‘That’s what I was meant to do’: Veteran spent 50 years aiding Siouxland

Veterans Voices

His medical career spanned over 50 years, but it all got started during his time in the military.

Joe Olander wasn’t sure where he wanted to go to college, so he joined the Navy in 1967 to pay for school, but he soon found out the military wasn’t just a stepping stone to higher education. 

“It just taught me a lot about life, a lot about taking care of people. And I guess that’s what I was meant to do,” Olander said.

While in the military, he helped soldiers with physical injures but then moved to the psych ward where he assisted soldiers with extreme PTSD from the Vietnam War. He recalls helping a Marine who suffered from a near-death experience.

“He, really nice guy, but he went home on leave and one night he attacked his mom because he thought she was the Viet Cong,” Olander recalled.

Olander soon took his love for helping people around the United States to reach more people in need.

“I worked in the hospital for about 14-and-a-half years and then I switched over to home care. And so I would travel around the country to differecnt people’s houses and set them up with medical equipment in the house,” Olander said.

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