OKLAHOMA CITY - Mike Mullings of Oklahoma City was a medic during the early stages of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
Soldiers looked to him to help them survive the wounds of combat; both physical and emotional.
“He was just a very special, special guy,” says fellow Vietnam vet Rex Hames. "There's no telling how many lives he saved over there."
When Mike came back home, he continued to fight for his soldiers.
It was Mike’s spirit and compassion for his brother vets that helped make the Oklahoma Veterans Memorial a reality. A memorial that honors the names of all Oklahoma veterans who lost their lives in service on foreign soil. From the Spanish-American War, through the most current Oklahoman who fought and died in the Iraq-Afghan War.
"Mike is the reason this memorial is here to begin with,” says his friend Drue Freeman. “Mike, indeed, is the one who pushed for it. Went to the legislature got the land donated, raised the money."
Mike passed away in December following a long illness. But, his wife Teese, and their children, have kept Mike’s memory and the memory of other fallen veterans from fading.
That’s why Drue nominated Teese and Mike posthumously for Pay It 4Ward.
When we surprised Teese and her family at the memorial with the $400 from First Fidelity Bank’s John Symcox, Teese said,” I will make sure Mike is honored by this and do something really good with it." She went on to say, “It started out as a memorial for the Vietnam soldiers, but it ended up being an all-war memorial which I think is so wonderful.”
Mike’s son Mac says his dad would have been embarrassed with all this attention. “You know pop didn't do this for any self-recognition. He didn't want his name to be up front. He did it for a place to find hope and closure.”
It’s no surprise Mike the medic was the model for one of the reliefs on the memorial, and Teese a nurse on another.
The Mullings: honoring our veterans and paying it forward.
The Oklahoma Veterans Memorial is located near the Oklahoma State Capitol near NE 21st and N Lincoln Blvd.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.