February 2001/March 2001
A Matter Of Priorities
By Nancy S. Switzer, President
Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America now has its own lockbox for
donations. Send donations to: AVVA, P.O. Box 64732, Baltimore, MD
January was very busy at our meeting in Washington. I would like to
thank Bob Maras, Veterans Affairs chair, and Margaret Wojciechowicz for
taking us to and scheduling meetings to discuss issues of concern to
veterans and their families. We met with Dr. Garthwaite of the VA and Rep.
Chris Smith (R-N.J.). It turned out to be very beneficial.
Margaret and I worked with Sharon Hodge to develop the first AVVA
Legislative Agenda. We chose five top priorities:
1) A call for the VA to create a Veterans’ Families Service
Coordinator to provide services to address a range of issues from
homelessness, birth defects, to secondary PTSD that affect veterans’
2) Creating a special task force to do research and development
regarding cancers at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The task force
should also inform the families of the high risks and lasting effects
of cancers that are now being discovered among those who were
stationed in Camp Lejeune from 1968-85.
3) Upgrading VA Benefits to reflect actual cost-of-living rates.
4) Seeking legislation or regulations to include men in P.L.
106-419 for Agent Orange birth defects. The current law only provides
for female veterans.
5) Supporting the Heather French Act of 2001.
Affiliated Chapter Representatives should be elected in April. Criteria
were sent to AVVA State Representatives. June is the election for State
Representatives of AVVA.
AVVA appreciates Paul Sutton’s help in obtaining a computer from the
Veterans Haven in Winslow, New Jersey. Thank you all.
At the January VVA Board of Directors meeting, Bob Maras presented AVVA
with its own star. A map showing the location of the star is hanging on
the wall at the national office. On behalf of Associates of Vietnam
Veterans of America, I would like to thank Bob for making AVVA a twinkle
in everyone’s eye.
This year at the National VVA Convention and AVVA Leadership Conference
we will be helping at least two organizations, the Montagnard/Dega
Association and the Vietnam Highlands Assistance Project. Both these
organizations assist the Montagnard population in North Carolina.
I am including a preliminary list of items that are needed by the
Montagnards. More information will be forthcoming. Thank you as always.
Please start to collect the following items to bring to Greensboro:
English as a second language workbooks, world globes, world maps,
blankets, personal care kits, and school supplies.
In the next issue and in the chapter mailings, I will provide more
information on our efforts to assist these people.
Thank you, as always.