Mike Mallardi

Vietnam veteran, wife build patriotic legacy

Paying it forward through charitable gift annuities, estate plans.

Mike and Joanne Mallardi

Vietnam veteran Mike Mallardi understands that the wounds of war are not always visible or immediate. His service-connected illnesses, like those of so many other veterans, caught up with him many years later.

“Where I slept and worked was where the aircraft fired their engines, and that’s where they stored it,” he said about his proximity to Agent Orange in service.

Long after his time in Vietnam, the Air Force veteran experienced the impact of his exposure with diagnoses of Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and a brain tumor. He’s spent two years in and out of hospitals for treatment.

Because of the tumor, he is unable to drive and has to write everything down due to short-term memory loss. “I don’t blame the military,” said Mallardi. Instead of being bitter about his disabilities, he looks for ways to help other veterans get justice for their sacrifices.

Mallardi wasn’t even looking for information about service-connected benefits when he first met Richard Duley, a DAV chapter service officer in Tallahassee, Fla. Instead, he was simply trying to correct his military discharge paperwork, which failed to indicate his Vietnam service. Rectifying that error appeared to be no easy task. “Someone had suggested I talk with the DAV guy,” said Mallardi. “I went in there, and it was like night and day. He had the information corrected within two months.

“When you say, ‘DAV thanks you,’ I say, ‘Thank you, DAV.’ You guys are like godsends.”

Making a difference in the lives of veterans has long mattered to Mallardi and his wife of 42 years, Joanne. Their generosity includes the DAV Charitable Service Trust, where they have established two charitable gift annuities that provide them monthly fixed payments for life, plus tax benefits, and they have named DAV in their estate plans.

“We’ve reached a point in our lives where we aren’t rich, but we’re comfortable,” said Mallardi. “Veterans have needs that are too numerous to mention, and if somebody needs something, you guys—DAV—can do it.”

We extend our deepest gratitude to the Mallardis for paying it forward to future generations of veterans by graciously supporting our work.