Healing Through Arts – Profile
Private, USMC 1967-1969 – Vietnam
I sat for 6 hours getting to know this United States Marine, Wayne Dalton, and it wasn’t long enough. We laughed, we shed tears, and I fully felt the struggles that he has endured. The vivid memories of his friends, family, war, and of life-long struggles with the past were freely shared as if they had happened yesterday. It was an honor and privilege to meet him.
Wayne Dalton, came from a rough upbringing in Provo, Utah and ended up in front of a judge at the age of 17. Given a choice to either join the military or go to jail if he kept on the path he was on, Wayne elected for the Marines. He was assigned to 81 Mortar Platoon with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, and found himself in Vietnam.
Wayne is rough around the edges like most Marines I know; weathered by hard work and a life of trying to still be that, “good ol’ boy”, as he put it. He is proud, still ready to fight if necessary, with deep-seated views on life; many of these views have kept him going during the more challenging years. After going through the lengthy list of those closest to him that he has outlived, he asked me, “Why am I still here?”, indeed that is a hard question to answer after hearing how much he misses his late wife Patti.
I won’t go into the details of the trauma that he witnessed during war, but needless to say, Wayne answered his question about why he is still alive without realizing it; he loves to help and serve others through his talents. Wayne’s countenance lifted as he spoke of and showed me the things he creates and the joy that comes from giving those creations away. He spoke of how he would like nothing more than to be able to teach someone the skills of silversmithing and rock cutting before he passes away, as a dear late uncle had done for him. Strider, Wayne’s grandson, happened by the house and shared that these arts, “have helped his grandfather be busy and not dwell on the past.”
Wayne is outdoorsman to the bone and also makes leather and fur clothing for mountain man events, for him and his wife to wear, and for personal use when he could still ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He spoke of how proud he was of the outfit that he made for his wife.* A love of hunting and fishing is apparent as soon as you enter his living room, where multiple large game is proudly mounted for display on his walls. You can see his love for the outdoors through the style of the leatherworks and jewelry that he makes.
A message that Wayne wanted to leave his fellow Veterans is to, “rise above the trauma, and be a good and honest person.”
Wayne says he is happier when he is able to go fishing. Unable to drive himself, due to an eye injury, he wishes for someone to take him to his favorite fishing spot up at Strawberry Reservoir. But more than fishing, he would like to teach others, even other veterans, to cut, shape, and polish rocks. “Aren’t they beautiful”, he says, “as you can’t always see what’s on the inside until you cut away and polish them.” Like an uncut stone, Wayne is rough on the outside, but when you uncover the layers there is a person of value and beauty.
Semper Fidelis Private Wayne Dalton, thank you for your service and sacrifice to our country!
We honor you, Wayne Dalton.