A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

June 2000/July 2000

Membership Notes

A VVA Staff Report


Valley Forge Chapter 349
placed flags on some 400 graves at the Montgomery Cemetery for Memorial Day observances. The cemetery features a Veterans Memorial Garden, with roses in full bloom for the holiday.

Chapter 82 in Hicksville, New York, also placed flags at graves for Memorial Day ceremonies. Chapter members gathered early on May 27 to decorate the graves at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.

The Department of Defense has certified Texarkana Area Chapter 278 in Texarkana, Texas, as a "Korean War Commemorative Community." The chapter has established a committee to plan events for the next three years. The observations began on May 29 when the chapter hosted a 50th Anniversary Salute to Korean Veterans.

Chapter 355 in Canyon Country, California, sponsored Jerry Miller, Jr., to attend the Sons and Daughters In Touch Fatherís Day 2000 celebration at The Wall. Miller is the son of U.S. Army Cpl. Jerry Miller who was killed on April 7, 1967, near Tay Ninh while assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

MEMORIALS

Chapter 502 in Anniston, Alabama, completed construction of memorials to WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War. The black granite memorial is engraved with the names of over 10,000 Alabama war casualties.

In May, Chapter 802 in Passaic County, New Jersey, took part in dedication ceremonies for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway. The Board of Chosen Freeholders of Passaic County redesignated a section of the Hamburg Turnpike in honor of those who served.

Riverside, California, Chapter 47 dedicated a statue at the Riverside National Cemetery in late May. The statue, created by Colorado sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg, mounted atop a 13-foot pedestal depicts a dead soldier whose face is covered with a tarpaulin.

EDUCATION

Mark Noyes and Dave Holly of Robert E. Wheelock Chapter 327 in Stanhope, New Jersey, presented a program on the Vietnam experience to four classes at Hopatcong High School. The students and faculty enjoyed the presentation so much, they have invited Noyes and Holly back next year.

Chapter 787 in Valrico, Florida, held "Education Days" in conjunction with a presentation of The Moving Wall in Tampa. During three-and-a-half days, seven local schools sent some 600 students from pre-school through 12th grade for guided tours of The Wall and a mock firebase built by the chapter. Some students returned later in the evening with family and friends. The chapter hopes to double the number of schools and students taking part next year.

HONORS

Chapter 303 in Columbia, South Carolina has set up a display at the Dorn VAMC honoring Vietnam veterans. Alta Milling and Paul Ruh, who worked on the display, were recognized for their efforts with awards presented by Medal of Honor recipients John Baker (Vietnam) and Charles P. Murray (WWII). Alta Milling also accepted an award for Frank Weick, who developed the display.

The New York State Senate Woman of Distinction award was presented posthumously to Captain Priscilla "Chris" Ramirez-Lynch of Middletown, New York. Chris served in Vietnam in 1967-68 at the 36th Evac Hospital in Vung Tau and the 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang as a surgical nurse. She passed away in August 1999 from cancer. She was a founding member of Chapter 140 in Middletown, New York. The award was accepted by her husband, Art, also a Vietnam veteran, and sons Art and Thomas.

Vietnam veteran and journalist Eck Spahich was recently awarded the Republic of Croatia Pleter Medal. The award was presented by the Croatian Ambassador Dr. Miomir Zuzul during the Slavic Heritage Festival at the University of Houston. Spahich grew up in Tuzla, Bosnia. He emigrated to the United States in 1960 and served as a combat correspondent with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Medal. Spahich has been an outspoken advocate for human rights. He serves as vice president of Chapter 404 and lives in Borger-Fritch, Texas.

Allenhurst, New Jersey, Chapter 12, is proud to announce that three chapter members will be honored at the Chapel of Four Chaplains in Cape May, New Jersey. Don McNamara, Jim Campbell, and Maureen Monahan will be recognized during ceremonies in September.

Dave and Jane Yelton walked away from the Greater New Orleans Chapter 384 with double honors recently. Dave was named Pointman of the Year and wife, Jane, was chosen AVVA Member of the Year.

Dennis Wells, a member of Chapter 691 in Merced, California, has been appointed to the Governors Commission on Veterans Homes by Vietnam veteran governor Gray Davis.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Big Sky Chapter 334 in Billings, Montana, and members of AVVA awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Jillene Casey. Casey won the award because of her community service, scholastic achievement, and her essay on the 1968 Tet Offensive. Jillene is the daughter of Dennis and Mary Casey. She will be attending the University of Portland in the fall as a pre-med student.

DONATIONS

Chapter 414 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, donated $1,500 to the Waukesha Food Pantry, $500 to the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and $200 to a local needy veteran. The chapter also donated $250 to the North Carolina State Council to help hurricane victims.

Major James A. Crew Chapter 359 at the State Correctional Institution in Cresson, Pennsylvania and Laurel Highlands Chapter 364 combined their efforts and raised over $1,500 for Cambria County Special Olympics. This is the third year the chapters have worked together for Special Olympics. The money is raised by selling artwork by inmate artists.

At the Battle Creek, Michigan, VAMC, Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor recently donated $100 to be used to take patients outside the facility for meals at local restaurants.

In April, Incarcerated Chapter 692 in Kincheloe, Michigan, held a clothing drive. Seventeen fifty-five gallon bags were collected and given to Chapter 274 in Cheboygan, Michigan.

25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF THE VIETNAM WAR

The City of Philadelphia passed a resolution April 13 commemorating the 25th anniversary. Chapter 266 sponsored the resolution, which was introduced by 7th District Councilman Richard T. Marino and Donna Reed Miller.

San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston, Texas helped with Stand Down Houston April 28-29 in Guadalupe Plaza Park. Several hundred veterans took advantage of clothing exchanges, legal services, and other services. AVVA member Lynda Greene Kahler is chair of the Task Force for Houston Area Homeless Veterans.

ODDS & ENDS

VVAís Long Island Chapter 11 in Suffolk, New York, is the sponsor--with the Suffolk County Police Departmentís 4th Precinct--of the Smithtown Veterans Youth Program. The programís main objective is to address the needs of local teenagers for a safe, drug- and alcohol-free summer. The program offers a safe environment at Sunken Meadow State Park five nights a week all summer. Chapter member Mike Brady was named the programís Volunteer of the Year.

Kentuckiana Chapter 454 hosted a symposium on hepatitis C at the Louisville VA Medical Center. The event featured Miss America 2000 Heather Renee French who is the daughter of Vietnam veteran Ronnie French. Free hepatitis C screening was available at the conference.

Richard Esau, Jr., a life member of Westchester County Chapter 49 in Pleasantville, New York, recently was elected National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart

John Morris, editor of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 436 newsletter, reports that his son Adam just graduated from West Chester University. Adam Morris will travel to Hong Kong where he will teach English. John Morris says he receives "small comfort from the thought that this generation of Morrises is not going overseas for the purposes of war."

Tri-State Appalachian Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland, reports that the food pantry operated by the chapter at the Re-Entry Project office is receiving food donations from veterans helped out by the program in the past. The project receives no chapter money and is supported entirely by concerned individuals.

In the February/March issue, we reported that Chapter 266 in Philadelphia held free Hepatitis C testing. We failed to acknowledge the assistance provided by Valley Forge Chapter 349. In a letter to The VVA Veteran, Chapter 266 President Steve Uchniat said that without the help and camaraderie of Chapter 349, the event would not have been successful. Another free hepatitis C testing will be conducted in October.

   

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