Born to a blended Canadian and American family, Ray grew up with a rich heritage of Acadian culture. However, his childhood was not all roses. He grew up navigating between speaking French at home and English at school. His academic achievement being less than spectacular, his failure was attributed to his bilingualism and he struggled in school for many years. It wasn’t until he was in his 60’s that he learned later he had also been battling with dyslexia. Fortunately, Gauvin discovered early on that he had a talent for entrepreneurship. After returning home from Vietnam, Ray used his work ethic and business acumen to become a successful business man, fundraiser for nonprofits, and philanthropist.
A Soldier's Heart: The Three Wars of Vietnam
A Soldier’s Heart is a moving and expansive memoir by Vietnam Veteran Ray Gauvin. The story takes us from the French Ghetto of Presque Isle, Maine, and the descendants of the Acadians, to military bases all over the country, and to Vietnam and back. Gauvin takes an unflinching look at life on the ground in Saigon and the horrors of the unusual and classified military posting of WDMET. The ingenuity and work ethic he built to help support his family as a kid got him through both the loss of his father and the war. But afterwards, pushing himself to the edge with striving and responsibility became a compulsion that staved off the nightmare.
Silent about the classified mission of WDMET, even to his family, Gauvin wrestled on his own with the effects of Agent Orange and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He became an entrepreneur, a businessman, and a philanthropist, but PTSD kept him embroiled in an internal battle between his obsession to work, his drive for success, a search for peace of mind, and thoughts of suicide. But after fifty years of running from the past, he turned about-face, and began the journey of remembering and healing.
This book is a must read for anyone seeking an inside look at one man’s road to Vietnam, and WDMET. It also gives incredible insight into the history of francophone communities in Northern Maine.