Brother Wease is Rochester's most well known and successful radio personality. He's opinionated. He makes some people laugh and offends others. Now the man who has no problem making others squirm is squirming himself thanks to the Veterans Outreach Center.
What's it like in-studio with Brother Wease? There's no BS. No filter. And like him or not, no denying he speaks from the heart. Wease loves motorcycles and poker. He's lived through the Army. WCMF. Cancer. And now 95.1 The Brew. "I've always saw my life as a series of movies and acts. And I've had a lot of very different ones."
Vietnam shaped him the most. "Those Vietnam years were unbelievably life changing. I mean I was an infantryman. I made bonds with fellas that changed my life in other ways. And everything, I mean you are who you are. And Vietnam and the service has got a lot to do with who I am."
Wease was an Army para-trooper. Most people did one or two tours in Vietnam. But former Veterans Outreach Center Board Chairman, Stirlin Harris, says Wease went above and beyond. "And Brother Wease went and did three tours. Which is quite a feat. And I'm glad he survived because Rochester is better for it."
Wease humbly says it wasn't that big a deal. "Well I don't want to lie anymore because people have said things. I went to Vietnam three times. I got kicked out my last tour. It's a long story."
It "is" a long story we don't need to get into. What you "do" need to know is Wease from a generation of forgotten veterans who want to make sure vets are never abandoned again. "It was about staying alive and taking care of each other. And that you can carry through the rest of your life. And that is what the VOC is."
Brother Wease been a powerful advocate for the Veteran's Outreach Center for three decades. He recently turned to the VOC himself for help with a benefits review. And he encourages other vets to do the same. "It's a great, great, great place and it takes care of the people that need to be taken care of."
But Harris says the most important thing Wease has done is change the opinions veterans have about themselves. "Well he was a rallying point for many veterans in terms of listening to him speak and speak on their behalf. And finally Vietnam veteran started to take some pride in the fact he had served his country. And Brother Wease I think was very instrumental in that tide of feeling happening in Rochester and us veterans starting to take pride in our service rather than be so apologetic for our service."
Just don't make him speak about being recognized by the VOC. "It is a great honor, but I just wish I got it without having to go to that thing. I have to speak and stuff. I get up tight."
Yes, you might be surprised to learn Wease doesn't like speaking in front of big crowds. "Yeah, in front of people. This is radio. Radio. Nobody is here but us."
The VOC's Stars and Stripes Celebration might be the one time Wease is left speechless. But I doubt it.
We've got more from Brother Wease. Hear the story of how he eventually got out of the military. You'll only find it under "Web Extra."
We've also got information on the Veterans Outreach Center's Stars and Stripes Celebration. It's Veterans Day, Monday November 11, 2013. Brother wease is being honored. News 8 is a sponsor.
We promise you will enjoy an evening of honor and tribute in recognition of the VOC's 40 years of service to the men and women of the armed forces. Look for information under the Community Tab." Or click here for a link.