February 1999/March 1999
A VVA Staff Report
A Memorial Tribute to Arthur Cohen is being planned to commemorate
his years of service to family, community, and his fellow VVA members.
Cohen served as president of Thomas P. Coughlin Memorial Chapter 72
in Brooklyn, New York, chapter delegate to the New York State Council,
and product sales officer. More information can be obtained by contacting
Duane Paulsen at 718-596-7244.
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 349 commemorates Veterans
Day and the sacrifice of their comrades in Vietnam by holding a candlelight
service on the evening of November 10 each year. "We do this on November
10 because with the time difference it's already Veterans Day in Vietnam,''
says Chapter President Dick Baine. The ceremony includes a reading of the
names of the 125 Vietnam casualties from the county.
Chapter 470 in Anoka, Minnesota, dedicated a memorial
to the U.S. Army 9th Infantry Division at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
"Old Reliables'' veterans Mike Clark and Doug Johnson started raising
funds for the project, and only seven months later the memorial joined
other division memorials along Mallon Drive in the cemetery.
Northern Nevada Correctional Center Chapter 719 in Carson
City held its annual food collection for Friends In Service Helping
(FISH) and donated over 300 pounds of non-perishable food to the local
charity. The food was distributed to needy families during the holiday
Las Vegas, Nevada, Chapter 17 joined with Northern Nevada
Correctional Center Chapter 719 to donate $1,000 to the Eagle Valley
Children's Home in Carson City. Chapter 719 Chaplain Robert Gonzales donated
several pieces of hospital equipment in memory of his brother Lawrence
Hernandez, a veteran of the Korean War and Honorary Chapter Associate.
Chapter 760 at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility
in Adrian, Michigan, in cooperation with Indian Nations United,
Redtail Hawk Chapter II, donated $283 to the local DAV chapter to help
fund food baskets for the needy during Christmas. The chapter also donated
one hundred potted plants for distribution to patients in the Ann Arbor
Rock Island, Illinois, Chapter 299 presented checks to local
charities in excess of $7,000. Among those benefiting from the donations
are the American Red Cross, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, First Day Fund,
and D.A.R.E. programs in Rock Island and Moline. Also receiving funds were
the Moline Fire Department Prom Night Program, John Lewis Coffee Shop,
Abused Children's Foundation, Visiting Nurses, and Arrowhead Ranch.
Harford County, Maryland, Chapter 588 presented its eighth $500
scholarship to Harford Community College. The chapter also paid to have
the water turned for a needy family and provided food and toys for five
families at Christmas.
Central New Hampshire Chapter 41 in Concord presented
scholarships totaling over $4,000.
Awards & Honors
Wisconsin State Council President John Margowski was a guest
at the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony held by Chapter 737 at the
Fox Lake, Wisconsin, Correctional Institution. Other guests
included Charles Piper of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs
and retired Army Col. Robert Garcia, staff adviser to the chapter and the
education director of the Fox Lake Correctional Institution.
Larry Klein was awarded the first Barry S. Heimbender Memorial
Vietnam Veteran of the Year honor by the New York State Council.
The actions of First Sergeant David H. McNerney, recipient of
the Medal of Honor while assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry,
4th Infantry Division, on March 22, 1967, were recognized at the fifth
reunion of the company in Wichita.
Never Again Will One Generation Of Veterans Abandon Another
Washtenaw County, Michigan, Chapter 310 sent more than three
hundred Christmas cards to troops overseas this year. Chapter member Gary
Lillie produced the cards on his home computer. Each card contained an
individual greeting from chapter members who folded cards, stuffed and
licked envelopes, and pasted stamps at the December chapter meeting. The
chapter also sends cards each year to the families of the seventy-five
people memorialized on the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Gordon Strauss served on the USS Constellation in Vietnam 1969-1970
and always wanted to go back and visit the ship. When Strauss saw a television
interview with a young sailor aboard the ship, he decided to make contact.
Strauss, who serves as chaplain of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, Chapter
731, wrote to CWO2 Steve Pelon, the subject of the interview, and after
much correspondence, Strauss received an invitation to tour the ship. Strauss
and his wife Charlene met Pelon and his wife Marty in San Diego and received
a ten- hour tour. He met the ship's captain, executive officer, and chaplain
and told them about the activities of Chapter 731, including their support
of Gold Star Mothers and families. The crew were so impressed they awarded
Chapter 731 a Certificate of Appreciation, the only chapter so honored.
Santa Rosa, California, resident Mary Mapes Sarris learned December
18 that remains had been positively identified as those of her brother,
Commander John C. Mapes. Mapes was a 40-year-old Navy aviator when
he was shot down over North Vietnam thirty-two years ago. He will be interred
in the San Francisco Bay area.
Chapter 161 in Concord, New Hampshire, continued its tradition
of supporting the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign.
Chapter members and other inmates at the New Hampshire State Prison produced
more than 1,500 toys and gifts, which were distributed to needy children
throughout the state by Marine Corps Reservists. Chapter 161 Toys for Tots
Chairman Stephen "Suds'' Sadvari lead the effort, which collected $1,400
from inmates at the facility. The Marine Corps pitched in $2,000 and the
program was a success. Planning has already begun for the 1999 campaign.
Summit County Chapter 34 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, is busy
planning for the annual Super Kids Classic scheduled for June 12 at Derby
Chapter 272 in Greenville, North Carolina, collects old
bicycles, which are cleaned up and given to needy children. For additional
information, contact Chapter President Jerry Lee.
On The Road Again
Chapter 72 in Brooklyn, New York, has its annual bus trip
to Washington, D.C., scheduled for May 22. More information can be obtained
by contacting the chapter at 718- 596-7244.
Westchester County, New York, Chapter 49 is still moving. A while
back the chapter helped a disabled member make arrangements for her move
to Texas. Just recently the chapter played a key role in the transfer of
an unused organ in the Pleasantville Community Synagogue to the San Andreas
Episcopalian Church in Yonkers. The organ was taking up needed space in
the synagogue when a chapter member suggested giving it to San Andreas,
which had lost its organ in a fire fifteen years earlier.
Agent Orange Awareness
Sheila Winsett promoted awareness of Agent Orange and its effects
in Jasper, Alabama, during Agent Orange Awareness Month last October. She
was supported by VVA Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee Chair George Claxton,
who attended the event with Kenny Deal, chair of the Environmental Hazards
subcommittee. The event was covered on the front page of the local paper.
Keep Those Christmas Cards And Letters Comin'
"Christmas time brings out the child in us, no matter how old we are,''
said Fr. Vito, a counselor at the Brooklyn VA Hospital, during the annual
Christmas Party hosted by Thomas P. Coughlin Memorial Chapter 72
in Brooklyn, New York. The chapter has adopted a ward at the hospital
and for many years has been involved with hosting activities. This year
Bob Matovick wore the Santa Claus suit and posed with patients who each
received a Polaroid photo of the occasion.
San Jacinto Chapter 343, Ramsey One Affiliate in Rosharon,
Texas, held a Christmas celebration, complete with decorations, refreshments,
and gifts. One hundred veterans attended, as well as a large number of
people from outside, including Chapter 343 President Wolf Biedenfeld and
Steve Blumenthal, editor of Chapter 343's Warrior. Representatives from
the Houston VA Hospital, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and
the Texas Inmate Family Association also were there. The Texas State Council
was represented by Lynda Kahler- Greene and John Kahler.
Riverside, California, Chapter 47 had over one hundred people
attend its annual Christmas party in December. Those in attendance were
treated to turkey, ham, homemade tamales, salad, and desserts. Chapter
47 Chaplain John Paton suited up as Santa. The chapter also worked with
the local Vet Center to provide holiday dinners to ten Vietnam veteran
Chapter 243 in Lee's Summit, Missouri, worked with the 24th Marine
Reserve unit at the last home game of the Kansas City Chiefs in early December
to collect toys and cash donations for the Toys for Tots drive. The chapter
supplied its UH-1-D helicopter, which saw service in Vietnam with the 128th
Assault Helicopter Company from November 1966 until May 1967.
They don't call them the "Tennesee Volunteers'' for nothing. Chapter
203 in Chattanooga, Tennesee, home of the NCAA football champion
University of Tennessee Volunteers, held its annual "Toy Convoy'' and collected
toys and gifts for over seventy-five children in the area.
Chapter 140 in New Hampton, New York, used its Christmas
party to collect Christmas ornaments for distribution to veterans at the
Castle Point facility. The party featured an American medley potluck banquet
that included chapter members' favorite holiday dishes.
Odds & Ends
Chapter 75 in Leavenworth, Kansas, participated in the
annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Leavenworth for the fifteenth consecutive
year. Chapter Treasurer Thomas G. Rodriguez was chairman of the event.
Rodriguez has also served as president, vice president, and secretary of
Seventeen members of Fox Lake Correctional Institution Chapter 737
finished a PTSD group session, which completed a cycle in November. Staff
counselors Tom Deits and Rich Wangard conduct the program.
Jerry Stadtmiller hosted and moderated a discussion following
a screening of the documentary, Long Time Coming, which recorded the experiences
of American and Vietnamese veterans as they participated in a 1,200-mile
bicycle ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in January 1998. Stadtmiller
joined Tour de France champion Greg LeMond for the journey, serving as
LeMond's stoker. Nearly two hundred attended the presentation at the Shirley
Theater at the University of San Diego.
Vets On The Net
Connect with Indianapolis, Indiana, Chapter 295 and get information
about Firebase Indy (June 4-6, 1999) and an on-line bookstore. Reach the
chapter at: http://members.iquest.net/~vva295/
San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston can be reached at:
E-mail us at email@example.com