A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress
February 2002/March 2002
Who And What We Are
BY THOMAS H. COREY
We have just learned of the tragic
deaths of Linwood Lang, the president of VVA's North Carolina
State Council, and Tito Molina, president of the Puerto Rico State
Council. This sad news follows by just a few weeks the death of
Rich Montgomery of Philadelphia. Regardless of the circumstances
of these deaths, we know this--three more names have been added to
the list Father Phil reports to us in each issue of The
We are saddened by the deaths of our comrades. We
should all take time to reflect on Rich, Linwood, and Tito as
examples of who and what we are.
We are Vietnam Veterans of America. Our motto, "In
Service To America,'' stands for something noble and decent. We
have chosen to come together and serve the needs of our
communities, whether the need is homeless veterans or the victims
of domestic abuse, special needs children, or children with cancer
The Veterans Against Drugs project, begun by Rich
Montgomery, is gaining visibility in our communities. Through this
program, many veterans are doing something worthwhile for family
Chapter members are reaching out to schools, using the
Guidebook as a tool to open new doors in the community. Our
members are helping educators develop meaningful Vietnam War
history courses for students across the country. Because of this
outreach, students have been able to connect with family members
who served in Vietnam but have never spoken of the war.
Chapters large and small are helping homeless veterans
in communities all across this country. Food, shelter, clothing,
counseling, and medical services are just some of what our
chapters offer in financial support or direct services. Car
washes, clothing drives, yard sales, and other chapter events help
to support this important work.
It doesn't matter if your chapter has 25 members or
1,000 members. Everyone of you can make a difference. I urge you
to read "Membership Notes" in each issue of The VVA
Veteran. You will be amazed by the different programs and
activities of our chapters and state councils.
VA Volunteer Services (VAVS) Programs get you inside
local VA hospitals as volunteers. This is our health-care system,
and we need to be active participants in the character and
delivery of services. The VA depends on volunteers in every facet
of the medical centers and outpatient clinics.
As a partner in VAVS, you will develop a relationship
with the hospital staff and administration. Many fine people are
working in the VA system. We should take time to get to know them
and build mutual respect and trust.
No one took the VA away from veterans; veterans gave it
away by failing to recognize that after all is said and done, when
politicians talk about tax reduction, they mean, "VA budget cuts
and the reduction of services.''
Rich, Linwood, and Tito were typical of their fellow
VVA members. They chose to take a stand and lead their fellow
veterans and communities in significant ways.
April and June are the months in which we elect chapter
and state council officers and boards. My appeal to each of you is
to respect the service of all of those who now serve VVA and those
whose service has ended, either by choice or by death. Present
yourself to the membership as a candidate for office in your
chapter or state council, or simply as a full-time participant at
Step up to the challenge and make a difference. By
helping each other, we will become stronger as an organization and
as individuals. Whether we win or lose an election, each of us has
a role and an obligation to support those who are elected and help
them do their jobs. We can all be winners to those we represent
and to our communities.
For too long we have watched our fellow veterans worked
themselves into a state of burnout. This is an unhealthy
situation. We lose valuable people whose lives had been dedicated
to helping veterans.
As we move forward with our mission, everyone of you is
needed. Your attendance at chapter and state council meetings and
events is vital. We depend on your participation, so attend your
next chapter or state council meeting and make that difference.
Support our troops.
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E-mail us at TheVeteran@vva.org