By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
There were two things Duward Moon hated to see — a home appliance that didn’t work and a veteran who didn’t belong to a Veterans of Foreign Wars post. He spent his free time fixing both.
The Vietnam veteran and repairman died March 31 at age 61.
Born Jan. 15, 1947, in Portales, Moon went to college for a semester and decided it wasn’t for him. He enlisted in the Navy in 1966.
“Either you went to college, you got married or you went to Vietnam,” said his brother, David Moon of Portales. “Those were the three choices that guys had.”
Duward always had an interest in electronics, and his training with the Navy furthered his interest and education. He didn’t like to talk about his tours in Vietnam, but he could often show off what he learned. His post-military careers usually dealt with electronics, whether it was working as an appliance repairman or spending time at a call center when other repairmen had problems on-site.
Duward liked being able to say he’d been in nearly every home in Portales to repair some appliance over the years, his brother said. When he had a stroke in 2004, it robbed him of mobility on his left side, but he never lost the ability to fix things.
“Even after his stroke, he could tell you the model number or part number for whatever you needed,” David said. “He couldn’t do the physical part, but he could instruct the physical part or tell them what to buy.”
The stroke didn’t slow down his commitment to the VFW either. Sherry Moon remembers her brother-in-law giving a hospital employee his pitch to join the VFW as he was being wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair.
The pitch was usually successful, like it was on Benny Hand. After retiring from the Air Force in 2000, Hand started working at an auto parts store in Portales. Duward Moon came in to buy something and the VFW had another member.
“What he was saying made sense,” Hand said. “The more members we had, the bigger voice in Washington we had getting veterans rights.”
Hand gained a friend who loved to make brisket for cookouts and the company of veterans even more.
Durwood Moon’s other interests included storm-chasing, roller skating, boating and fishing. Daughter Dana Chavez of Amarillo said she had skates on her feet before she turned 2, and she often accompanied him on storm-chasing trips.
“When it gets bad, I know where to go,” Chavez said of living in what she calls “Tornado Alley” in West Texas. “My kids aren’t scared, because I’m not.”
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