Randy Zemel calls himself a “D-minus” student who had no interest in college. After graduating from his Chicago area high school, he enlisted in the Marines in 1965. He served in Vietnam from 1966-’68 and left the service in 1969 as a sergeant.
Randy thought little about his Vietnam service after he returned home. Instead, he concentrated on his studies at a local teachers’ college. He spent about two years teaching high school special education classes at one of Chicago’s most challenging housing projects.
Shortly thereafter Zemel says an advertisement caught his eye, “Become an air traffic controller.” Intrigued, he did. Randy says he loved his career which spanned more than 30 years at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport. He did not foresee the remarkable changes awaiting him upon retirement.
Nightmares, isolation, and painful emotions laid in wait and assaulted Zemel once he no longer functioned within the constraints of a work-a-day world. Life became scary. His wife and family grew alarmed. Then, decades after his return home from Vietnam, he did something he never did before. He asked for help.
Today on the podcast, we hear about Randy Zemel’s journey, including a life-changing experience that brought him to tears.
DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.