U.S. SAVINGS BONDS
At age 16, I arrived for my army basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia located in Augusta. That was one hot, dry place. The orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida where I had been raised was very hot in the summer, but nothing like this. It was so hot that you could hardly breath when you walked outside.
Now that I was in the military and in the position of making ‘the big bucks’ ($68 a month) I was going to save every penny and buy myself a brand new car when I got out of the army in three years.
Right before our first payday, Sergeant Rouarke, the field first, told every soldier that it was mandatory for each of us to purchase a United States Savings Bond and that we had to send it home. I told the sergeant that I did not have a family, because I was raised in an orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida and that I did not know anyone in the outside world.
"That's just tough shit," were his exact words.
I was told that I would not be paid at all, if I did not sign up to get the savings bonds. Finally, I gave them the address of a girl that I had known in Jacksonville and the savings bonds were sent directly to her mother.
Well, it was hard to survive on about $39 a month, much less save anything for the new car that I had always wanted. Not to mention that on payday, they always had some kind of table set up asking us to donate $5 or $10 to this or that type of charity. This type of thing went on at every base where I was stationed. I was never going to get a new car this way, so I thought I would do what everyone else was doing.
After basic training, I was transferred to Bassett Army Hospital at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. The very first payday, I did not notice anyone with a table at the end of the pay line, so I got this brilliant idea and set up my own table in the hallway of the hospital barracks next to the ping pong room where the men were getting paid. I called it the "Kiser and Ferranti Foundation for the Blind."
The soldiers entered the room, salute, be handed their pay envelope and then leave through the back door of the room. I waited for the new recruits to come out and we would ask them to donate $10 to the foundation. When one of the new recruits came out through the back door, he started giving me a hard time by saying, "Who the hell is blind around here?"
"You are going to be, if you don't give," yelled another young soldier who had donated.
Thirty minutes later, Roger Dean Kiser, president of the foundation had been written up and received an Article Thirteen Disciplinary Action. I was ordered to clean toilets for the next 120 days.
Let me tell you this: those ‘so called’ tax-exempt foundations do have their drawbacks. Don't let anybody fool you.