Podlaski, Ron

Podlaski, (Ronald Paul) Ron

(1946–  ) veteran/social activist; born in New York City. Born into a single-parent welfare family with seven siblings, he joined the U.S. Army in 1966, and as a volunteer Green Beret, conducted special operations in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In 1969 he returned to the U.S.A. and after working at several jobs studied child psychology at the University of Maine (1977–79). He then worked at the Maple Hill School (Vt.), a school for abused and troubled children. In 1986 he became vice-president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) and began working with Southeast Asian refugees and Amerasian children in the U.S.A. In 1991, under the auspices of the VVAF, he established a prosthetics clinic in Cambodia, especially for Cambodians injured by land mines laid down during the wars there. In 1992 he began an agricultural and fish-farming program for which the amputees are responsible. A 1994 Petra Foundation Fellow, he lived with his family in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.