YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Every year, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund honors those who served in the Vietnam War.

Its “In Memory” program is honoring over 500 service members this year, including Mereland Cook, from Youngstown.

Mereland’s son, Merel, said Mereland passed down his problem-solving skills, humor and passion to his four kids and eight grandkids.

“As a young kid, I made sure to listen because just the way he approached things and the way that he broke things down to me and gave me a sense of, you know, of love and care,” said Roman Cook, Mereland’s grandson.

Mereland Cook was born in Youngstown and served in Vietnam after graduating from North High School in 1966.

Like many, Mereland didn’t speak much on his time in the service, though his son said he remembers his dad spending months away from their family at a VA hospital for Agent Orange exposure.

“My dad had… a number of holes in his back from that,” Merel said.

Mereland passed in 2008 from cancer as a result of that exposure.

The Cooks said they’re grateful for the chance to forever memorialize Mereland’s sacrifices.

“I would love for my dad to be here, but you know, for our family, it’s, it gives our family an opportunity to, to know the many different sides of my dad. It brings us closer together,” Merel said.

“Very proud of my grandfather, and I’m happy that, you know, he’ll be acknowledged… It gives me a better understanding of who he was as a person,” Roman said.

The Cooks are planning on attending the “In Memory” ceremony on June 17 and hope his legacy and motto — “If you can see it, you can do it” — live on forever.