Snows reflect on serving during Vietnam
Since 1993 Dottie Snow has been a guest of honor as part of the spirit assembly at Meadow Lane Elementary School in Lee's Summit, Mo., where she was a music teacher for 18 years until her retirement eight years ago.
Snow, a 1984 Baker graduate who served in Vietnam in the late 1960s, and other veterans and current military members connected to the school receive a proper salute from the students, teachers and staff members during the Veterans Day ceremony. A week ago Snow attended the 20th annual event, which began when she received a surprise send-off from her students and co-workers before traveling to Washington, D.C., for the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial.
At the inaugural assembly in 1993, a teacher lauded Snow, saying "She represents the thousands who put their dreams on hold."
Snow, and her husband, Ken, a 1964 graduate, and a Vietnam vet, truly appreciate how the Meadow Lane event has been sustained for so long.
"I'll never forget when a veteran told me, 'Nobody thanked me for serving until today,'" recalled Dottie, who attended the latest assembly on Nov. 9. "The school does such a fine job of making it a really special event."
As a surgical post-op nurse specializing in maxillofacial injuries, Dottie tended to wounded soldiers for 12 hours a day at the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh Post, adjacent to a helicopter pad. Dottie volunteered to serve in the army her senior year of nursing school at Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing in Rochester, Minn. She and Ken did not know each other until meeting in the Army.
"You do wild things in love and war," Dottie said of volunteering at the height of the Tet Offensive in 1967-68. "My nursing classmate was already there and told me not to come to Vietnam. It has been emotionally hard for me. For years, I did not talk about the experience."
The Snows were married in Hawaii by Dottie's father, a Lutheran minister, in September 1967 and recently celebrated their 45th anniversary.
After Vietnam, Dottie chose a new career path, focusing on music education. She started taking courses at Baker in 1969, raised a family and completed her degree in 1984.
The Snows' connection to Baker runs deep. After Vietnam, Ken was vice president for admissions and student affairs at his alma mater for nearly 18 years before transitioning to college publications in the mid-1980s. He now serves as a regional director for Carnegie Communications.
The Snows enjoy spending time with their family and friends in the Kansas City area.
More than 40 years after serving, Dottie still remembers having an empty feeling about returning home from Vietnam.
"I always had a need to feel that what I did made a difference and was appreciated," she said.
In photo at right are: first row (left to right) — Baby Dean, Aldon, Baby Brian; second row — Ellie Staatz, Dottie Snow, Ken Snow, Liam Snow; third row — Steph, Mason and Rylee Staatz, Nicki; back row: Scott Staatz and Jon Snow.