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July/August Issue

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / President's Message / Letters / VVAF Report / Government Relations / Ask The Parliamentarian / Public Affairs Committee Report / Region 9 Report / From The National Secretary / PTSD/Substance Abbuse Report / Disaster Relief Committee Report / SHAD/Project 112 Task Force Report / AVVA Report / TAPS / Veterans Initiative Task Force Report / Arts of War / Book Review / Membership Notes / Locator / Reunions /

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AVVA REPORT

BY MARY MILLER AND PATSY VARNELL

By the time you read this, AVVA elections will be over and a new set of Officers and Regional Directors will be in place. Congratulations to all and good luck. We would like to thank all of the Officers and Regional Directors who served for the past two years. We have accomplished many things for AVVA.

Scholarship awards have been handed out to deserving people. Names will be available in the next issue. The AVVA Fellowship recipients’ names also will be listed in the next column.

September 10 is the date in Cape May, N.J., for the Chapel of Four Chaplains Awards. This is being sponsored by AVVA for the third year.

We have been working to have the “In Memory” Plaque raised so it does not deteriorate further. This will be a long process, but AVVA will not rest until this is done.

The past two years have seen several changes within AVVA. We have:

1. Appointed an interim Executive Director.

2. Created a new and improved website, a work-in-progress.

3. Entered into an agreement with VVA for www.goodsearch.com

4. AVVA members in New York have incorporated.

5. AVVA members in Indiana have applied for incorporation.

6. Numerous states have the petition state start-up kit.

7. We have applied for our umbrella tax exemption, which will benefit our incorporated states and should be completed shortly.

8. We have streamlined our state start-up kit.

9. We continue to work for improved benefits for veterans. VVA President John Rowan has put AVVA on the CapWiz, which sends out information about all pending legislative concerning veterans.

10. We continue seeking outside sources of revenue so we can enlarge our programs and improve what we do for our members and the veterans community.

11. We continue to urge members to become Chapter Coordinators. This will help Service Representatives file claims for veterans.

12. AVVA is working alongside VVA with programs to help our service members overseas and at home.

These last two years have passed quickly. There is still much waiting to be accomplished and implemented for the enhancement of AVVA. We appreciate the support of every AVVA member, VVA member, and state council. That support is so meaningful to AVVA, and is another expression of VVA’s motto, “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” because we have veterans from other eras within the ranks of AVVA. AVVA continues to work together with VVA as an extension of and support for its programs and events. We look forward to even greater accomplishments in the coming two years.

“Heart to Heart” Honors Those Left Behind

BY TRACY LITHERLAND

Diane Kuhn, AVVA Region 6 Director, has started a program she calls “Heart to Heart.” She started her program with three goals in mind: 1) honor the female family members of fallen soldiers; 2) honor women who have struggled with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and survived; and 3) honor women who have helped others but go unrecognized.

Diane honors these individuals by presenting them with custom-designed heart pins. Diane commissioned an artistic friend to create two different pin designs. One is purple; the other is red, white, and blue.

Diane has been attending funerals of soldiers and presenting the pins to female family members to express her gratitude for their sacrifice. She also presents pins to women who have struggled with PTSD or other difficulties, as well as those women who are helping others.

Diane recently struck an alliance with the Patriot Guard that will allow her to reach even more family members with her heartfelt awards. The Patriot Guard is an organization comprised of veterans who are also motorcyclists. This cavalry on steel attends many military funerals and will deliver Diane’s pins to more families.

The pin recipients aren’t the only ones who appreciate what Diane is accomplishing. Currently, the Heart to Heart program is funded out of Diane’s own pocket, but a local veterans group recently promised a donation to the program that will allow for the purchase of 50 heart pins. In addition, a Wichita radio station may interview Diane and air the interview.

When asked where she saw the Heart to Heart program heading, she replied, “The difficulty right now is only being able to do this in Kansas and nearby states. I hope, at some point, to be able to do this nationwide and to include male family members as well.” Diane has struggled with finding an appropriate pin for male family survivors. She hopes more grieving family members will receive the Heart to Heart pins.

The 2006 AVVA Awards

BY JUDY BOLIO, Awards Chair

As the Chair of the Awards Committee, I am disappointed not to see more nominees for the 2006 AVVA Fellowship Award, and the Chapel of Four Chaplains’ Legion of Honor Award, Humanitarian Award, and Bronze Medallion.

The Fellowship Award is AVVA’s highest honor, recognizing members for the work they have done. These are members who are always there when they are needed, come to all of the associated Chapter or State meetings, volunteer at VA hospitals, or donate time to veterans’ homes. They are the members who work to help those who are victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and take the time to feed, clothe, and shelter the homeless.

The Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award is an AVVA-sponsored award that honors the good works of people who serve their communities, places of worship, and civil, fraternal, and veterans’ service organizations. Chapter Representatives, AVVA State Representatives, and State Presidents, or members of the AVVA National Board of Directors may nominate two worthy individuals. VVA Chapter and State Council Presidents or members of the VVA National Board of Directors also may nominate two worthy individuals for induction. Anyone who is a previous recipient of this award may also nominate a prospective recipient.

The Humanitarian Award of the Chapel of Four Chaplains is an honor for which only the AVVA National President, a member of the AVVA National Board of Directors, a State Representative, the VVA National President, a member of the VVA National Board of Directors, or a State Council President may nominate a worthy individual. The award recognizes selfless, sacrificial service. The service rendered must go far beyond that which is normally required in the course of human experience.

Only the AVVA or VVA National President or a member of the National Board of Directors may nominate an individual for the Bronze Medallion. The nominator must describe the nominee’s contribution to world peace, the well-being of humankind, or to interfaith and interethnic tolerance. The efforts must go greatly above and beyond that which is normally required in the course of the human experience, as well as alter it in a positive way.

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