Chuck Searcy - Projekt RENEW
Chuck Searcy was born and raised in Athens, Georgia USA, and spent three years in U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969, and half of 67 and half of 68, in Vietnam assigned to the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion in Saigon. After his military servitude, and as a student at the University of Georgia, he was an active member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). In subsequent years, he was editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper, worked in Washington in the administration of President Jimmy Carter, and as an aide to U.S. Senator Wyche Fowler. Back in Georgia he became the Executive Director of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association for several years.
Chuck Searcy returned to Vietnam for the first time in 1994 for as a tourist, and moved to Hanoi in 1995, just as the US normalized relations with Vietnam as representative of Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), and later as the representative of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF).
As he worked in Vietnam providing a variety of assistance to the Vietnamese on behalf of those two organizations, he recognized a deadly legacy of the American War on Vietnam in the havoc wreaked on rural people by the many dangerous bombs and mines scattered throughout the countryside. Subsequently, he helped Vietnamese in Quang Tri Province, launch Project RENEW (which stands for Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of War), an initiative with the mission to make Quang Tri safe from the threat of wartime bombs and mines. RENEW’s 10 demining teams find and destroy unexploded ordnance, (UXOs). Other RENEW programs provide medical assistance, rehabilitation, and income generation for UXO victims. Searcy is currently the International Advisor for Project RENEW.
In the 14 years that Project RENEW has been working in Quang Tri, combining state of the art demining skills and technologies and clever educational techniques, they have reduced the number of explosive accidents from more than 70 each year to near zero--an extraordinary accomplishment since all the ordnance in this land will not be cleaned up for centuries. Currently Project RENEW’s mission also includes support for Agent Orange victims and their families.
Chuck is also co-chair of the NGO Agent Orange Working Group in Vietnam, and in 2003 he was awarded Vietnam’s National Friendship Medal.
Chuck Searcy is co-founder and current vice president of VFP Chapter 160, which has distributed more than $200,000 in donations to the poor, injured, and AO-affected throughout Vietnam since its formation in 2010. Along with the other extraordinary expat members of their chapter, Chuck has hosted four educational tours of Vietnam to the acclaim of both the Vietnamese and tour participants.