December 2000/January 2001
A VVA Staff Report
Long Beach, California, Chapter 756 dedicated
the Long Beach Vietnam Veterans Memorial on November 11. The "Slick
on a Stick" is located in Houghton Park and was designed by
Christopher Umana, a Long Beach City College art student. It includes a UH
I-D Huey helicopter donated by Al Gerbino, owner-director of the Dark
Horse military aviation museum at Long Beach Airport. According to chapter
president Max Stewart, the memorial "serves not only to remind us of
past sacrifices, but to inspire hope in our future." If you wish to
contribute to the memorial fund, contact Max at AirCop73@aol.com
To get to Houghton Park, you will drive a portion of the 104-mile
stretch of the Los Angeles County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway,
California SR 1 between Ventura County and Orange County. Led by president
Jerry Yamamoto, Redondo Beach Chapter 53 spearheaded the
legislation to rename the coastal highway.
The North Carolina Wall was unveiled at the Battleship North Carolina
Memorial Park in Wilmington on Veterans Day. The Wall includes the names
of the more than 1,500 Tarheels who died in Vietnam. Despite her dyslexia,
it took only ten days for 65-year-old Phyllis Zawislak to hand-paint each
name on the six-panel memorial, which now belongs to Greenville Chapter
Former Miss America Heather French has joined the effort to save the
Veteransí Memorial Forest in Ava, New York. The 798-acre Oneida County
site, dedicated in 1953, is in danger of having a landfill built next to
it. New York veterans included a statement by French in their brochure
seeking support for the effort. "I was horrified to learn that, after
45 years of the forest being designated a memorial site, it has come under
consideration as a possible neighbor to a waste site. . . . As a national
veterans advocate, I am deeply concerned about what that message sends to
our nation's veterans. Is this an act of disrespect for their service to
our country or a reflection of how we have forgotten their
sacrifices?" For more information, contact VVA Region II Director
Larry Klein at Lklein@vva.org
SPEAKING OF MISS AMERICA. . .
South Jersey Chapter 228 participated in several events in
conjunction with the 2001 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. The
chapter color guard participated in the Miss America Gala Fund Raiser to
benefit the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. It also presented the colors to
open the preliminary competition on October 11. On Friday the 13th, the
Chapter 228 Color Guard was the official escort for Miss America 2000
Heather French in the traditional parade along the Boardwalk.
GOLD MEDAL DEPARTMENT
Anthony Irvin, son of California VVA member Jack Irvin (ed. note: No
Jack Irvin in Calif. Howard Irvin, Canyon County Chapter 355) won a
Gold Medal in the 100-meter freestyle event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Frank Perez Memorial Chapter 153 in the south suburbs of Chicago
recently presented its third annual education grant to Daniel Dominiak,
son of Rich and Cathy Dominiak of Calumet City. Daniel Dominiak will use
the grant to study graphic design at South Suburban College.
Wayne Lee Miller, a USMC veteran and counselor at the Silver Spring,
Maryland, Vet Center, won First Place in the National Music Competition in
the vocal solo patriotic category and earned a chance to sing in
Washington's venerable Constitution Hall. Miller lost a leg in Vietnam on
Independence Day 1970.
The Philadelphia Regional Stand Down was held the second weekend of
September and moved "Thundering Herd" wife Mrs. Richard Campbell
to pen her concerns in a letter to Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street. The
event, in its seventh year, served more than 250 veterans and provided
on-site health care and counseling, including educational and job services
counseling. Since we remember the best things in our lives, Judy Campbell
asked, how can we expect young men and women to not remember the worst
thing that ever happened in their lives--Vietnam?
Welch, West Virginia, Coalfields Chapter 37 provided services to
162 veterans and family members during the second Appalachian Stand Down
in October. Health care, clothing, and hot meals were available to those
in need. Medical screening was provided by the 99th Regional Support
Command of the U.S. Army Reserve.
The California Zephyr, the official publication of the
California State Council, is back in production after a hiatus of several
years. Sonja and Ken Holybee are responsible for the Fall 2000 issue that
is printed in large type for Vietnam vets who have lost their reading
Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 held its annual Veterans Day
ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park.
Oahu, Hawaii, Chapter 858 members Curtis Kealoha, Paul Losch, Elija
Monroe, Mel Falcon, Garey Lester, William "Dan" Daniels, Ric
Ngiraingas, Nalu Perez, Luis Parker, and Gary Jalbert participated in the
Veterans Day ceremonies at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at
Punchbowl in Honolulu.
Jeff Christiano, son of Col. Joseph Christiano who remains unaccounted
for since Christmas Eve 1965, was one of the speakers when The Moving Wall
was presented in Spencerport, New York. Rochester Chapter 20
provided the color guard for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Rock River, Wisconsin, Chapter 236 brought a hospitality trailer
when it hosted more than 61,000 people at The Wall That Heals.
The Moving Wall was displayed at the TRW facility in Hawthorne,
California, during Thanksgiving week. Redondo Beach Chapter 53
welcomed visitors during their annual Wall Watch duty, which included the
Thanksgiving night watch.
On October 16, some of this country's most successful Vietnam veterans
rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, including AOL
founding CEO and chairman emeritus James V. Kimsey; Christos M. Cotsakos,
chairman & CEO of E-Trade; and Gen. Barry McCaffrey (USA-Ret.),
director of National Drug Control Policy.
VVA recommends that chapters across the country organize a candlelight
vigil or other observance to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the
cessation of military operations in the Persian Gulf War on February 28 (see
"NGWRC Report"). In that way, we can recognize and pay respects
to the men and women who selflessly volunteered to serve in the Gulf War.
Have you got an extra $25 burning a hole in your pocket? To continue
supporting the good work of the National Gulf War Resource Center (NGWRC),
send your contribution to NGWRC, P.O. Box 11131, McLean, VA 22102-7131.
In September, members of Ozark Uplift Chapter 838 in Siloam
Springs, Arkansas, held a memorial service for the 17 sailors killed
aboard the USS Cole, and their families. The U.S. Naval Recruiters
office in Fayetteville placed a wreath during the ceremony.
St. Albans, Vermont, received a $500 donation from Chapter 753
to support Project Phoenix. The money will be used to build a supervised
skate park for minors. Chapter president Mike Lawton has volunteered the
services of the chapter to help supervise the park when it is complete.
Chapter 753 also donated $1,000 to the Friends of Veterans, an
organization that provides assistance to veterans in need.
Chapter 824 in Elizabethton, Tennesee, donated $1,000 to
provide winter coats for veterans living in the Mountain Home VAMC in
Johnson City. The money was raised at two yard sales.
Vietnam veteran and former dentist Ronald M. Traficana of Rome, New
York, attended the Telergy Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament last summer.
Traficana, who pulled teeth for 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines in Danang,
1969-70, approached golf pro Craig "The Walrus" Stadtler during
the tourney and asked him to autograph his cap, which was weighted down
with Vietnam War pins and other insignia. Stadtler signed the hat and
handed it back to Traficana who immediately took the hat and placed it on
top of Stadtler's head. Traficana began to walk away. Stadler called him
back and handed his hat to Traficana. The 47-year-old golfer asked
Traficana for his autograph on the pin-covered hat. "It's because of
people like you, that's why we're here," he said. Stadtler, one of
only two PGA Tour golfers in the field old enough to have been eligible
for service during Vietnam, had received a draft lottery number of 310,
putting him out of contention for the Vietnam Sweepstakes.
Chapter 421, Staten Island, New York, members Mike Cocozza, Bill
Liell, Tom Tucker, and Joe DiGiovanni threw a Christmas party at the
Galley restaurant at Ft. Wadsworth for five young children and two adults
from Sierra Leone who were in this country being fitted with prosthetics
from injuries incurred during that West African nationís civil war.
SO WHOíS NEWS?
Tireless VVA and AVVA worker Mary Miller was profiled in the Johnstown
(Pennsylvania) Tribune-Democrat. The feature described how Mary has spent
nearly 20 years of her life working to help families suffering from
Agent-Orange-related cancer. The article described Millerís receipt of
the Humanitarian Award from the Chapel of Four Chaplains for her dedicated
service to veterans. The article quoted AVVA President Nancy Switzer:
"Mary deserves this award. She does everything for Vietnam veterans.
She puts in a lot of time that can't be measured. Without her help, I
wouldn't be able to do my job."
ODDS íNí ENDS
Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chapter 203 held its annual Toy Convoy in
December, thereby providing a very bright holiday for several dozen
Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia sponsored a book
signing for John Campbell, author of They Were Ours; held a Thanksgiving
and Christmas food drive that generated 27 baskets of food for those in
need; sponsored Christmas parties for needy children at the St. Francis
Inn soup kitchen; and paid two visits to the Philadephia VA Hospital.
Central Wisconsin Chapter 101 in Wisconsin Rapids collected and
purchased non-perishable goods and presented them, along with presents for
children donated by chapter member Don Schillinger, to the Wood County
Department of Social Services.The chapter also donated $100 each to the
Veterans Assistance Project and the PTSD unit at the VA Hospital in Tomah.
Montgomery County, Maryland, Chapter 641 held its Turkey Patrol on
Thanksgiving morning. The group gathered at 8:00 a.m. and delivered
turkeys and groceries to six families. Afterwards, members prepared
Thanksgiving dinner for needy residents at Carroll House. The chapter also
pulled off Santa Patrol, delivering small presents and spending time with
the veterans in the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center on Christmas Day.
Chapter 588 in Hartford County, Maryland, distributed a
carload of food and a truckload of clothes to eight needy families during
the holiday season.
Richmond, Indiana, Chapter 777 delivered Thanksgiving turkeys to
local shelters and kitchens that feed the needy. The chapter also
delivered blankets to a shelter for battered women. At Christmas, 55
families benefited from the chapterís Christmas basket program, begun
four years ago.
Two new Massachusetts chapters carry the names of local heroes. Beverly
Chapter 853 is named after Medal of Honor recipient 1st Lieutenant
Stephen H. Doane, originally of Beverly. Springfield Chapter 866
carries the name of SFC Jorge Otero-Barreto, the most decorated Puerto