BY A VVA STAFF REPORT
Director Allen Manuel recognized several region members during the
14th Louisiana State Convention in Kinder. Jack Watson was honored
as Veteran of the Year and presented the President's Award for his
untiring work on behalf of his fellow veterans and the community,
including spearheading the effort to bring the Moving Wall to
Ascension Parish in 1997 and 2001. Kenny Minville and Alex Canova,
president and vice president of Chapter 725 in
Prairieville, accepted the award for Chapter of the Year.
Darla Horner was recognized as Associate of the Year. She is the
wife of U.S. Navy veteran Paul Horner.
Fitzgibbon/McMahon Chapter 837 in
Massachusetts, presented its Award for Excellence to Dennis
O'Sullivan, a long-time nurse at the Bedford VA Medical Center.
O'Sullivan is the Program Director of the facility's PTSD and
Community Stabilization Program. Many veterans returned to thank
O'Sullivan for being there for them when they felt their lives
were not worth living. They said he saved their lives.
Paul Wellstone, who was killed in a tragic plane crash last year,
was honored by the Minnesota State Council at a memorial
celebration in October. Minnesota State Council President Jerry Kyser and former
Region 6 National Director Richard Bergling of Anoka
County Chapter 470 presented oak-framed burial flags to David
and Mark Wellstone in recognition of their father's
unwavering support for veterans. In 1995, Wellstone was honored as
VVA Legislator of the Year.
Florida, Chapter 787 shared the Florida State Council Chapter
of the Year with Panama City Chapter 826. This is the first
time the award was given to two chapters. Chapter 787 won the
award in 2000 for its community service activities, including
homeless projects and an educational outreach program that became
the model for the VVA National Educational Guidebook.
It took 38
years, but Ronald R. Choquette was awarded the Silver Star and
Bronze Star with "V" Device for his gallantry as a member of
Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne, in
Vietnam in 1965. After his platoon came under heavy machine gun
fire, Choquette, "began to advance on his stomach, with only
grenades. Upon reaching a position where he could throw the
grenades, while under intense enemy fire, he eliminated all the
machine gun nests."
decorations were presented by U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.).
1998, 75 extraordinary individuals led by Greg LeMond and Diana
Nyad participated in the Vietnam Challenge, a 1,200 mile bicycle
ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. American and Vietnamese
veterans rode side by side and overcame physical, emotional, and
geographical obstacles to heal the wounds of war. Among the riders
representing VVA was Jose G. Ramos of Whittier, California. Since
completing his ride, Ramos has continued the mission of healing.
He has secured Proclamations from the cities of Santa Fe and
Whittier, California, proclaiming January 27, 2003, Welcome Home
Vietnam Veterans Day. In May, Ramos and Duane Wagner will begin a
bike ride from Whittier to the White House to deliver letters
asking President Bush to declare a day in January Welcome Home
Vietnam Veterans Day. Ramos and Wagner need support and
encouragement. Contact them at
call 562-761-2681 or 562-693-8474.
WILL ONE GENERATION OF VETERANS ABANDON ANOTHER
Philadelphia Chapter 590, the
"First Pennsylvania Mobile Historical Unit," reminds Gulf War veterans that the VA has set
aside $20 million for additional research into Gulf War illnesses.
The chapter reports that the VA plans to create a special center
for medical imaging technologies to further study Gulf War
Knight, a member of the 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry, of the
Indiana National Guard, is posted in the Middle East. Ralph Garcia
and members of Chapter 698 in Bluffton, Indiana,
frequently eat at the restaurant where Knight's mother works and
decided to put together boxes of treats for Knight and his fellow
soldiers. Chapter 698 members are busy accumulating such things as
chewing gum, cookies, and Tabasco sauce.
Chapter 650 in
Catonsville, Maryland, has been busy. President
Will Schwartz reports that the chapter has adopted the VA Service
Center in Woodlawn and will supply it with coffee, sugar, milk,
and other items for the men and women who use the facility. Center
service officers have been covering these costs for years, and the
chapter decided it was time to help out.
color guard was asked to participate in the Hometown Boy Parade
honoring newly elected Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., in Arbutus.
The Maryland State Council has met with the Maryland state
legislature and helped create a Veterans Caucus among its members,
including VVA member Larry Kimmel, the newly appointed Deputy
Secretary of the Maryland Veterans Commission. The Maryland State
Council was represented by President Bruce Whitaker, Vice
President Jim Shot, Treasurer Frank Stacy, Secretary Carol Baker,
and Catonsville Chapter 650 members Will Schwartz, Avery
Taylor, Tom Insley, Houston Matley, and Rob Coughlin.
48 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is proud to be the only
non-religious organization to assist in serving evening meals to
the homeless and hungry at the local shelter.
Chapter 236 in Janesville, Wisconsin, received letters of
thanks for two scholarships. Meghan Ault thanked the chapter for
the scholarship award she received to attend the University of
Wisconsin at La Crosse. Angela Marie Grorud expressed her
gratitude for the scholarship that has allowed her to pursue her
studies in elementary education at the University of Wisconsin at
a member of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Chapter 310, is proud of
the chapter and its efforts to provide a Smashing Pumpkins
Halloween party for the patients at the Ann Arbor VA last October.
Chapter 310 was recognized as VVA National Chapter of the Year in
1999. The chapter's joy is tempered with sadness following the
recent death of Joe Rodriguez, a local Marine who helped raise the
American Flag on Iwo Jima in World War II.
Beach Chapter 48 celebrated Valentine's Day with a party at the
Hampton VA Medical Center. Chapter members passed out Valentine's
Day cards, candy, doughnuts, coffee, and fruit juices to patients
in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit and the psychiatric wards. The
chapter also conducts regular bingo games at the hospital.
an at-large member in Michigan, reports that on Memorial Day at
the Wildlife Prairie State Park in Peoria, Illinois, a tribute
will be held to honor dog handlers who served in Vietnam. The
ceremony will feature the dedication of a statue of a handler and
information can be obtained by contacting the Forest Park
Foundation at 309-688-6631.
772 in Gainesville, Georgia, took part in ceremonies
commemorating the 61st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor
in December. The chapter also erected a 20th Century War Memorial
in Rock Creek Park in Gainesville. The memorial acknowledges the
five major wars that the United States participated in during the
20th century: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the
Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War.
Valley, Wisconsin, Chapter 331 received two letters of thanks
for donations to local programs. The Pierce County Wisconsin
Department of Human Services praised the chapter for a $1,000
donation to the county food pantry in December. West Central
Wisconsin Community Action Agency thanked the chapter for its $100
donation to the local food program.
is looking for someone who can help him obtain his father's medals
and decorations. Larry James Calloway was killed in action on
September 25, 1966. He was born July 1, 1941, in Cincinnati. If
you can help, contact Peter at Pcbosco@aol.com
F. Lyons Memorial Chapter 822 in Marion, Ohio, has become
the only incarcerated chapter in Ohio to fly the POW/MIA flag.
Chapter members thanked Warden Gordon Lane, Deputy Warden Linda
Bond, Major Morris, and Staff Adviser Roberta Johnson-Bonner.
County Chapter 240 in Gallatin, Tennessee, braved the
heat, cold, rain, and wind to solicit contributions in front of
the local Wal-Mart store to fund a trip to the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial in Washington and to support local food and toy drives
during the holidays.
Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia is seeking donations of
socks to be distributed to the Philadelphia Multi-Service and
Educational Center. If you can help, contact the chapter at
California, Forming Chapter presented guest speaker Dan Hartman
from the Veterans Crisis Program. The local organization helps
homeless veterans with a variety of services and resources.
Wisconsin Chapter 101 in Wisconsin Rapids has designated
its Spring Monsoon Fund Raiser in April as a celebration of the
chapter's 20th anniversary.
California, Chapter 691 acknowledged the 83rd birthday of
member Frank Paredes and the 44th anniversary of his marriage to
Massachusetts Chapter One-Eleven in Springfield reports
that the VA will establish two National Multiple Sclerosis Centers
to provide high-quality care to veterans suffering from this
chronic neurological disease. One center will be established in
Baltimore, and another will be established jointly at the Portland
and Seattle VA Medical Centers.
Chapter 343 in Houston again will staff the concession
stand at Rice University Stadium during baseball season this
spring. Rice has been ranked as the No. 2 collegiate team in the
nation according to Baseball America and the National Collegiate
Baseball Writers Association.
State Council President John Rowan reports that the Catholic
War Veterans has launched a unique membership drive. With the
permission, cooperation, and support of local pastors, the CWV and
Auxiliary will stand outside churches after Mass on Sundays and
canvass for new members. For additional information contact John
In the last
issue, the sponsor of the Moving Wall in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin,
Chapter 635 in Oconomowoc was the sponsor and
Chapter 767 in Racine participated in the opening
ceremonies. We regret the error.