February 2001/March 2001
A VVA Staff Report
Keeping The Memory
At least 38 times during the last year, the honor guard for Chapter
470 in Anoka, Minnesota, has provided Veterans Honors at local
cemeteries on Saturdays. According to chapter president Mike Clark,
two-and-a-half years ago it became apparent that there were fewer honor
guard units available for funeral services than a decade ago. Chapter
volunteers, many of whom still work full-time jobs, devote Saturdays
providing the honor guard at funerals for local veterans. "We
consider honors to be a sacred ritual," said Honor Guard member Art
Reese. "By serving and helping others we are helping ourselves, and
that's a real good feeling." Sharing that feeling are Doug Johnson,
Dave Rich, Dave Redding, and Ken Durfesne. They are assisted by Sam
Hermanstorfer, Joe Herman, and Jimmy Guitar.
On Father's Day Weekend 2001, Orange, Texas, Chapter 348 will
sponsor the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a four-fifths scale
replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Orange County Airport. The
chapter will have its Vietnam War Museum on display as a resource for
Chapter 120 in Hartford, Connecticut, reports that the state
has renamed a ten-mile section of Interstate 91 the "All Airborne
Memorial Highway." The designation extends from Meriden to North
Both Chapter 787 in Valrico, Florida, and Chapter 691
in Merced, California, have run articles in their newsletters
encouraging members to contribute to the In Memory Memorial Plaque
project. Congress approved and President Clinton signed legislation
authorizing the placement of a plaque within the 13-acre Vietnam Veterans
Memorial site that recognizes those who came home from Vietnam and died
later as a direct result of their service. No names will be on the plaque;
rather, a simple statement will memorialize their service and sacrifice.
Information on contributions to the project can be obtained by contacting
Ruth Coder Fitzgerald at RcoderFitz@aol.com
The December edition of Bayou Bugle News, the newsletter of Westbank
Chapter 553 in Harvey, Louisiana, includes an e-mail sent by a
young woman the chapter met when The Traveling Wall was at Zephyr Stadium.
In it, she thanked the chapter for connecting her with the veteran who was
with her father when he died and who carried her father's body to the
helicopter that began his journey home. "I'm still baffled that after
30 years of unanswered questions, I meet with you guys and within 24 hours
I'm on the telephone to a man that was right with my dad in Nam," she
said. "I still can't believe it. I thought I'd be looking for a
needle in a haystack."
Southwest Montana Chapter 788 in Bozeman was represented by
Chuck Miller at the presentation of the second Vietnam Memorial Wall
plaque at Sacajawea Middle School. The plaque was dedicated in honor of
Stephen Stanford Oviatt, a U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant who was
killed on December 5, 1969--ten weeks short of his 25th
birthday. Oviatt's name can be found on Panel 15 West, Line 29 on the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Piper John Newman, whose bagpipes filled the National City Christian
Church with music during the 30th Anniversary of the Tet
Offensive observation VVA conducted in January 1998, works with Chapter
161 in the Concord State Prison in the Granite State. Newman
pipes in the prison courtyard in full regalia, and the veterans collect
soda cans to raise money for his Food Pantry project. Newman says that
through their efforts, "Thousands of pounds of food are purchased and
distributed to needy vets’ families and others each year."
Dick Darnell, a member of Phoenix, Arizona, Chapter 432 reported
on this year’s efforts to support the Arizona Run for The Wall. Chapter
432 and Dick's Family Kitchen have sponsored the program. At Dick's
request, last year’s chapter donation was redirected to help build a
playground at a Virginia school.
In addition to being named Montana Chapter of the Year in 1999, Chapter
699 in Deer Lodge has donated a total of over $5,000 to the
Marines’ Toys for Tots program in the last two years. Chapter members
also procure wheelchairs for the disabled at the Montana State Prison.
Chapter 649 in Batavia, Ohio, recently donated $145 to the
local VFW after a fire destroyed the group’s clubhouse.
Rock Island, Illinois, Chapter 299’s Bingo operation generated
more than $4,000 in donations to local community activities in November.
The donations helped fund Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for the
needy, Toys for Tots, Telephone Pioneers, Visiting Nurses Association,
MAVA, and the Illinois State Council.
St. Albans, Vermont, Chapter 753 donated $1,000 to the Friends of
Veterans, a group that provides various kinds of assistance to veterans in
Veteran of The Year
Among 12 Vietnam veterans selected by the Wisconsin State Council to
receive Outstanding Achievement Awards, State Council Vice President Steve
House was recognized as Vietnam Veteran of the Year. House has worked at
the Wisconsin Veterans Home for 20 years as a treatment coordinator for
the Substance Abuse Unit and coordinator for residential employment. Those
receiving achievement award honors included Arthur Brushue, Dan Dahlke,
Mac Dorn, Russell Haling, David Holman, and George Lemerond. Also
receiving recognition were Terry Lee Hawkins, Jerome Palicki, Phillip
Rosenberg, Joe Schaitel, and Tom Shepeck.
Santa Ana, California, Chapter 785 recognized two members who
recently received high honors. Eileen C. Moore was sworn in as a justice
of the Fourth Appelate District, Division Three, and Bea Jones was
selected to receive the African American Citizen of Distinction Award from
the Orange County NAACP.
Al Moore was selected as Outstanding Veteran of the Year by Chapter
755 in Kissimmee, Florida. The chapter named Linda Tuttle
Outstanding Associate of the Year.
Steve Bozeman of Chapter 196 in Lynchburg was named
Virginia Vietnam Veteran of the Year in ceremonies in Virginia Beach.
Bozeman, who is the world record holder for completing more double Ironman
Triathalons (swim 4.8 miles, bike 224 miles, run 52.4 miles without
interuption) than anyone else, serves as chair of the Virginia Vietnam
Veterans Reunion, which, under his leadership, has grown into the largest
gathering of its kind in central Virginia. Bozeman also was inducted into
the Marine Corps Marathon's Hall of Fame after running in 23 consecutive
races, the past 14 of which he has carried an American flag the entire
Many members of Montgomery County, Maryland, Chapter 641 attended the
25th wedding anniversary of chapter members Roland and Marie
Kauffman. Despite heavy snow, Roland and Marie were surprised when nearly
fifty of their friends and family feted them at the Four Points Sheraton
Former National President Mary Stout was joined by Len Ignatowski, both
members of Northern Virginia Chapter 227 for a presentation to a
class at Georgetown University. The course, The United States in the
1960s, is taught by history professor Michael Kazin and investigates the
political and social events of the decade.
Kettle Moraine Chapter 448 in Newburg, Wisconsin, used its
scholarship application as the front page of Welcome Home, the
The state of South Carolina will issue commemorative diplomas for South
Carolinians who left high school early to serve in World War II.
Descendents of deceased veterans who qualify can obtain special diplomas
for their relatives. Additional information is available at 803-734-8333
or on the web at www.state.sc.us/sde/parcomm/veterans.htm
San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston took part in the
dedication of the first State Veterans Home in Texas in December. State
Council President Bill Meeks, Jr., attended the opening ceremony for the
75,000-plus square foot, 160-bed facility in Floresville, near San
Antonio. A 32-bed unit at the facility is devoted to Alzheimer's care.
Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently allocated
$1,200 for the VA volunteer coffee fund for visiting patients and families
through the end of February 2002.
PFC Bruce W. Carter Chapter 121 in Coral Gables, Florida,
thanked all the volunteers who participated in the Thanksgiving and
Christmas programs at the Miami VA Medical Center. Special recognition
went to Stacy McManus, who every year makes hundreds of chocolate candies
for the veterans in the hospital.
Chester County Chapter 436 in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania,
volunteers play volleyball at the Coatsville VA Medical Center every
Thursday. The pickup teams include patients, chapter members, and friends.
Chapter 436 also provides its newsletter on cassette for the visually
Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell Chapter 266 also is active at the
Coatsville facility. In November, chapter members held a very successful
pizza party for about thirty patients and staff. Chapter members James
Chappelle, Eugene Alexander, and AVVA member Kelly Green took part.
Western Massachusetts Chapter One-Eleven sponsored a successful
Christmas party at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. The chapter handed out over
70 gifts to the veteran residents of the home, along with pastries and
The 11th Annual Riverside Homeless Veterans Care Fair was
held the end of February at the National Guard Armory in Fairmont Park,
California. Veterans groups work together to provide clothing, haircuts,
medical exams, and other services to homeless veterans.
Central Minnesota Chapter 290 in St. Cloud took part in the
Third Annual Minnesota Stand Down. More than fifty veterans received
meals, haircuts, clothing, and legal advice after two Stearns County
District Court judges resolved outstanding legal cases.
Odds 'N' Ends
Brooklyn, New York, Chapter 72 volunteered to help the handicapped
on a trip around New York Harbor during Op Sail 2000.
Mike Brewer, president of Chapter 106 in Tucson, Arizona,
is leading the chapter’s effort to have a Veterans Historical Museum
included as part of the Rio Nuevo Project in downtown Tucson. Brewer, who
has spent nearly 30 years actively involved in the downtown community,
once chaired the Downtown Advisory Committee and helped with the first
draft of the Rio Nueva Project.
The Maryland State Council will present VetFest 2001 at Oregon
Ridge Park in Cockeysville August 25. The classic rock concert will
feature the Satellites, Jr. Cline and the Recliners, Archie Bell, and
tribute group Erick Burdon and the Animals. Contact Avery Taylor at
410-744-0008 for more information.
West Shore Chapter 249 in Bay Village, Ohio, had a booth at
the American & Canadian Sport, Travel, & Outdoor Show March 17-25.
An estimated 30,000 vehicles pass the Montrose Street Overpass along
southbound US 59, the Lloyd Bentsen Freeway, in Houston, Texas. Many of
them see a huge billboard there with the message, "Thank A Vet For
Your Freedom--Vietnam Veterans of America" and the phone number for Houston
Chapter 343, which sponsored the sign.
Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 is already planning for Flag Day
ceremonies in June. The chapter distributes American flags and POW/MIA
flags in exchange for donations throughout the greater Rochester area.
Volunteers from Eduardo Marquez, Jr., Chapter 431 in Las
Cruces, New Mexico, cleaned up Veterans Memorial Park each Monday
morning in December. The clean-up duty rotates among local veterans
Delaware Chapter 83 held a Beef & Beer in February at the
United Auto Workers Local 435 hall in Cranston Heights.
Chapter 236 in Janesville, Wisconsin, celebrated its 15th
anniversary in February with a Dinner & Dance Birthday Party.
Robert E. Wheelock Memorial Chapter 327 in Stanhope, New Jersey,
shared some of the Dalai Lama's "Instructions for Life in the New
Millenium" with chapter members. Three seemed focused on Vietnam
veterans: 1) Follow the three R's: Respect for self, respect for others,
responsibility for all your actions; 2) Live a good, honorable life. Then
when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second
time; and 3) Share your knowledge; it is a way to achieve immortality.
Capital Chapter 542 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, challenged
the 82nd Airborne Division Association and the Randall Shugart
Memorial Special Forces to a single-elimination pool match in January. No
word on who beat whom yet.
Phoenix Chapter 726, Polk Correctional Institution in Polk City,
Florida, thanks the civilian workers at Pride Industries for assisting
Vietnam veterans. Pride has helped the chapter raise money by producing
rocking horses. Proceeds go to Children's Hospital, the Make-A-Wish
Foundation, and others. They also make the flag stands used by most
Florida chapters, burial flag cases, a special veterans stand in the
facility's Visiting Park, and a special case where the chapter displays
the many awards it has received.
If you're near Chouteau, Oklahoma, the Tommy Gist Memorial
Chapter is forming. For information contact Carl Moback, Tulsa Chapter
524 Vice President, at 918-258-4861.
Among many chapters around the country that celebrated the holidays
with a chapter party or by sponsored a party at a nearby veterans facility
were Chapter 82 in Hicksville, New York; Chapter 787 in Valrico,
Florida; Chapter 454 in Louisville, Kentucky; Rock Island,
Illinois, Chapter 299; Chapter 534 in Springfield, Illinois;
and Chapter One-Eleven in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Mail chapter newsletters and state newspapers to VVA Membership Notes,
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Suite 400, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3710.