October 2001/November 2001
A VVA Staff Report
Note: Most material in this report was written prior to
In The Aftermath
Chapter 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada, sponsored a
Radiothon in front of chapter headquarters and collected $10,545
for disaster relief. Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland,
raised more than $700 passing the hat at the chapter picnic.
San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston donated $1,000 to
the relief effort. Chapter 243 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri,
trucked its Huey helicopter to the parking lot of the local Mail
Boxes Etc. and handed out American flags to everyone who stopped
by. Anoka, Minnesota, Chapter 470 participated in a
memorial service September 16 in which chapter members displayed a
huge American flag as part of the ceremony. Chapter 240 in
Sumner County, Georgia, took part in fundraising for the
relief effort in mid-October at the Gallatin Wal-Mart.
Phoenix Chapter 726 at the Polk Correctional Institution in
Polk City, Florida, received three honors during a Special
Awards Presentation in August. Florida State Council
President Dave McMichael presented Chapel of the Four Chaplains
Legion of Honor certificates to Armando Leon, Jr., and Ron Varner.
They were recognized for distinguished service to the veterans’
community. Leon was recognized for his work with the Hummingbird
Club, writing letters to nursing home residents around the world.
Varner operates "Operation Recon," a support group for
incarcerated and homeless veterans. McMichael then presented a
Legion of Honor certificate to the entire chapter for its
outstanding efforts on behalf of the Children’s Hospital and
Children's Burn Unit. Newly elected Region IV Director John
Koprowski attended the ceremony.
Chapter 834 at the correctional facility in Lovelock,
Nevada, was honored to award John Stahl the Navy Humanitarian
Service Award. Stahl received the award for his actions while
serving aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61) in the face of
Hurricane Olga. He and his fellow shipmates risked their lives to
assist hundreds of men, women, and children of the Philippines.
East Hartford, Connecticut, Chapter 120 Secretary Billee
Cullin had the honor of presenting the Order of the Silver Rose
Award to the family of deceased chapter member Paul James Coen,
Jr., who died of cancer due to his exposure to Agent Orange.
Coen's parents, Josephine and Paul James Coen, accepted the award.
They were joined by their daughter, Terry A. Yarlott, and her
children, David and Paula Jean. Coen served in Danang with the
Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicates each
issue of its newsletter to a fallen comrade from the area. By
acclamation of the chapter membership, all 2001 issues of the
310 Dispatch will be dedicated to the women who served in
Dick Dedham, a member of Ocean County Chapter 855 in
Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey, was recently presented with the New
Jersey Distinguished Service Medal.
"Chapter 787 is #1 in the Nation" proclaims The
Outpost. A plaque was presented to Valrico, Florida,
Chapter President Tom Hall at the National Convention in August,
as was the "We’re Number One" banner from 2000 VVA Chapter of the
Year. Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland, had the
banner made in 1998. In 1999, it was presented to Chapter 310
when they were named in Anaheim.
Nebraska State Council President Al Martinez recently
presented employees at the Omaha VAMC with Certificates of
Appreciation. Receiving the recognition from the GI Endoscopy/Bronhoscopy
Center were Jenny McCarthy, Vicki Martin, Patti Pinkes, Brenda
Blunt, Rob Ludwig, and Dr. Stephen Lanspa. Also recognized were
Gale Grzywa, Dr. John Hunziker, Dr. Terry North, Dr. Chris Heaney,
Don Wilson, Natalie Baker, Brenda Sullivan, Doug Thomas, and Dr.
Elizabeth Dahl of the PTSD Clinical Team and the Mental Health
Chapter 299 in Rock Island, Illinois, participated
in the dedication of two memorials at Rock Island National
Cemetery in September. The memorial plaques honored Gold Star
Mothers and Gold Star Wives and have been placed along the
cemetery’s Memorial Walkway.
Among many chapters that participated in POW/MIA Recognition
Day ceremonies were Chapter 691 in Merced, California;
Chapter 303 in Columbia, South Carolina; and
Chapter 432 in Phoenix, Arizona. They were joined by
active-duty officers from Luke Air Force Base who marched with the
POW/MIA flag from the base to the Arizona Memorial at Wesley Bolin
Richard Anders Chapter 100 in Athens, Ohio, awarded
four scholarships to high school seniors. Beth Baker and Wade
Martin of Athens High School and Michelle Doughty and Wesley
Hunter of Alexander High School were presented grants that will be
used for college expenses.
Chapter 510 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, presented
scholarships to Stefanie DeOrio, Jessica DeMarco, and Annin
Lee Beyer and Chapter 436 in Phoenixville,
Pennsylvania, report that a former patient of the Coatesville
VAMC is now running the volleyball program at the hospital. If you
are looking for some friendly exercise, check it out Thursday
nights at 7:00 at the Great Hall, Building 5.
Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia received a
letter of thanks for sponsoring a pizza party at the Coatesville
Chapter 825 in Mays Landing, New Jersey, provided
members for a joint color guard during the unveiling of five
additional names on the Korean War Veteran’s Memorial in Brighton
Park. Chapter members Ed Davis and Lou Selmi, who are Korean War
veterans, joined with other members in the salute.
Chapter 432 in Phoenix, Arizona, acknowledged the
passing of Lloyd Botimer, a 104-year-old World War I veteran who
was an active participant in local veterans' activities.
Members of Anoka, Minnesota, Chapter 470 have been
replacing worn and damaged headstones of Civil War and War of 1812
veterans in Anoka's oldest cemetery. The chapter has replaced nine
of the 235-pound grave markers.
Chapter 299 in Rock Island, Illinois, listed the
recipients of chapter donations for a three-month period in a
recent issue of Shoulder To Shoulder. It is an extensive
list. Rock Island National Cemetery, Military Order of Cooties,
Quad Cities Ballet Folklorico, and Arrowhead Ranch were
beneficiaries of the chapter generosity. Also benefiting are the
Boys and Girls Clubs, Catholic Order of Foresters, East Moline
Police Drug Book, Sons and Daughters In Touch, Illinois AVVA, Army
Ball, and Vets Day Iowa.
Suffolk County Chapter 11 in Farmingville, New York,
donated $250 to the Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in
Jacksonville, North Carolina. The memorial will be built at Camp
Lejeune adjacent to the Beirut Memorial in the newly dedicated
Veterans Memorial Park. Upon completion, the memorial will be
transferred to the Marine Corps Base, and the Marines will provide
2001 Convention Coverage
Many chapter newsletters contained reports on VVA’s Tenth
National Convention in Greensboro. A sample of coverage includes a
report on the three Marines who were guests of honor at the
Saturday evening banquet, actor R. Lee Ermey who portrayed the
inflexible DI in Full Metal Jacket, Ned Broderick, founder
of the Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, and Associated
Press reporter and Vietnam veteran Terry Anderson, who was
kidnapped in Beirut and held for seven years as a hostage. Nevada
State Council Perimeter Guard received the State Council
Newsletter of the Year Award in Greensboro and filled the
post-convention issue with photos of activities of the convention.
Between The Lines, of Chapter 20 in Rochester,
New York, included reports from delegates who attended all of
the committee hearings at the convention. Chapter 303 in
Columbia, South Carolina, began its report: "Over 600
delegates deployed…met by the VVA staff (who were well prepared
for the invasion) and their Drill Sergeants (Sarge’s security
staff)…Vietnam veterans were greeted much warmer than they had
been on their return from Vietnam decades earlier." Newly elected
Secretary Mary Ellen White wrote about the experience of her
seventh national convention and concluded with: "My new career
started bright and early Sunday at 9:00 a.m. when the new board
and officers met for the first time."
Chapter 855 works with pet therapists at the Toms River
Nursing Home. The group includes AVVA members Joyce Forlaw and
Nicole DeSalvo, who join Golden Retrievers, Black Labs, and German
Shepherd/Akita mixes in bringing love and enjoyment to the
residents of the home.
Yosef Muhammed, special project chair for Chapter 466 in
Graterford, Pennsylvania, reports on activities at the
Ninth Annual Round Robin Softball Elimination Tournament. Proceeds
from the charity event conducted on the prison compound have
benefited a variety of children’s projects. Cosponsor for the
event was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP), and for the second year, the money raised will
assist Support for Kids with an Incarcerated Parent of the
Pennsylvania Prison Society. The program helps kids between 8 and
12 understand the feelings and effects of having an incarcerated
parent. The program offers peer support, organized activities,
education, and fellowship time.
Chapter 240 in Sumner County, Tennessee, is raising
money to take Vietnam veterans and their families to Washington,
D.C., to observe the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial on November 11, 2002. The chapter wants
to provide a special escort service for those who have not yet had
an opportunity to visit The Wall.
Odds ‘n’ Ends
Since the August convention, Chapter 343 in Houston
isn’t letting any grass grow under its feet. The chapter is
planning its annual Veteran’s Day Benefit Barbecue, the Holiday
Celebration with Veterans Incarcerated at the Ramsey 1 Unit, the
H.O.P.E. Thanksgiving Dinner, and staffing the concession booth at
Rice Stadium during the football season.
Rock River Chapter 236 in Janesville, Wisconsin,
returned from the convention with a full slate for September,
including the Labor Day Parade, Chili-Mania, the Junction Function
in Milton, and POW/MIA Day ceremonies.
Chapter 12 in Allenhurst, New Jersey, anticipates
some improvement in service for veterans since funding for an
outpatient clinic in Monmouth County was approved. The clinic
should ease overcrowding at the Ocean County VA facility; $1.68
million has been set aside for the project.
Steve Parsons of Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland,
reports that the Marine Corps is changing the camouflage patterns
on its utilities to a distinctly Marine pattern. The
computer-designed cammies were developed using more vivid colors
and will, "allow a Marine to disappear into the underbrush in
Texarkana Chapter 278 is working with the Arkansas State
Council to assist the Save The Montagnard People, Inc. A
truckload of clothes, shoes, toys, and household items will be on
the way shortly.
Chapter 55 in Licking, Ohio, was invited by
Chapter 42 in Zanesville to participate in the annual
Vietnam Veterans Bike Show. The chapter brought along its own
chopper, a UH 1-B Huey, and won the trophy.
The Delaware State Council was a participant in the
Fourth Annual Veterans Homecoming 2001 in early November. The
event offers information on veterans’ benefits, social services,
employment opportunities, and other important information.
Region 1 Director John Miner will host a regional
conference next spring at the New Hampshire Veterans Association
Chapter 272 in Greenville, North Carolina,
participated in ceremonies at The North Carolina Wall on
Independence Day and Veterans Day.
Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has a mystery
member who is interviewed as part of an ABC TV program about a
specific action in Vietnam. The show will air on December 18.
Chapter 862 in Freedom, Pennsylvania, held its First
Duck Race on the Ohio River. Little yellow plastic ducks were cast
upon the water. The first little yellow ducky to reach an assigned
point was declared the winner.
Firebase 510, the newsletter of Chapter 510 in
Cedar Grove, New Jersey, concluded a report on a recent
chapter meeting with this comment: "Being that the President
cannot remember if there was any further business, and being that
the President took the minutes, it was decided to quit while we
were ahead. A motion was made to adjourn. Needless to say, the
Genesee County, Michigan, Chapter 175 is collecting
register tapes. The money will support the annual Christmas Food
Chapter 17 in Las Vegas raised $9,544 for the New
York City/World Trade Center Disaster Relief Fund drive during the
week of September 14-23. AVVA collected $3,026 by making flag pins
inspired by Annie Pancrazio, Rosa Fabian, and Joan Earl.
Additional AVVA donations brought the total to $12,570. The drive
was inspired by Mike Giancola, an 11-year member of Chapter 17,
and manned by both VVA and AVVA members of Chapter 17. Radio
station 97.1 managed a live remote show in support of the effort.
Two checks were delivered to New York State Council President John
Rowan by Nevada State Council President Virgie Hibbler on October
10 to assist veterans and families of missing World Trade Center