The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

August 2002
MEMBERSHIP MATTERS
   
 

Membership And The Wall

BY BOB THOMSON, DIRECTOR, MEMBERSHIP AFFAIRS 

This November will mark the twentieth anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  As we reflect on meaning and importance of this historic milestone, we need to remember how important our membership is to the mission of Vietnam Veterans of America.  All of our accomplishments in health care and other veterans issues are built upon the strength of the membership.   

Our membership creates a coordinated, unified voice for veterans issues in many congressional districts across the nation.  Our membership allows VVA to field more than 400 service representatives nationwide, assisting some 5,000 veterans with their claims each year.  Our membership proudly carries the VVA banner in parades and ceremonies, honoring the service and sacrifices of Vietnam veterans.  VVA members frequently visit local schools to speak about their experiences, making sure that the lessons of history are passed on to the next generation. 

This twentieth anniversary year is a unique time to seek out new members and to bring back those who have left VVA.  Since January 2001, more than 9,000 members have not renewed.  Please contact me at bthomson@vva.org or at 800-882-1315, ext. 115, if you would like a listing of lapsed members in your state or chapter.  Many of these people would be happy to renew if a fellow veteran invited them to come back.  Whether reminding lapsed members to renew or asking prospective members to join for the first time, please be sure to remind them of the twentieth anniversary of The Wall.  This is a time when veterans can feel especially proud of their service and their contributions to the nation. 

As an incentive to recruit new members, we have established the M.E.R.I.T. Program (Membership Excellence Recruitment Initiative Team).  In every regular issue of The VVA Veteran for the next six months, we will recognize the top five recruiters for the preceding 60-day period. The top recruiter will receive a VVA life membership or products of equivalent value from Veterans Collectibles. To be eligible for consideration, recruiters must be VVA members in good standing  and must have recruited at least eight new members. These new members must be in a "paid" status, with their DD-214s on file at their chapter, or at the national office for new at-large members.  The first recruiting period is June 1 to August 31, 2002.   

The names of recruiters, along with a listing of the new members they have recruited, must be submitted (postmarked) by state council membership chairs not later than August 31 for this first recruiting period.  Program details were published in the April/May issue of The VVA Veteran.  Please contact me or Membership Committee Chair Bill Meeks with any questions.

We continue to enjoy steady growth in the number of VVA chapters.  The following chapters have been chartered since the beginning of the year:  Chapter 843 in Hinsdale, New Hampshire; Chapter 876 in Rexburg, Idaho; Chapter 878 in Grove, Oklahoma; and Chapter 889 in Rushville, Indiana.  Also, eight chapters are in the process of having their charters finalized: 891 in Wasilla, Alaska (our first chapter in that state); 894 in Canandaigua, New York; 898 in Victoria, Texas; 902 in Warner Robins, Georgia; 905 in Portage, Indiana; 907 in Gardner, Massachusetts; 908 in Lynn, Massachusetts; and 909 in Concord, North Carolina.  We are grateful to the many people at the chapter, state council, and regional levels who have worked so hard to expand VVA=s network of chapters.

   

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Vietnam Veterans of America  
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