff for our 2016-17 fall-winter lecture series,” said Chris Causley, executive director of the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society.

According to a newsletter from the society, Kotcher was assigned to Vietnam and South Korea as an American Red Cross volunteer after graduating from the University of Michigan.

Kotcher in an email to the Eastsider said that she wrote the book for Vietnam veterans.

“I wrote ‘Donut Dolly’ because I felt there was a chance that the Vietnam veterans would end up on the scrap heap of history. It took almost 50 years for society to even begin to understand their contributions and sacrifices,” she stated. “I had the unique experience of traveling throughout the country and seeing our soldiers in many different assignments (I had four permanent station assignments),” stated Kotcher.

“I wanted to make sure our veterans were seen in a positive, realistic light,” she stated.

Joining the Red Cross Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas program was Kotcher’s decision.

“The decision to join the Red Cross SRAO (Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas) program was solely my own. I learned about the program through my sister, who served as a captain in intelligence in Saigon. I felt that with the information I had, females in the military never traveled or got to do much,” stated Kotcher.

Kotcher was in Vietnam for one year.

“This was the maximum girls in the program could serve in the battle zone. On the other hand, prior to my Vietnam service, I served in Korea for 14 months, since it wasn’t a battle zone,” she stated.

According to Kotcher, her focus for the presentation will be “the historical perspective” of what she saw and her contributions to the veterans.
Admission is by donation.

For more information on the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society, visit www.mimths.org or call (586) 872-2581.

Advertisement