Archive for May, 2010



Jeweler using Marine Corps experiences to help others

BARDONIA, N.Y. – Barry Fixler enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1967 as a wiry kid with only naïve notions of the adventure of being a Marine.

By the time Fixler entered the reserves in 1971, he was a man with a foundation for life formed from his service in the Corps, a new appreciation for his country and a lifelong dedication to helping others, especially those who fight to keep America free.

Fixler does most of his giving quietly.

The Bardonia, N.Y., jeweler for years has quietly shared his good fortune with people who seem to have fallen through the cracks of our society. Wounded U.S. veterans, truck drivers down on their luck and families of people who have gone missing are among the many who have benefitted from Fixler’s compulsion to help when and where he can.

So pardon Fixler for seeking as much notice as he can muster regarding his latest endeavor: Semper Cool. Semper Cool, to be released in November by New York-based Exalt Press, is Fixler’s book of memoirs recounting the formative experiences from his service in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.

Fixler was one of the small group of Marines who fought the Siege of Khe Sanh, and his memories from that historic battle are among the many dramatic, harrowing and sometimes humorous stories that he shares in Semper Cool.

Fixler is donating every penny that he earns from the book to members of the U.S. military who have been wounded serving their country, and their families. His goal is to raise $1 million so he naturally wants to sell as many books as he can.

“This is America’s book,” Fixler said. My experiences in Vietnam are in this book and that makes it sacred to me. It wouldn’t be right to make money on it.”

Fixler served in Vietnam during the middle years of the war (1967-1968) and was among the few Marines to survive the entire Siege of Khe Sanh uninjured.

“When I attend the reunions I’m usually the only one who doesn’t rate a Purple Heart,” Fixler said. “I guess I’ve always been lucky with bullets.”

Fixler subconsciously drew on his Marine Corps experiences on Valentine’s Day 2005, when he was confronted by two pistol-packing criminals who tried to hold up his store. Fixler fought back, and the dramatic shootout was captured on videotape that was shown on television programs across the nation, gaining him some notoriety. He relives that morning in detail in Semper Cool.

Semper Cool is a compelling glimpse into the heart and mind of a great American with extraordinary experiences who continues to draw on those memories to serve his country in any way that he can.

Despite his low-key approach, Fixler’s efforts to help others already have gained recognition. He was named Veteran of the Year for 2009 in Rockland County, N.Y.


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Khe Sanh may be hazardous to your health. (AP Photo/Rick Merron)

Check out this collection of photographs from the Vietnam War.

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