Healing the wounds of war, one quarter at a time
By Dana M. Nichols
Record Staff Writer
January 01, 2013
MURPHYS - Ric Ryan is healing war wounds.
It happens every time someone in a passing car waves at Ryan as he takes his regular walk along Highway 4 between Murphys and Angels Camp.
Ryan always waves back. He keeps a count. For every time he waves, he donates 25 cents to Operation Mend, a University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center charity that surgically rebuilds the disfigured faces of soldiers wounded in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"He is one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met," said Becky Mancuso-Winding, the UCLA Medical Center staffer who processes Ryan's donations.
"His donations now total $16,000, and he sends checks regularly," Mancuso-Winding wrote in an email.
The wounds Ryan is helping to heal aren't just those of the soldiers whose faces were melted by roadside bombs.
Ryan, 67, served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. He has a few invisible wounds of his own.
Meanwhile, Ryan is also trying to heal himself. He attends Veterans Administration classes on post-traumatic stress disorder and anger management.
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