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booksbenji
04-19-05, 06:13 PM
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hear's the story:

Midland man launches Web site for veterans
Site posts news, info on conflicts, ways to connect with other vets
By Ruth Campbell
Odessa American

Midlander Johnie Lee Qualls has found a new passion in life helping veterans connect with each other, find out about past conflicts and even listen to music through the World Wide Web.
A Vietnam veteran and retired insurance agency owner, Qualls started www.todaytomorrowyesterday.net. The official launch was April 15, although it has been up about 45 days.
Its getting about 1,000 hits a month.
I plan on this site being one of the best sites in the country. This is the first time one is coming from our part of the country, focusing on our part of the country, Qualls said.
The Web site has everything from Congressional Medal of Honor winners to views of the Vietnam Wall to stories from soldiers in Iraq, Somalia, Vietnam, World War II, Korea and other wars. It also includes news relevant to veterans about such things as benefits and blues, reggae, R&B and smooth jazz music.
I just started digging, he said of gathering content for the site. I have been digging and digging and digging to get what I got. We have five new stories coming up at the end of the week, he said.
Hes also doing a Web photo album of photos from Bravo Battery in Iraq. There will be 900 pictures online when hes done.
Its kind of tough to talk about it. I couldnt tell you how many times Ive had tears in my eyes getting stories and putting them together, he said.
And he wants more.
I need stories from moms and dads, brothers and sisters of their heroes, Qualls said, adding the tales dont have to be from soldiers in Iraq but from past conflicts as well.
He first got interested in doing a Web site when he looked up the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the outfit he was with in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. The 63-year-old Midland resident joined the Army in 1961 and was in the Dominican Republic for seven months in 1965 before shipping off to Vietnam.
I felt fortunate to make it back, he said. Letters from his sister, Carol Lee Qualls, touched him when he was in Vietnam, and he wants to give something back to fellow veterans.
In the last two years, he said hes helped obtain benefits for about 150 veterans.
After returning from Vietnam, Qualls said he was called every name in the book. He left the U.S. in 1972 for Europe. He returned the day President Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981.
Id lost friends, Id lost family members. My dad wouldnt even talk to me about it. I was so angry. I took me 10 years to even talk about Vietnam. I wouldnt let anybody know I was around it, he said.
Qualls said his father spent 31 years in the Air Force in World War II, Korea and during the Vietnam era. He said he joined the Army as an escape.
Qualls started school in Anchorage, Alaska, and graduated in Puerto Rico. He met his wife, Gladys Helene Qualls, in Frankfurt, Germany. Shes a native of Jakarta, Indonesia.
Now Qualls said he tries to look on the bright side of things. I try to look at the comradeship and fellowship I had in Vietnam, he said.
The Qualls have three children and one grandchild. Qualls was transferred to Midland when he was in the insurance business. We fell in love and here we stay, he said. I kind of feel like this is Gods part of the earth the Permian Basin.

On the Web
www.todaytomorrowyesterday.net


LOOK and enjoy.

Semper Fi

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