A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

February 2002/March 2002

REGION 3 REPORT

Spotlight on Chapter 303

BY RICHARD LABARRE

At center stage in this issue is Chapter 303.  The chapter, located in Columbia, South Carolina--the capital of the state--is also the hub of the VVA wheel with five nearby chapters forming points along the spokes.  As such, the chapter hosts most South Carolina State Council meetings.  Columbia holds one of the nation's largest Veterans Day parades each year, an event that we thoroughly enjoy.  It also has a beautiful Memorial Park built in 1982 for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
     A few years ago, Chapter 303 sponsored the state's first Vietnam veteran reunion and the tradition continues.  The reunion, LZ Blackwell, was named after Roy Blackwell, a native of Clinton, S.C., who was killed in Vietnam. 
     The chapter also has become close to the state's Gold Star families--families we believe still bear the emotional scars of war.  Two years ago, the chapter unveiled a monument honoring these families. Last year, a Walk of Honor was dedicated. It is made of bricks ordered by family members. The ceremony was an emotional one and was well received.   
     The chapter helped outfit a team of Civil Air Patrol cadets who were forming a  ceremonial unit.  Their first function was the chapter's POW/MIA Recognition Day.  It was, by far, the most moving ceremony held in many years.  
     The chapter continues to support Dorn VA Medical Center, the Alston Wilkes Society's Veterans Home, and has received the Society's Volunteer of the Year award twice.   
     If you're heading south and driving on I-26 or I-20--I-95's not too far away--call ahead.  We'll leave the light on for you.■

   


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