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March/april 2010

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Welcome Home

BY JOHN ROWAN

March will see several Vietnam Veterans Day celebrations around the country. Many states and localities have set aside various dates for these celebrations. The main promoters have suggested March 30th. However, because March 30 is a Tuesday this year, many celebrations will occur on the previous weekend. I am attending two events, one on Friday, March 26, at Fort Hamilton Army Base, and one at the New York City Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Saturday, March 27.

Some people, including the Ohio American Legion, have opposed these Vietnam Veterans Days. As I said in a USA Today article, “People really just want some recognition.” If there is an event in your area, I hope you and your family go and have a good time. 

JEOPARDY

As you will read in a separate article in this issue, Pat Sajak, our arts award honoree at our last Convention, went on Celebrity Jeopardy and won $55,300 for his favorite charity: us. Thanks again, Pat. On April 17, Pat will be going for the million-dollar prize. Say a prayer that he wins.

I know that many of you and your spouses have dreamed about a vacation in Hawaii. Now it may be more affordable. The Kilauea Military Camp is now open to all veterans and their families. Maxine Nakoa, the Front Office Manager, will be happy to accommodate you. She can be reached at nakoam@kmc-volcano.com They have a very nice brochure that can be viewed on their web site, www.kmc-volcano.com Aloha.

Because of limited funds, several editions of The VVA Veteran were not sent to AVVA members. In her report in this issue, AVVA President Elaine Simmons states that because of the efforts of their leadership at the national and state level, AVVA members who do not live in a household that already receives The Veteran will now receive their own copy. Welcome back. We missed you.

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH AND OUTREACH

As we end our fiscal year on February 28, we take time to look at our membership numbers. On behalf of the Officers and the Board of Directors, I want to thank all the chapters and state councils for a wonderful job of recruiting new members and establishing new chapters and—if Dan Stenvold’s efforts bear fruit—perhaps a new State Council in South Dakota. The Membership Department run by Ernestine Horton and her staff does a great job of record keeping, but it is the members who increase our membership.

For the last few years we have been growing about 5-6 percent a year. When you consider that we have unfortunately been losing 1-2 percent because of deceased members, the reality is that our actual growth is 7-8 percent a year, which is fantastic. Keep up the good work.

This is not just a numbers game, however. We must remember that the best reason to reach out and find Vietnam veterans and their family members is to let them know about the benefits and health issues they should be concerned about. Our best recruiting tool should be the Veterans Health Council brochure and the web site www.veteranshealth.org If you need brochures for events you are planning, please contact Mokie Porter at mporter@vva.org She will be glad to send you some.

Last issue, I mentioned that former Pennsylvania Governor and Vietnam veteran Thomas Ridge, along with another Vietnam veteran, Lary Bloom, was preparing to write a book about successful Vietnam veterans. As I noted, they want to counter the old image of doped-up, crazy Vietnam vets with some stories about Vietnam veterans who have made a difference.

Many of you responded to their request for nominations for their book, but they are looking for more candidates. If you know of a Vietnam veteran worthy of this kind of recognition, contact Lary Bloom at larybloom@sbcglobal.net Please send Lary a biography on the individual, along with his or her contact information: name, title, address, phone number, and e-mail address.

 

 

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