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

December 2002
MEMBERSHIP NOTES
   
 

 

A VVA STAFF REPORT


MEMORIALS

The 1,305 Virginians killed in Vietnam, and their comrades who survived, were honored when the Pocahontas Parkway bridge across the James River and Interstate 95 near Richmond was dedicated as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge. Sandston Chapter 78 hosted the event that was attended by members of Tidewater Chapter 48, Roanoke Chapter 81, Richmond Chapter 599, Gloucester Chapter 813, Blackstone Chapter 806, and Emporia Chapter 627. Virginia Sen. John Warner was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.  

On September 11, San Juan, Puerto Rico Chapter 59 gathered for a ceremony at the Memorial Monument to Victory and Fallen Soldiers at the Capital in San Juan. The service honored all who were killed in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, civilian and military alike, especially three Puerto Ricans: Jose Orlando Calderon, Diana Padro, and Sonia Morales-Popuolos. 

Tri-states Chapter 623 in Milford, Pennsylvania, hosted The Moving Wall in Matamoras in 1998. The chapter was so moved by the community support, it built a black marble monument to The Moving Wall at the Pike County Veterans Park and Information Center. The chapter raised all the funds for the monument and intends to continue adding elements recognizing World War II, Korea, and other conflicts.  

The Women Veterans Meditation Garden is a feature of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Education Center in Holmdel. The garden is dedicated to all women who served, regardless of branch. The garden is intended to promote thought, reflection, relaxation, and inner peace. For a photograph of the garden, go to http://www.njscvva.org/images/Womans_Garden_01.jpg

Chapter 838 in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, dedicated a memorial to Desert Storm veterans on Veterans Day. Chapter members also took part in a flag retirement ceremony with local Girls Scouts. 

CHILDREN 

Chapter 470 in Anoka, Minnesota continues to provide Child Identification Kits to the community. For additional information about how your chapter can get involved with this important community service, contact Chapter 470, P.O. Box 748, Anoka, MN 55303. 

Chapter 522 in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, sponsored the "Make A Difference" fishing tournament for special needs children. Alan and Gail Thompson, Dick Ammon, Bruce Witham, Mike and Susan O=Meara, and Mike and Rosalie Bousher joined Jim Methvin and Paul Sierra in assuring the success of the event. Prizes included computers and big screen televisions.

Chapter 466 in Graterford, Pennsylvania, joined the local NAACP chapter to host the Tenth Annual Round Robin Softball Tournament & Fundraiser. Proceeds benefit the Support for Kids with an Incarcerated Parent program. The project provides a safe place for children to discuss their feelings, with organized activities, and other essential emotional support for children between 8-12 years old who must deal with having an incarcerated parent. Additional information can be obtained by calling Naima Black at 215-564-4775, Extension 115, or by contacting the Pennsylvania Prison Society, 2000 Spring Garden Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19130. 

STAND DOWN 

The 2002 Philadelphia Stand Down for Homeless Veterans served 350 clients. Over 200 volunteers made sure all attendees were provided with first-class service. Providing material assistance and support were personnel from Willow Grove Naval Air Station, McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, and local Army Reservists. 

SCHOLARSHIPS 

Charles Philip Van Someren was the recipient of a scholarship presented by St. Croix Valley Chapter 331 in River Falls, Wisconsin. Chapter 101 in Wisconsin Rapids awarded a $500 scholarship to Ryan Stelzer. Chapter 767 in Racine presented two scholarships; John R. Koehler of Kenosha County and Jessica Wilton of Racine were the recipients. 

EDUCATION 

The senior class at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, conducted an educational lecture and discussion at the university on Veterans Day. The students listened to Clay Wilcher and Daniel Wolf describe their service in Vietnam. Wilcher, a U.S. Army veteran of the 1968 Tet Offensive, and Navy veteran Wolf are both parents of Seton Hill students. The students also held an on-campus clothing drive for veterans.

HONORS 

Bucktail Chapter 720 in St. Mary=s, Pennsylvania, was recently honored for 20,000 hours of volunteer service to the Elk-Cameron Counties Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Service After-hours Program. Chapter member Louie Mattivi received the plaque on behalf of the membership. 

Michael Crow, a member of Chapter 75 in Leavenworth, Kansas, was elected vice president of the Kansas Bar Association. Crow served in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry. 

HOSPITALIZED VETS

The 89 members of Phoenix Chapter 726 in Polk City, Louisiana, have been busy signing 700 holiday greetings cards for the patients at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital located in Tampa. AVVA Florida State Council Member of the Year Robyn Varner will deliver the cards to each hospitalized veteran and spend time chatting with each of them. The chapter also conducted a Veterans Day ceremony in the Polk City Correctional Institution that included the chapter Color Guard, ranked as the No. 1 Color Guard in the Florida State Council. 

DONATIONS 

Blue Gray Chapter 628 in Princeton, West Virginia, donated $500 to the Order of the Silver Rose. The project recognizes those who have lost their battle with Agent Orange-related diseases with the presentation of a Silver Rose plaque, acknowledging their service and sacrifice. 

Chapter 767 in Racine, Wisconsin,  raised over $5,000 for chapter activities and split the proceeds with the Southeastern Wisconsin Burn Camp. 

THE MOVING WALL 

Chapter 849 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, sponsored a presentation of The Moving Wall in Lions Park. Interactive information displays and several special ceremonies were held in conjunction with the event. 

Chapter 767 in Racine, Wisconsin, hosted The Moving Wall in Oconomowoc. The event included static displays of the Vietnam Women=s Memorial, the Three Fightingmen statue, and a POW-MIA Remembrance table.

NEVER AGAIN WILL ONE GENERATION OF VETERANS ABANDON ANOTHER 

Chapter 374 in Mayville, North Dakota, sent 2,500 pounds of food and small gifts to a Marine unit serving in Afghanistan as part of the chapter=s Operation Holiday project. 

Hal Henderson, a graduate of Bozeman, (Montana) High School, was killed in Vietnam on August 2, 1969. On Veterans Day 2002 members of Chapter 788 in Bozeman honored his life and memory at his alma mater. VVA and AVVA members took part in the event, the fourth year the chapter has conducted a service of remembrance honoring a southwest Montana resident killed in Vietnam.

Chapter 905 in Porter County, Indiana, hosted a Veterans Day Memorial Service that included a reading of names of POW-MIA=s by AVVA members, a wreath laying, and "Amazing Grace" performed by the Northwest Indiana Pipers. 

Chapter 803 in Elmira, New York, is justifiably proud of its color guard. During patriotic holidays such as Veterans Day, the unit typically presents the colors at six to eight different events. The color guard also participates in many funeral services for local.

Members of Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach, California, spent time with Col. David Hackworth at a book signing in Torrance. Kirk Gillett, Rody Lindhe, Jerry Taylor, chapter president Jerry Yamamoto, and Bill Manda were joined by Chris Meyers and California State Council President Dick Southern. 

Chapter 777 in Richmond, Indiana, distributed food baskets for the holidays, bringing cheer to many who otherwise wouldn=t have had a pleasant holiday. 

Chapter 680 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida,  sponsored a car show as a fundraiser. Raffles, a silent auction, giveaways, and rock and roll music provided something for everyone. 

Quabin Valley Chapter 405 in Ware, Massachusetts took part in the Mohawk pow  wow in Canada for the third year in a row. The chapter was invited by the Royal Canadian Legion Mohawk Branch 219 and was represented at the day of remembrance on November 9 by chapter junior vice president George Desotell and associate Stephen Bramford. 

Ralph Garcia, a member of Chapter 698 in Bluffton, Indiana recently attended the National Hispanic Leadership Summit in Washington. He joined 350 representatives from across the country to discuss policy issues with members of the administration and congress. 

Sumner County Tennessee Chapter 240 and Chattanooga Chapter 203 hosted the Tennessee Wall of Vietnam Veterans at the Rivergate Mall. The Wall lists the names of all Tennessee residents who lost their lives in Vietnam and the 42 Tennessee natives still listed as Missing In Action.

POW-MIA RECOGNITION DAY 

National POW-MIA Committee Chair Larry Klein and Glenfield, New York, Chapter 296 President Floyd J. Rivers attended POW-MIA Remembrance Day ceremonies at Fort Drum, home of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division. Chapter 296 worked with officials at Fort Drum and the elite Army division that has conducted POW-MIA ceremonies for several years. 

Savannah, Georgia, Chapter 671 presented a POW-MIA Day ceremony that included reading the names of the 35 Georgians still listed as Missing In Action. 

Members of Chapter 223 in Santa Rosa, California, represented VVA at POW-MIA Day ceremonies at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building. 

Maryland State Council POW-MIA Commitee Chair Rick Will was a speaker at the North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial during POW-MIA Day ceremonies. The memorial is located near a rest stop on Interstate 85 about 30 miles south of Greensboro, site of VVA=s Tenth National Convention in 2001. 

New York State Council POW-MIA Committee Chair Joe Kristek chaired the 17th Annual POW-MIA Day ceremony at the Tioga County Courthouse in Owego. The 24-hour vigil features a symbolic table for one, set with a red rose, slice of lemon, and an inverted glass. Local veterans= organizations stand watch over the table for the duration of the vigil. 

In July, Chapter 858 in Honolulu, Hawaii, presented the colors and paid respects to the remains of four Americans listed as Missing In Action in Laos and Vietnam as their remains were returned to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The chapter is on hand every time the remains of U.S. servicemen are returned to the Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii for identification.  

Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 862 recently dedicated a monument to POW-MIA=s in Crescent Township. The monument includes an 8-foot band of polished stainless steel bent in the shape of the familiar POW-MIA bracelet. The legend, "In Honor of All POW & MIA of All Wars -You Are Not Forgotten" in bas relief highlights the shrine. 

Roger Kelnhofer, POW-MIA Committee Chair for Chapter 101 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, organized a POW-MIA Remembrance ceremony before a high school football game in Nekoosa. The event featured a color guard and was broadcast on the local Public Access cable television channel.

 

   

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