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MAY/JUNE 2007

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / President's Message / 2007 VVA Candidates / Election Committee Report / Letters / Ask The Parliamentarian / SHAD/Project 112 Task Force Report / Credentials Committee Report / Veterans Health Care Committee Report / Government Affairs Committee Report / AVVA Report / AVVA Scholarship / AVVA Election / Chapel of the 4 Chaplains / Homeless Veterans Task Force Report / Veterans Incarcerated Committee Report / Rules Committee Report / Veterans Benefits Committee Report / Benefits Update / Consitution Committee Report / Women Veterans Committee Report / Books In Review / Membership Notes / Reunions / Taps / Locator /

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Tentative 2007 VVA Candidates Roster

Click on the candidate's name below to read their statement.

OFFICERS NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT-LARGE NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGIONAL
PRESIDENT
John Rowan
Charlie Richardson, Tenn.
Patrick Welch, N.Y.
Jerry Yamamoto, Calif.
Billee Culin, Conn.
Owen Emery, Jr., Mass.
Sandie Wilson, Mich.
John Margowski, Wisc.
Alan Gibson, Mo.
Francisco Ivarra, Wash.
Robert Johnston, Calif.
Dan Stenvold, N.D.
Richard DeLong, La.
Marsha Four, Pa.
Marshall Mudge, Mass.
REGION 1
Al Cummings, Mass.
VICE-PRESIDENT
Jack Devine
REGION 2
Fred Elliott, N.Y.
SECRETARY
Barry Hagge
REGION 3
Bruce Whitaker, Md.
TREASURER
Alan Cook
REGION 4
Carol Schetrompf, Ga.
  REGION 5
No Candidates
  REGION 6
Steve House, Wisc.
Robert Bestick, Minn.
  REGION 7
Alan Manuel, La.
Bill Meeks, Tex.
  REGION 8
John Newman, Ore.
Daniel Mayer, Mont.
Robert Seal, Idaho
  REGION 9
Dick Southern, Calif.
Virgie Hibbler, Nev.

NATIONAL PRESIDENT
John Rowan

It is hard to believe that it is over a year and a half since our team took over. While Alan had been here before, for the rest of us it was a revelation. As we took office and looked around at the operations, we discovered the need for several management changes, some of which coincided with changes in title and/or staff.

First, we promoted Carol Engle to Director of Information Technology and put her in charge of all of our computer programs and contractors. This resulted in the redesign of our web site with advertising revenue and a redesigned membership database.

After Len Selfon, our Veterans Benefits Director, left for a position with the United Spinal Association (USA), we promoted a staff attorney, David Houppert, to be Director, which proved to be an excellent choice. He revamped our veterans benefits operations, cutting back on our use of consultants in our appeals section. David also negotiated Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with USA and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers, enabling the joint accreditation of Service Representatives (SR).

Our lobbying efforts increased significantly as the officers spent a significant amount of time developing and presenting testimony before the various House and Senate Committees, as well as meeting with Members of Congress and/or their staff to tell VVA's story. We enjoyed some success last year when the Republicans were in charge, and we assume that we will have similar success now that the Democrats are in charge.

In order to accomplish all of these things we have embarked on new fundraising efforts. It began last year with the ``Broadway to Baghdad'' event. By the time you read this, a fundraiser on Capital Hill, honoring all the veterans serving in Congress, will have occurred. Additionally, we have contracted with some consultants to help us raise funds.

We will sponsor a parade on November 10, 2007, honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We are looking for corporate sponsorship, bringing in bands, and providing travel services for our members and all Vietnam veterans and their family and friends.

The officers have also begun a dialog with the officers of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA) to determine how best we can help them in their endeavors and to see if there are ways to assist them within our limited financial situation, principally with in-kind services.

Last, but not least, are our efforts with the Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW). Responding to the Convention Resolution, calling upon VVA to assist in the development of a new organization that would encompass the more recent veterans, we have identified VMW as just such a group.

VMW hopes to emulate VVA in their efforts on behalf of veterans. By assisting the VMW, VVA will clearly live up to its motto that ``Never again will one generation of veterans abandonanother.''

As the officers of VVA we have helped guide these initiatives. But none of them would have happened without the assistance of our Directors, Committees, State Councils, Chapters members, consultants, and, most importantly, our staff. We thank you all for making us look good and hope that you will allow us to continue our efforts.

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VICE PRESIDENT
Jack Devine

Jack enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1965, following his graduation from high school in Detroit. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, he became a motion picture editor at Orlando Air Force Base. He served for three months in Vietnam in 1967 at Phan Rang Air Force Base and completed a tour of duty at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand.

After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Jack earned a B.A. in political science from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where he served on the student council and collaborated with the university's veterans association. There, he helped secure academic credit for military service and worked to obtain a bonus from the state of Michigan for Vietnam veterans. He went on to attend the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he completed his course work toward an M.A. in public administration.

Jack served as staff assistant to U.S. Michigan Sen. Donald W. Riegle from 1977-81, specializing in issues concerning veterans, the military, prisons, and housing. He later became an administrative assistant to Michigan Lt. Gov. Martha Griffiths from 1982-86. Afterwards, Jack acted as director of the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund. Jack has been a member of Woodrick Institute for the Study of Racism and Diversity, the VISN 11 Management Assistant Council, and the Michigan Homeless Assistance Advisory Board. Since 1995, Jack has served as adjutant of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

During his term as VVA VP, he has worked closely with the officers, the board, the CSCP, the staff, and AVVA. Some of the most interesting activities have involved increasing cultural competency within VVA leadership and heading VITF delegations to Ukraine, Vietnam, and Laos in 2006.

Jack is an active, life-long member of VVA. He has served three terms on VVA's National Board of Directors, Vice-chaired the Michigan Agent Orange Commission, represented Michigan in 12 consecutive VVA National Conventions, and chaired the VVA National Elections Committee and Project 112-Shad Task Force.

He lives in Dimondale, Michigan.

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SECRETARY
Barry Hagge

To quote President Rowan, ``It is hard to believe that it is over a year and a half since the team took over.'' Our members, and the leadership of the chapters and State Council were clear that they expected positive change in the way VVA served the membership. The officers approached this task with an understanding that we would utilize the talent of our membership and our existing staff to increase the benefits to our members, while reducing cost through the use of technology. The first step was the creation of an Information Technology Department and the promotion Carol Engle to Director of Information Technology. This enabled the redesign of our web site, membership database, and the beginning of Internet fund-raising and member recruiting.

The promotion of staff attorney, David Houppert, to Director of Veterans Benefits resulted in the revamping of our veterans benefits operations and a reduction of the use of consultants in our appeals section.

Communication was addressed by creating the National Secretaries Info Center. This is an online info center used to post the information needed by the membership. The Info Center is currently being test driven by the National Board of Directors, National Committees, and the State Council Presidents. Our next stage is to offer the site to all of our chapters and membership and will feature online forums and blogs to encourage discussion and to answer questions.

Fund-raising has always been critical to the organization, and this term has been one of success starting with last year's ``Broadway to Baghdad,'' followed by the Capitol Hill event honoring all the veterans serving in Congress. The last major event of the year will be the parade that the President has spoken to. Let's honor our brothers and sisters and of course ourselves.

Our efforts with the Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW) are in response to the Convention Resolution that calls upon VVA to assist in the development of a new organization that would encompass the more recent veterans, we have identified VMW as just such a group. VMW hopes to emulate VVA in their efforts on behalf of veterans. By assisting the VMW, VVA will clearly live up to its motto that ``Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.''

While the officers of ``The Team 2007'' have helped guide these initiatives, it is the 56,000 members, our Directors, Committees, State Councils, Chapters, members, consultants, and staff that are the team. Your efforts make us look good and we hope that you will allow us to continue our efforts.

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TREASURER
Alan Cook

I offer nineteen years of financial background with Vietnam Veterans of America, and twenty seven years of corporate financial accounting. I began my Vietnam veterans career as Chapter Treasurer and later became California State Council treasurer, a position I held for ten years. I served as Treasurer of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund (VVAF) for three years. I have been a member of the National Finance Committee since 1991 and served as chair for two terms. I am currently serving as National Treasurer, seeking another term.

In the past six years our expenses have been increasing as we try to fulfill the various programs mandated by our members through resolutions and committee work. Our revenue has not increased as quickly as we would like during this period. Our expenses keep on rising as we increase our programs, and the cost of doing our daily business keeps rising. We have started in the past two years to generate more revenue in fund-raising and advertising in The VVA Veteran and on the web site. In the past two years I have worked well with the finance department, and I have developed a good working relationship with the staff.

I have spent the last nineteen years as a leader in Vietnam Veterans of America at the chapter, state council, and national level, and I am committed to the best interests of VVA and all veterans.

I look forward to continuing our work together and believe we have a bright future ahead of us.

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NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
AT-LARGE

Charles G. Richardson

Served with 3rd Marine Division, Vietnam 1967 • Member of Vietnam Veterans of America since 1993, Life Member Number 6827 • Vice President Chapter 203, April 1995-April 1996 • President Chapter 203, April 1996-April 1998 • Vice President Tennessee State Council, April 1997-April 2000 • President Tennessee State Council, April 2000-April 2004 • National Board of Directors at Large, July 2003-July 2004

National Committees: Vice Chair Veterans Affairs, 2003-2005 • Vice Chair Veterans Benefits, 2003-2005 • Membership, 2003-2005 • Veterans Health Care, 2003-2005 • Special advisor, Employment Training and Business Opportunities, 2003-2005

Organizations: Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign War, American Legion, Disabled Americans, Marine Corps League, 3rd Marine Division Association, 32nd Degree Mason, and Shriners.

Retired self employed small business owner. Married, two children, four grandchildren

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Patrick W. Welch

I joined VVA in 1989 after 25 years of staying away from veterans organizations because of the treatment I received from the traditional VSO's. It has been a great experience for me to grow, learn, and serve my fellow veterans. In 18 years with VVA I have served as Chapter 77 President for 5-plus years, served on the Chapter Board of Directors, served as Public Affairs Director and any other job that was needed.

In addition to chapter responsibilities, I currently serve as Membership Chair for the New York State Council; Region 2 Alternate Director; Vice Chairman of the National Government Affairs Committee; and as a member of the National Public Affairs Committee.

There are several reasons why I would like to serve the members of this organization on the National Board: 1) Business and Organizational Skills as a business owner I know what it takes to build and grow a company, and these skills have been invaluable in my dealings with the media and legislators in advancing veterans issues. 2) Communications members will be encouraged to contact me to express problems and issues, and I will be their voice at the national level. 3) Leadership as a former infantry squad leader and as a Chapter President I have always lead from the front and will continue to do so as a strong and dedicated veterans advocate. Remember Welch's mantra: ``If you do nothing, then someday when you need the Veterans Administration, nothing is just what you may get.''

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Jerry Yamamoto

I'm Jerry Yamamoto and ask for your vote for reelection as a National At-Large Director. I represented VVA before the CARES Local Advisory Panel, and VA's Veterans Disability Benefits Commission and Center For Minority Veterans' Advisory Panel. I Chair the National and California Minority Affairs Committees. I'm on my 8th year as President of Chapter 53 after joining VVA in December 1995. I am a Director of the California Vietnam Veterans Advisory Council. From 2003-2005, I served as Alternate Region 9 Director.

Enlisting in 1966, I was a social worker at the Army Hospital at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, until June 1968, where I counseled soldiers experiencing psychological trauma.

I earned a BA in Anthropology and a Masters in Public Administration. I retired in October 2002, after 31 years' service with the California Government. I was born in Rohwer, Arkansas, in 1943, raised in Cleveland, Ohio, until age 14, and moved to Southern California in 1957. Widowed in 1983, I have one daughter, Jamie.

I originated two laws designating California State Highway One as veteran highways. Recently, three State legislators agreed to author resolutions on VA Assured Funding and for the 20th Anniversary of California's State Vietnam Memorial. I chair the Council program to establish a Legislative Veterans Caucus. I served on advisory panels of two California Congresswomen.

My focus has been on legislation, employment, homeless transition programs, illegal leasing at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital, women's issues, and supporting other generations of veterans.

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Billee Culin

When my CO advised me that she could get me off the orders to go to Nam in 1970, I knew itwas God's way of letting me know I would be around a long time to fight for our veterans. I have been helping Nam Vets since 1976 while I was in college. Thank you allowing me to be a Director At-Large of the VVA BOD. I am seeking re-election, so I may continue serving my brothers and sisters. God bless and welcome home.

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Owen Emery

Owen Emery served in the Army in Vietnam with Adversary Team 11 from 1967-1968. Upon returning to the United States, he was assigned to the Adjutant General's Corp. G4 at Fort Monmouth, NJ, where he was discharged in 1969. Emery returned to work in the family-run business as a manager and in 1973 also joined the Postal Service. In 1981, after returning to college, he graduated with a degree in business. Disability forced an early retirement in 1998, and now Emery serves as a life member of VVA. He has been a delegate to the national convention, a delegate to Rhode Island State Council, Secretary for Chapter 818, and the Chair for outdoor sporting events.

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Sandie Wilson

Retired from Army Nurse Corps, serving in Vietnam 1968-1969. • Retired from University of Michigan. Currently serving as director at large. Current national committee positions include: Service Benefits, Women veterans, Health Care, Government Affairs. Past national level experience includes: constitution, finance, health care, veteran affairs, strategic plan. Served on VVAF. Past experience on the state level includes: 5 years as state council president, 5 years as state secretary plus various committees. Appointed to the Michigan Agent Orange Commission. Past Commander of Michigan Commanders Group.

Current state level veteran activities include: Michigan Veterans Trust Fund commissioner, president, Vietnam Veterans of Michigan, Board Michigan Veterans Foundation.

My nursing background has provided the scientific knowledge to identify issues and opportunities for improvement in the lives of veterans and the ability to generate solutions. My military experience taught me the working concepts of teamwork and leadership. My union positions provided me with the knowledge to negotiate and represent.

I have had the pleasure of advocating for my military and veterans brothers and sisters for the past 40 years. I know the issues and the mission. Achieving the goals of the mission takes leadership and teamwork combined with political action and business stability. We have little time to accomplish what needs to be done. I desire to continue serving my fellow veterans as director at large.

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John L. Margowski

I am a candidate for VVA National Board Member at Large. I was raised in Indiana and graduated from high school at Kentucky Military Institute, Lyndon, Kentucky. I attended Vincennes University, Vincennes, Indiana, for two years, and graduated from Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, in 1969. I am married, have one son, three stepdaughters, and grandson.

I entered the United States Air Force in December of 1969. I attended OCS and was commissioned in 1970. I became a navigator on KC135 aircraft. While stationed at Minot AFB, North Dakota, I flew combat refueling missions out of Utapao AFB, Thailand, Kadena AFB, Okinawa, and Hickman AFB, Guam. I attained the rank of Captain and was Honorably Discharged in June 1974.

I bring to the Board 31 years of service as a County Veterans Service Officer. I work daily with veterans and their families to address their needs. I have served, and am currently serving on Advisory Committees to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, and Federal VA Committees and Advisory Boards such as One VA, the Milwaukee Vets Center Advisory Board (14 years), a VA Claims Focus Group, and VA Stakeholders Advisory Council. I attend VISN 12 network meetings and have a very good working relationship with VA Regional and Hospital personnel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

As an at Large Board Member, I will continue to work constructively with all VVA National Officers and Board Members to achieve the goals that VVA strives to achieve over the next two years.

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Alan K. Gibson

Spent 20 years in the US Army, RVN (69 101st Airborne Division 70 25th Infantry Division) retired; finished a BS degree from University of Georgia (Columbus); sold real estate, life insurance, stock, bonds & mutual funds; have life-time teaching certificate; worked at the Columbia, MO, VA Hospital as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) specialist for 12years. Helped establish Welcome Home Inc. to help homeless veterans with a hand up. Have had the honor of serving as a Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. (VVA) Chapter Pres., Sec. & Treas., State Council VP (two years) and State Council President (ten years). Elected by the delegates at the National Convention (Aug 2001 & 2005) to the Board of Directors (At-large).

Presently serve as Chair of the Employment, Training & Business Opportunity (ETaBO) Committee and am one of the VVA representatives on the Task Force For Veterans Entrepreneurship (TFVE) and Task Force For Veterans Preference (TFVP). Married, have 7 children and 6 grandchildren. Belong to the following veterans organizations: American Legion, 40 & 8, VFW (life member), Retired Enlisted Association (life member), Disabled American Veterans (life member), 101st Airborne Division Association (life member), Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations (Chaplain 6 years) and Vietnam Veterans of America (life member). Serve as a member of the MO Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs. Am a member, and have served as chair on Finance, Pastor-Parrish Relations and Missions Committees of New Horizons United Methodist Church in Columbia.

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Francisco F. Ivarra

I am seeking reelection for the position of National Board of Directors-At Large because I firmly believe in Vietnam Veterans of America, and because, like you, I am committed to ensuring that we continue our effective work and that our efforts in service to all veterans are successful.

My resolve as a person and veteran is strengthened by the values of sharing and caring imposed on me by my parents; in redefining the meaning and value of life after being wounded in Vietnam; and in my passion and commitment to diversity. These same influential experiences have served to guide my daily life and continue to measure my character as a person and as a leader.

I am a person who is determined to doing what is right and compelled to serve our veterans. I am currently a member of VVA's National Board of Directors and serve as a Special Advisor to the Constitution and Minority Affairs Committees. During the time I have served in these capacities, I have constantly kept your interest in our organization and have made my decisions with your consideration a priority.

My commitment to life and to veterans remains unchanged, and I still believe in open communication and effective leadership that reflects personal sacrifice for others and not personal gain or advancement. I offer you leadership with a vision of assurance and with the mission to effectively serve you and VVA. I ask for your support and for your vote. Thank you.

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Robert W. Johnston Sr.

I joined VVA in January 1985 as a Charter Member of the San Jose, California, forming Chapter 201. I have served as chapter vice-president, president, treasurer, Membership Committee chair, and chapter delegate to national and state conventions. I have been involved with the California State Council since its reforming in 1986 in many elected and appointed positions; officer, director, and delegate to national conventions.

I currently sit on the National Board of Directors as a Director At-Large and serve on 3 national committees: Chairman-POW/MIA, member of Government Affairs, Special Advisor to the Constitution Committee, and as a member of the Veterans Initiative Task Force.

I have many concerns and unrealized issues for VVA and want to see us continue to develop and progress as a Veterans Service Organization in the leadership role as a Veterans Advocate that we have become.

To accomplish these goals, we, as an organization, must make some serious changes in our business approach. Communication, the means by which we hear the wants and wishes of our members, must continue to be improved upon and stressed as a two-way process. Before we can truly represent our membership, we must know their issues and priorities and what they want.

I have experience, knowledge, and a sense of personal dedication and commitment to VVA and sincerely wish to continue to serve and contribute to the organization in a national leadership role.

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Dan Stenvold

Hi, my name is Dan Stenvold, and I'll be running for the position of National Board of Director-at-Large in Springfield, IL, at this year's national convention. I spent 3 tours of duty in Vietnam 1969, 1970, and 1971 with the U.S. Army. My tours were all spent with the artillery in the southern half of the country. I was with 155mm guns, and our motto was: ``You yell, we shell like hell, open 24/7. '' I was wounded twice but turned down the Purple Hearts as they were of the John Kerry type, and I would not have felt right accepting them.

I've been the State Council President from North Dakota for the past 7 years. I'm on VVA's national committee for PTSD, VVA's national disaster committee, VVA's public relations committee, and the State Council President's Sgt.-at-arms. A life member of the VVA, DAV, VFW, AMVETS, and a member of the American Legion. Also the president of our state's coordinating council, and I'm also the mayor of the city of Park River, N. Dak. I was a member of a volunteer fire department for 13 years and a member of the volunteer ambulance for 12 years as a nationally registered EMT.

The father of 3 children and 2 wonderful grandchildren. I retired after working 33 years for a communications company.

I like the direction in which VVA is going. We need to get funding for the VA so all veterans can be cared for. I'm tired of our government's empty promises. This will be my only attempt at any national position, so use me or lose me.

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Richard C. DeLong

I grew up in Harrisonville, Missouri. After graduating from high school, I spent a semester in college and then joined the Army in 1965 to avoid the draft. I served two tours in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968 with the Army Security Agency. I received an honorable discharge from the Army in 1969.

I joined Vietnam Veterans of America in 1988 and I have been actively serving my fellow veterans since. I have served as Sergeant-at-arms, Treasurer, and President of Chapter 141 in Lafayette, LA. In 1998 I was elected President of the Louisiana State Council. In 2002 I was elected chair of the Conference of State Council Presidents at the national level and became a member of the Board of Directors of VVA, Inc. I served in this position until 2004. In 2003 I was appointed to the Board of Directors of the VVAF. I am a member of the Veterans Advisory Committee for the VA Clinic in Jennings and also the VA hospital in Alexandria, LA.

I am seeking the position of Director-at-Large because I want to work towards getting members from all levels of the organization actively involved in serving the veteran community. I will make myself available to every state, chapter and member who wants to have input in determining the mission of this organization. I have no hidden agenda and, if elected, I will represent the wishes of the membership to the best of my abilities as I carry out my responsibilities on the Board.

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Marsha L. Four

My military service (1968-1970) began at Fort Campbell, KY, in the Army Nurse Corps taking me to Vietnam in 1969, with the 18th Surgical Hospital. I worked in nursing until 1996. I am married with three sons and reside in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

In 1993, I fostered the initiation of Philadelphia Stand Down, serving as ED until 1999. In 1996, I became Program Director for Homeless Veteran Services at The Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center. My responsibilities include: two homeless veteran transitional residencies (95 beds for male veterans and 30 beds for women veterans); a day service program for homeless veterans; a 30 unit HUD Shelter Plus Care program; and grant writer.

I joined Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 67, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in 1987 (Director, Vice President, Convention and State Council Delegate). I represent VVA at the VISN VAC meetings.

In 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005, I was elected to the National Board Directors and serve as Chair, National Women Veterans Committee; Vice Chair, Homeless Veterans Task Force; and member, PTSD, Government Affairs and Health Care Committees.

In 2001, I was appointed to the VA Women Veterans Advisory Committee and appointed by the Secretary as Chair in August 2002, and again in 2004.

I believe that integrity and diverse expertise are essential ingredients on a board of directors. These elements invite healthy, thought-provoking dialogue, vital to providing strength to the organization, committee functions, and ultimately our membership, to whom we are responsible.

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Marshall R. Mudge, Jr.

I got active in the Mass. State Council in 1994 as a delegate. I am active in local, state, and national veterans issues, having served in many positions from delegate to State Council (6/15/94 to date), delegate to 5 National Conventions (97,99,01,03,05), State Treasurer (6/15/98-6/15/01), Chapter VP (4/15/97,6/10/98), State Membership Chair (6/15/98-6/15/01) (4 new chapters during my tenure), National Membership & National Benefits Comm., currently on the State Constitution Comm., National Government Affairs Comm., and Secretary for the National Minority Affairs Comm. I am privileged to be serving a third term as President of the SFC Jorge Otero-Barreto Chapter 866, the most diverse chapter in Massachusetts and Region 1.

I bring 12+ years of experience serving VVA and its membership at all levels. I believe in giving the state council back to the chapters. I believe in an open-door policy, all business reported tothe state council presidents to be disbursed to chapter presidents and finally to the members. I believe in accountability of all officers and mandatory written reports from all officers and committee chairs.

I look forward to working as a team with elected and appointed officials and committee chairs, bringing our National BOD to the level it deserves, the best of all VSOs. We are well respected at all levels of government; we have a duty to maintain that distinction. You the members, the driving force of our organization, deserve nothing less.

When elected, I pledge to work tirelessly toward these goals, and with YOUR help, I am certain WE can be successful.

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REGION 1: Albert Cummings

Albert Cummings of Turners Falls, Massachusetts, served as a radio operator with the U.S. Army's 77th Field Artillery Regiment in the Vietnam War in 1967-68. He was wounded in action and is a recipient of the Purple Heart.

Al, who is retired, has been an active member of Vietnam Veterans of America since 1993. He served for ten years as the President of VVA Chapter 232 in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and was elected President of the Massachusetts State Council in 2002. He was elected Region 1 Director to the VVA National Board of Directors in 2002. He also sits as Vice-Chair of the VVA National POW/MIA Committee as well as a member of the VVA National Disciplinary Committee.

Al and his wife, Donna, have two children, Kimberley and Alan.

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REGION 2: Fred Elliott

I served in Vietnam from January to December of 1967 with the Army's 9th Infantry and 11th Armored Cavalry. In 1983 I joined VVA, becoming a Life Member in 1987. I have served as Chapter President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Director as well as a National At-Large Director. Currently, I am the Region 2 Director on the National Board.

I have been a delegate to 10 National Conventions, the Convention Rules Chair twice and am the current Convention Resolutions Committee Chair. Over the past eight years, I have served on the Constitution Committee, Healthcare Committee, Homeless Veterans Task Force, and Government Affairs Committee. Presently, I serve on the Membership Committee and as the Vice Chair of the Finance Committee. I am the current Secretary of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund as well as its Director of Veteran Housing.

As the Region 2 Director for the past four years, I have learned a great deal about the Region and the Chapters in it. I feel I have made many new friends in the region and have been able to work closely with the State Councils and Chapters within the Region. I have written and distributed to all of the Chapters within the Region a Region 2 Director's Report at least three times a year to keep the membership informed about activities at National and within the Region. I thank everyone for their support over the past four years and ask for your continued support by electing me to another term as Region 2 Director.

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REGION 3: Bruce W. Whitaker

A native of Cresaptown, MD, Bruce enlisted in the United States Marine Corps while still in high school in 1966, and was sent to Vietnam in November 1966. He served as a machine gunner with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was wounded in action on Operation Union II, June 2, 1967. After receiving treatment for his wound, Bruce returned to his unit and continued his tour of duty, leaving Vietnam in December 1967. He completed his enlistment at Camp Lejeune, NC, and was released from active duty in December 1969.

After release from the USMC, he returned to his hometown and was accepted into the Maryland State Police Academy in July 1971, serving for 31´ years, retiring January 2003.

He joined Vietnam Veterans of America in 1993, Chapter 172, and became actively involved from the beginning. In 1994 Bruce was elected as Vice-President of Chapter 172 and in 1995 was elected President and held the position until 2002; was elected Treasurer, Maryland State Council in 1996 and held the position until 2000; was elected President, Maryland State Council in 2000 and held the position until 2004.

Bruce will, as Region 3 Director, bring stability along with effective and efficient leadership to the position and to the membership of Region 3.

Bruce has been married to Regina for thirty-six years and has three sons and one grandson.

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REGION 4: Carol Schetrompf

I was born a small child in Los Angeles, California. My father was a thirty year Navy man, so it would follow suit that I would join the Navy. In January 1965, I quit college and enlisted. After basic training in Bainbridge, MD, I was stationed in Norfolk, VA. My assignment was to send sailors to either ``GITMO'' or someplace called Vietnam.

I met and married my first husband while we were stationed at Norfolk. After I became pregnant, I was discharged (the rules back then). In 1974, after the birth of my second daughter, I joined the Army Reserves. Between June 1974 and July 2004, I served in the Reserves, Active Duty Army, and the Georgia National Guard. I am a combat veteran of ``Just Cause,'' Panama, December 1989.

My husband (retired with thirty years Army) and I are Lifetime members of Chapter 789, Hinesville, GA. In April 2003, I became the Secretary for the chapter and stayed in office until April 2007. In June 2004 until June 2006, I was the Georgia State Vice President.

We have three children and seven fantastic grandchildren.

If elected as Region 4 Director, it is my goal to bring the region together and work for the betterment of the entire region. What benefits the region benefits each state council, and ultimately each chapter within the region.

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REGION 5: No Listing On ``Tentative 2007 VVA Candidates Roster List.''

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REGION 6: Steve House

Re-election to the position of Region Six Director, Vietnam Veterans of America Inc. I am confident I have attributes such as intelligence, honesty and the ability to take initiatives to the National Board of Directors that are of interest to Region 6. This is done by meeting with state officers of the region, going to various state meetings, and through letters, phone calls, and emails.

We are not an island; it's not every man unto himself. We work together. Men and women, VVA and AVVA, our communities, country, and even other lands.

It is crucial to the position of Regional Director that beliefs about the appropriateness or naturalness one feels while in our organization, wether in a leadership role or as a part of the team, that should be understood by all. Nobody should feel that they couldn't or aren't worth being heard.

This region includes members who are by vocation or avocation concerned about the commitment to the practices of our constitution, bylaws, and programs of VVA. We have work to do, and we need to do it the best way we can.

I will close by saying I have been proud of VVA since I joined as an at-large member from Wisconsin in 1986. I helped form and was first chapter president of VVA Chapter 768. I have held chapter, state council, and national positions with VVA for a long time, and I am still proud of this organization.

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REGION 6: Robert Bestick

The candidate did not provide a statement.

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REGION 7: Allen J. Manuel

My name is Allen J. Manuel. I am running for Region 7 Director. I was born in Eunice, La., and reside in Ville Platte, La. Married for 49 years, my wife, Norma, and I have 2 sons, 4 daughters, 15 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. I have been retired from Amoco Prod. since 1993. I am a life member of VVA, AVVA, DAV and American Legion.

I enlisted in the U.S. Army and served 1956 until 1966. Served one tour in Korea 1958-59, Germany 1961-63, Germany 1966 until my discharge day. Attending NCO academy in Fort Hood, Texas. Held the rank of Staff Sergeant E-6. I am a charter member Chapter 632, Chapter Treasurer from 1994 to 1998.

La. State Vice-President 1996 to 2000. Elected Region 7 Director in August 1999 till present. Presently, I am member at large and serve as a special advisor for AVVA for 4 years. I have attended every National Convention and Leadership Conference since 1995. In 2001 I was inducted in the Chapel of Four Chaplains and in 2002 received the VVA Achievement Medal. I traveled with SDIT to Vietnam in March 2003 where they returned to battlefields for the first time where their fathers died. It was one of the most wonderful trips that a person could witness and find Honor, Peace, and Understanding.

In closing, I pledge to you I will serve Region 7 with Honor, Dedication, and Enthusiasm, as I have done for the last eight years.

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REGION 7: Bill Meeks, Jr.

My name is Bill Meeks, Jr., and I am running for the VVA Region 7 Director position on the VVA National BOD at this year's convention. VVA leadership duties are nothing new to me, and after only 3 years as a VVA member, I chaired the Texas Planning Committee as President of the host chapter for the '95 VVA Convention in Texas. After receiving the VVA ``Member of the Year'' award in '99, I served as President of the VVA Texas State Council for over 5 years and completed 2 terms as an At-Large Director on VVA National BOD. Commitment to the VVA membership and positive results are standards I am noted for as Chair of the VVA Membership Affairs Committee since '01.

From providing continual updates on VVA business on the VVA Membership talk list, drafting the VVA ``Leadership Handbooks'' while on the Conference of State Council Presidents, and work on the VVA Code of Disciplinary P&P Task Force have provided the knowledge and experience necessary to be an effective Regional Director to the state councils and chapters within Region 7. My personal experience in VVA has been that when the VVA leadership at all levels provides the knowledge of VVA operation to the membership; there are less questions or problems, and that creates the opportunity to achieve greater productivity which benefits everyone within VVA.

I seek your consideration and vote as the VVA Region 7 Director during the upcoming VVA convention in Springfield, Illinois.

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REGION 8: John Neuman

We need a Director who will help our Region, be available and accessible. I am ready, willing and able. I have 40 years of leadership experience, proven skills, award-winning results, am creative, innovative, and team driven. My focus is helping veterans now, leaving a legacy we can all be proud of rather than just talk about it. I am a straight shooter and do what I say I will do. I spent 6 years in Vietnam and have been an active volunteer in veterans organizations for the past 30 years. I understand veterans, especially Vietnam vets. I have sustained service-connected disabilities of over 100%. I know first hand what veterans need and deserve. I am married to a very understanding wife of 40 years. I am dedicated, and being retired, I have the time available to travel the entire Region. I served for 3 years as Chapter 392 Secretary and President for 4 more when we were named Chapter of the Year at State and Regional level. At the State level, I served as Treasurer, Executive Vice, and Vice President for the OSC, so I know what we need at all levels in VVA. I am a recipient of The Order of the Silver Rose and the Legion of Honor. I have been VVA Member of the Year for Oregon and Region 8. Next to my family, my passion has always been helping veterans. Thank you for your consideration. I'd appreciate your support and your vote.

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REGION 8: Daniel Mayer

The candidate did not provide a statement.

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REGION 8: Robert Seal

Robert C. ``Bob'' Seal served in the U.S. Navy from 1967-1991, served in the Vietnam War aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVAN-65) during 1971, and is a candidate for VVA Region 8 Director. Bob has been a member of Vietnam Veterans of America since 1998 and became a charter member of Chapter 895 Blackfoot, Idaho, in 2002. In the VVA he has served as Chapter Treasurer, Chapter Delegate to the Idaho State Council, and is currently serving as Region 8 Director.

After retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1991, Bob continued Federal service with the Department of Energy where he remains employed as a Physical Scientist. In addition to working full time and performing volunteer work, Bob received a BS degree in 1999 and a MS degree in 2001 from the University of Idaho.

Bob believes establishing effective two-way communication between individual members, Chapters, State Councils within VVA Region 8, and the National Corporation is essential. VVA Region 8 is comprised of about 50 Chapters disbursed over a one million square mile area. Neighboring Chapters are often several hundred miles apart which make communications a challenge. Bob sees a need for integrity, trust, and focus of purpose to bring Region 8 together to fulfill the needs of the members and reach the goals of the National Corporation.

Bob and wife Glenna, a lifetime member of the AVVA, reside in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and have a blended family of seven children and six grandchildren.

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REGION 9: Dick Southern

I am a Life Member of VVA. I was elected Secretary of Chapter 391 in1997 and still serve in that position. I was my Chapter Delegate to the California State Council from 1998 until I was elected Central District Director in June of 2000. In August 1999, I was the Chapter Delegate at the National Convention and was a California State Council Delegate to the 2001, 2003 and 2005 National Conventions. I was elected President of the California State Council in June 2002. I am now in my second term as second Vice President of the California State Council. I also moderate a number of talk lists for various parts of VVA. When elected as Region 9 Director, I will bring more input from Region 9 to the National Board of Directors and let the members in Region 9 have a more active role in the decisions that are made. I feel we must have more communication from Region 9 to National VVA and from National VVA to Region 9. I strongly believe that ``Communication is the key'' and that I have the skill to use my knowledge and experience in electronic communications to keep Region 9 informed of the issues that affect veterans and their families. I ask for your vote and promise that you will always have an advocate for the many issues of the Vietnam Veterans of America with me as the Region 9 Director.

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REGION 9: Virgie Hibbler, Jr.

I served in Vietnam (1965-66) with the 1st Cavalry Division, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment. I am a survivor of the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, depicted in the book, We Were Soldiers Once, And Young. As a result of my actions at LZ X-ray and LZ Albany, I was awarded a Bronze Star with V device and the Vietnam Service medal with two Bronze Stars.

I have been a member of VVA since 1994, serving as SGT-at-Arms and then President for Chapter 17, Las Vegas. I was elected State Council President in 1996, a position that I continue to hold today.

Presently, I sit on the VVA National Minority Affairs Committee and am the 2nd Vice-Chair of the Conference of State Council Presidents.

Also, presently, I'm serving on Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley's Veterans Advisory Committees. Plus I have served on numerous committee in the State of Nevada.

My years of service as Chapter President, State Council President, and Veterans Advocate have shown me that to give is to receive, and I will never give less than 100 percent.

Region 9 and each State Council President in Region 9 need a strong voice on the national board. Communication flow or its lack can have major consequences if not addressed appropriately. Good information flow can reach the deepest forgotten corner of any region, which will affect membership recruitment and retention.

Please give me your support in the upcoming elections.

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