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

September/October 2002
 
   
 

Membership Notes

A VVA STAFF REPORT 

HONORS 

Hartford, Connecticut Chapter 120 was presented with VVA Chapter of the Year Award at the Leadership Conference in Tucson. The chapter formed in 1983 and has been a pioneer in veterans' advocacy in the state.  

Steve Uchniat, President of Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia, was honored as "Catholic War Veterans, Philadelphia Chapter Man of the Year," during the organization's 57th annual meeting. Chapter 266 itself received the VVA Pennsylvania State Council 2002 Chapter of the Year Award. Additionally, chapter member Thomas C. Murtha was honored as 2002 Veteran of the Year. He was featured on a local television station as one of  Philadelphia's Unsung Patriotic Heroes. Murtha is chapter 2nd Vice President and Captain of the Color Guard.

Richmond, Indianana, Chapter 777 President Rick Stewart presented the burial flag of VVA Member Frank Arkenberg to his daughter, Mrs. Larry Carr. Arkenberg died in March, and chapter service coordinator Butch Mullen assisted Mrs. Carr with the VA details. 

Chapter 725 in Prairieville, Louisiana was presented with the Region 7 2002 Chapter of the Year honors. Jack Watson was recognized as Region 7 Veteran of the Year. 

FOR MILITARY MERIT 

Erica Fontana, a staff writer for the Jacksonville, Arkansas, Patriot, reports Vietnam veteran Kenneth "Mark" Harp finally received his Purple Heart Medal. It was presented by his father, retired Maj. Louis S. Harp, earlier this year. The younger Harp served with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, and with the First Cavalry Division, 2nd/32nd Field Artillery in Phu Loi, Vietnam. Last year he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer recognized by the VA as service connected due to Agent Orange exposure. 

BRIDGE BUILDING

Chapter 78 in Sandston, Virginia, successfully lobbied state government officials to name the new bridge that takes I-95 across the James River the  "Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge." The project to name the new span began in 1999 with the help of a state legislator. The bill finally wound its way through the legislative process. The dedication was held in September.

TO THE FUTURE

The U.S. Army Reserve Center in Augusta, Georgia was named in honor of Augusta native Roy W. Miller, the only member of the 319th Transportation Company (USAR) killed in Vietnam. The local unit was activated for Vietnam service from September 1968 to September 1969. 

IN SERVICE TO AMERICA 

Northeast Georgia Chapter 772 in Gainesville received the 2002 Volunteer of the Year Award presented by Keep Hall Beautiful (KHB), an affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful national organization. Chapter members helped with recycling projects, roadside cleanup parties, and renovation of property that has been neglected. KHB Director Marsha Fletcher said, "These guys know about pride, and they are still serving their community with that same pride today." The chapter also took part in Memorial Day ceremonies at the War Memorial at Rock Creek Park in Gainesville. 

MEMORIALS 

Freedom Chapter 430 in Philadelphia provided the Color Guard for the dedication of Philadelphia's Korean War Memorial. Jack Thomas, Mike McKinney, Ed Speller, Ron Kucinski, and Art Miller make up the unit.  

Anoka, Minnesota Chapter 470 hosted Memorial Day ceremonies at the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial in St. Paul for the ninth consecutive year.  

Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Chapter 862 coordinated the presentation of The Moving Wall with the dedication of the local POW/MIA Memorial. The new memorial includes the inscription, "In Memory of Those Who Served In Vietnam, And Those Who Remain Missing In Action." The most prominent feature of the design is an 8 foot steel POW/MIA bracelet.  

POW/MIA

After a two-and-a-half-year struggle, Oregon State Council President Judi Greig has reached an agreement with the City of Eugene to fly the POW/MIA Flag on six days each year. Greig originally asked the city to fly the flag every day. 

TRAVELING WALLS

Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas will become the permanent home for one of the three half-scale replicas of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, first created by John Devitt. The Moving Wall has been touring the country since 1984, and it will become part of the larger Veterans Memorial Amphitheatrt, a $1.2 million project at the university. For information and a slide show, go to:      http://www.psuvetmemorial.org/cost_timeline.html

The Vietnam Wall Experience was presented at Steamboat Landing on the waterfront in Belfast, Maine, in June. Ginny Sand-Roy, wife of two-tour Marine Bob Roy, reports that as they approached the replica they were greeted by a gentleman who, "walked up to Bob and shook his hand, thanking him for serving his country."  It was the first such experience for Bob, and it was a memorable one. 

Chapter 285 in Merrillville, Indiana presented The Vietnam Wall Experience in July. The event was covered in depth by the Lake County Post-Tribune, including several moving stories and photographs. 

SCHOLARSHIPS 

Northern Virginia Chapter 227 continued its tradition of awarding $1,000 to the Arlington County Public Schools HILT Summer School Program. The program helps disadvantaged immigrant students attend summer school and accelerate their cultural and educational adjustment. This is the 11th consecutive year the chapter has supported the program. One of the original recipients of the assistance is now a teacher in Arlington County and a Reserve Army officer. 

HOSPITALIZED VETS 

Springfield, Massachusetts, Chapter 866
donated seven recliner chairs with massage to the Leeds VAMC. The chairs will be utilized in the PTSD and orthopedics wards.  

DONATIONS 

Incarcerated Chapter 616 in Mansfield, Ohio sponsored a Photo Project, giving inmates an opportunity to have their photographs taken for a small fee. The chapter then matched the amount and donated $3,720 to the Mansfield Domestic Violence Shelter. 

Rochester, New York Chapter 20 donated $5,000 to the Stars & Stripes Flag Store in June, and AVVA members sold flags at the chapter thrift store. Stars & Stripes Flag Store is the only veteran-owned flag store in the area.

AVVA Life Member Kelly Gleason of Rochester, New York Chapter 20 recently donated 13 inches of her hair to Locks of Love. The Florida based non-profit provides real hair wigs for disadvantaged children undergoing chemotherapy. For more information contact Locks of Love at http://www.locksoflove.org or call 888-896-1588. Kelly joins other VVA and AVVA members across the country who have donated thier hair, including Kenny Holybee, of the California State Council

Paul Adkins of Chapter 47 in Riverside, California reports the chapter donated $5,000 for a POW/MIA Memorial at the Riverside National Cemetery. 

ODDS 'n' ENDS 

The New Jersey State Council has been active through the summer including Memorial Day ceremonies at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdale, Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day, and the Jewish War Veterans breakfast honoring Vietnam veterans. 

The Battleship New Jersey (BB-62) Memorial and Museum in Camden, New Jersey, is seeking volunteers to finish preparing the ship for public display. Some sections are open to the public, but much scraping and painting needs to be done to restore the ship to its fighting form. Volunteers are also needed to guide tours, educate the public, and chaperone and host social events. Contact the Office of Volunteer Affairs, 866-877-6262, ext. 224. 

Chapter 590 in Glenside, Pennsylvania participated in the "Touch-A-Truck" and car wash at Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington. The event benefits the school swim team. The hit of the event was the chapter's huey helicopter. Chapter President Tom Frieze and members Bruce Kooi, Stu and Bobbie Pennypacker, and Conrad Joe Gordon. They were joined by Ray Weston, Jerry Conway, and Gerald Swarm.  

Ralph Garcia reports that Chapter 698 in Bluffton, Indiana, has requested that new streets in the city be dedicated to local residents killed in Vietnam. The list includes Thomas W. Bishop, Carl T Barnett, William G. Ferguson, James C. Harris, David B. Platt, and  Dennis L. Cook. 

On September 1, Regina Moore of West Blocton, Alabama, began walking from her home to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Moore is carrying the  POW/MIA Flag, and the Agent Orange/Dioxin Flag to remind the American people about the legacies of the Vietnam War. Moore is a Vietnam veteran's widow. 

Anniston, Alabama, Chapter 502 praised the 2002 Alabama State Convention, remarking on the "great food, fellowship, and fun." Billy Joe Royal (" Down In The Boondocks") fame provided the entertainment for the event. 

Baltimore Chapter 451 member answered phones for the local PBS station pledge drive in August. Chapter Public Affairs Chair Richard Berkow was interviewed about Operation Remember, a project to gather photos and histories of each Marylander killed in Vietnam. For additional information about Operation Remember, go to http://www.serve.com/mdvva/memorial/mdnames/page22.htm.

Queens New York Chapter 32 member Dennis Graham is Director of Nursing for Advanced Practice, Education, and Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He reports on a new screening protocol for detecting lung cancer. The tests include a CAT scan, and are designed to diagnose the disease in its earliest stages. There are some restrictions. For additional information e-mail grahamd@mskcc.org.

Northern Virginia Chapter 227 commemorated its 17th  Anniversary with a presentation by chapter member Alan Wallace. For 12 months beginning in December 1967, Wallace served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman in the Naval Activity Support Station, Da Nang. In 1981, he became a federal firefighter and duty at The Pentagon heliport on September 11, 2001. The impact of the airplane into the building was only yards from the fire station, and destroyed the fire truck. Wallace and his fellow firemen rushed into the building and assisted employees evacuate. They suffered burns and other injuries in their selfless devotion to saving lives, In Service To America.

IN MEMORY 

Ruth Coder Fitzgerald, President of the Vietnam War In Memory Memorial, reports that the project has received a donation from the VVA Virginia State Council, and $7,500 from the state of Vermont, the first state to do so.The VVA Vermont State Council proposed a bill to the state legislature to authorize the gift. On July 3, a check was presented to the State Council. The check, in turn, was presented to the American Battelfield Monuments Commission, which has overall management of the project and site. VVA has supported the project since its origin. For additional information, go to www.vva.org.

   

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