Owasso Woman Talks About Father's Name On 'Wall That Heals'

Thursday, October 13th 2016, 12:42 pm
By: Joseph Holloway

The traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall has made its way to Owasso and one resident talks about her father's name on the wall.

"He didn't feel right about teaching young men about American History without being able to be a part of American History," said Kelly Prejean-Kemp.

Kelly Prejean-Kemp's father, Private First Class Kenneth Andrew Prejean, left the classroom for the Vietnam war.  He was killed in action on May 1, 1969, when Kelly was only four months old.

She says her grandparents struggled to talk about him when she was growing up.

"They would freely talk about him as a child but would not talk about him as an adult and my mother to this day still can't really talk about him without either being tearful or stopping the conversation," said Kelly Prejean-Kemp.

At 40 years old, Kelly reached out to her dad's former squad leader, wanting to know what her father  was like.

"Within 5 minutes, I had a response back that said 'I have been looking for you for 40 years. How are you, baby girl?'" said Kelly Prejean-Kemp.

She reached out to more veterans and found out about the traveling Vietnam memorial wall, which is in Owasso through Sunday.

It is called the Wall That Heals.  It's a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington D.C.

"Realizing that it's not just a name on a wall but there's a person. Somebody who had a skinny tie and a girlfriend and a fast car," said Tim Tetz, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Kelly says seeing her dad's name on the wall fills a void left in her life.

"Life has completely changed. Vietnam has opened up and now, it's a place of healing instead of a place of pain," said Kelly Prejean-Kemp.

The "Wall That Heals" is set up at Tulsa Tech, on the east side of Highway 169 just south of 116th Street North.

It will open to visitors 24 hours a day through 4 p.m. Sunday, October 16, 2016.