HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Captain Lawrence “Larry” Robert Oliveira’s name was finally engraved onto the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC after his family fought for years to add it.
Oliveira died in 1974 after shrapnel moved closer to his heart and caused a cardiac arrest. His family had to go through hundreds of pages of medical records to prove Oliveira died from wounds during his service.
“He was a hero,” said his daughter, Julie Oliveira-Payton.
Oliveira was in a tank when a grenade went off inside, leaving him as the only survivor.
“He suffered from a lot of physical pain from having shrapnel,” said another one of his daughters, Lisa Oliveira-Tua. “But he also suffered a lot of emotional and psychological pain.”
He left behind his wife and five young daughters.
His wife, Hazel Makahilahila-Oliveira, taught all her Maui-grown children to follow in their father’s tradition of service.
Lisa and Julie Oliveira work at Kaiser’s Moanalua Medical Center as social workers, and all of their sisters also have advanced degrees.
They watched their father suffer from his time in war. He went to the hospital several times a day for medication.
“I kept wondering where were all the people who should be helping us,” said Lisa Oliveira. “And so I think that’s part of why we got called to healthcare.”