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

April/May 2002

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 

A VVA STAFF REPORT 

HONORS 

National Education Subcommittee Chair Tom Hall was selected Florida State Council Veteran of the Year for 2001. Hall serves as president of Chapter 787 in Tampa. He received the coveted award from State Council President Dave McMichael in December. Martin Andersen, Chapter 787 Editor of The Outpost, received Newsletter of the Year honors at the same meeting.  

Skip Haswell received Veteran of the Year honors from Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 862 in Freedom. Haswell is president of the chapter. He said the award belonged to everyone in the chapter. 

Mantowoc, Wisconsin, County Chapter 731 had two Chapter Member of the Year Awards for 2001. Ed Stuhr was recognized for his hard work on the local Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Roy Tegen was honored for his dedication to Veterans Day activities. 

Nassau County, New York, Chapter 82 Chaplain Rabbi Mort Pomerantz was recently presented with the Barry S. Heimbender Award, the most prestigious honor conferred by the chapter. Heimbender, a longtime chapter member who was twice elected to the national Board of Directors, is remembered for his amiable nature and his fierce support for veterans.  

Southwest Montana Chapter 788 in Bozeman was honored twice when Don Murdock was presented with Member of the Year and Editor Mary Atkins received recognition for Newsletter of the Year. State Council President Bev Stewart presented the awards.


MOVING WALL 

Blackstone, Virginia, Chapter 806 will be hosting the Moving Wall ar Fort Pickett, Virginia.  The Wall will be open May9-12. On May 11 at 10 o’clock, a special ceremony will be conducted to honor the relatives of those who died. For more information, contact Chapter 806 at mailto:vva1@meckcom.net 

The Moving Wall will be exhibited in Bardstown, Kentucky, in May. Bob Keller, Ron Eberle, Larry Culver, Mike Settles, and Ray Goings - all members of Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville - are involved in the planning. Bardstown is a small Kentucky town that had 117 men - 105 of whom lived in Bardstown or its immediate vicinity, and who comprised Battery C, 138th Artillery of the Kentucky National Guard--called to active duty on April 11, 1968. Bardstown lost 17 men in the Vietnam War, including five at the Battle of Firebase Tomahawk.


HOSPITALIZED VETERANS 

Phoenix Chapter 726 Chaplain Ronald L. Varner and his wife, Robin Walker-Varner, created colorful Valentine's Day cards on their computer. After all 83 chapter members signed them, they were given to patients at the James A. Haley VAMC in Polk City, Florida. Included in the Valentine package were red, white, and blue wheelchair bumper stickers that proclaim “Vietnam Vet” and note pads. The nurses on the ward were thanked by the chapter for their dedicated service with a beautiful candy basket and balloons.


MEMORIALS  

Urged on by the Vermont State Council, the General Assembly of Vermont recently passed two resolutions commemorating the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, November 11, and the 20th anniversary and re-dedication of the Vermont Vietnam Veterans Memorial on October 26.


DONATIONS 

Texarkana, Texas, Chapter 278 donated $100 to the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico. Victor Westphall and his wife, Jeanne, built the memorial with their own funds and dedicated it on May 22, 1971, the third anniversary of the death of their son, USMC 1st Lt. Victor D. Westphall III. The U.S. Congress has recognized the chapel as a memorial of national significance. The memorial is funded by the Westphall Foundation and Victor Westphall's personal funds.  

Lewis B. Puller Jr. Incarcerated Chapter 645 at Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe, Ohio, donated a total of $5,500 to the American Red Cross's Disaster Relief Fund, the Ohio Veterans Home, the USO, and Franklinton Senior Services. The funds were accumulated through several of the chapter's fund-raising events.  

Quad Cities Chapter 299 in Rock Island, Illinois, made donations totaling nearly $31,000 in 2001. Among the 24 beneficiaries are: the Rock Island National Cemetery, Quad Cities Ballet Folklorico, Sons and Daughters In Touch, Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Wives Memorials, Bridge the Gap Homeless Stand Down, Child Abuse Council, and the East Moline Police Drug Book. 

Chapter 650 in Catonsville, Maryland, donated $250 to Sons and Daughters In Touch to help pay for a trip to Vietnam in 2003.  

Chapter 303 in Columbia, South Carolina, made a donation for the monument to the men we hated to love, drill sergeants. Chapter President Jim Chaffin and Region 3 Director Richard Labarre attended the dedication ceremony at Fort Jackson in which the chapter was presented with a miniature of the statue. It is engraved: “Dedicated to the Founding of the Army's First Drill Sergeant School and the First Class of Army Drill Sergeants. Fort Jackson, South Carolina, 1964.”


NEVER AGAIN WILL ONE GENERATION OF VETERANS ABANDON ANOTHER 

North Central Plains Chapter 374 in Mayville, North Dakota, conducted Operation Holidays and shipped 25 crates of goods to Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Afghanistan. The chapter received contributions from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Railroad Retirement Board, Sam's, and Toys R Us. Sen. Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy lent their support to the effort.  

The Anoka, Minnesota, Chapter 470 Honor Guard provided Final Honors for 130 veterans during 2001. 

West Shore Chapter 249 in Bay Village, Ohio, featured Maynard “Doc” Unger as guest speaker for the February chapter meeting. The former Army Air Corps Tech Sergeant with the 92nd Reconnaissance Squadron of the 381st Bomb Group spent 22 months in a WWII German POW camp. He also saw service in Korea and Vietnam. Unger retired as a Chief Master Sergeant.


IN SERVICE TO AMERICA 

Westbank Chapter 553 in Harvey, Louisiana, presented a POW/MIA flag to the city of Jean Lafitte to be flown at the Veterans Monument at City Hall. The chapter also gave a chapter ball cap to a New York City firefighter who saw service at Ground Zero on September 11. They met the firefighter in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. 

Yellow Freight Lines in Houston observed Veterans Day by recognizing its employees who are veterans. Paul Washington, a member of Houston Chapter 343 and a Yellow Freight employee, was the driving force behind the observance. He organized the event on behalf of the company. Twenty-seven veterans were presented with certificates during the ceremonies . Last year, Yellow Freight adopted a policy of flying the POW/MIA flag every day the American flag is flown.


ODDS 'N' ENDS

Steve Stremella, a member of Chapter 862 in Freedom, Pennsylvania, retired as Police Chief of the New Brighton Police Department after 25 years of service. 

Rock River Chapter 236 in Janesville, Wisconsin, donated phone cards for military personnel and homeless veterans. 

Chapter 101 in Wisconsin Rapids contributed $100 for framed prints for the Hall of Remembrance at the Tomah VAMC.  

Members of Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia buy packages of socks when they go shopping. The chapter collects and donates them to the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center. 

San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston announced that Douglas “Pete” Peterson has accepted the position of chair of the Vietnam Center's National Advisory Council. Peterson was the first postwar U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and was a POW in Hanoi for six years. The Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock is 12 years old. 

Hill Country Chapter 863 in Kerrville, Texas, held a Veterans Day Car Show at the South Texas Health Care System in Kerrville. Seventy-one entrants from 25 Texas cities participated in a show that included a parade and food and beverage booths. All proceeds went to the VAMC. 

Chapter 590 in Glenside, Pennsylvania, reminds us that the first military women to serve in Vietnam were nurses in 1956. Over the next 19 years, nearly 8,000 military women served in Vietnam, and eight were killed. 

South Jersey Chapter 825 in Mays Landing hosted the Atlantic County Special Services School District/Corbin City campus Easter Egg Hunt. The project serves 82 students and is funded in part by the chapter.


YEAR OF THE HORSE - TET 2002 

Redondo Beach, California, Chapter 53 members attended the Tet festival in the Little Saigon area of Westminster. They sampled the sights and sounds of Vietnam in the atmosphere of a country fair. President Jerry Yamamoto says the things he experienced made him feel for a moment as though he was outside of his world. 

Members of Connecticut Chapters 120 of Hartford, 251 of Milford, and 647 of West Haven attended Tet festivities at the Hartford Public Library. Accompanied by Vietnamese veterans, the Chapter 120 Color Guard presented the colors at a ceremony attended by Vietnamese community delegates from Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. Chapter 120 was presented with a plaque engraved, “In recognition and appreciation for years of your cooperation and dedicated support.” Each American and Vietnamese veteran was presented with a key fob engraved simply, “Thank You.”

   


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