The AVVA Leadership Conference was
a huge success. I thank those who participated in all the
seminars. How wonderful it was to see old friends and meet new
people. It was a week to remember.
The seminars focused on training. Judy McCombs, the National
VAVS Representative, and Keith A. Butcher, Chief of Voluntary
Services, gave a wonderful seminar on the importance of our
organization getting involved with veterans in the VA
Hospitals. Sons and Daughters in Touch and many of the
veterans who went on the trip to Vietnam had a tremendous
discussion of their experiences and the closure they received
from the trip. They presented AVVA with a life membership in
their organization. The Finance Committee held a seminar
explaining important information for the newly established
State Associations about bank accounts and budgets. The rebate
issue also was discussed.
AVVA / VVA Project Friendship was a huge success this year.
The Shriners' Hospital received nearly $3,000 and a van full
of educational toys and clothing. Everyone's hearts were in
those boxes as well. I thank all of you for being so generous.
This year we visited the VA Hospital in St. Louis and had a
wonderful tour. Thank you, Judy McCombs, for getting us
involved in helping those veterans. Kathi Tauer's employer,
the Cary Medical Center, and Wal-Mart donated most of the
personal items. We felt like Santa's helpers at the St. Louis
The highlight of the week was the AVVA-sponsored premier of
Be Good, Smile Pretty. The film was shown several times
during the Convention and Leadership Conference. This movie
was by and about Tracy Droz Tragos, whose father was killed in
Vietnam. Tragos received the AVVA President's Excellence Award
in the Arts and a life membership in our organization. AVVA
has gotten involved with this movie and will be helping
chapters and states to have it shown on their local PBS
At this year's luncheon, we presented our President's Award to
Tom Corey, Linda Spoonster Schwartz, and Paul Sutton. Corey
has done a wonderful job in helping AVVA develop as an
organization. Schwartz has assisted AVVA with health issues,
and Sutton has helped with his knowledge on Agent Orange and
the homeless, as well as the Chapel of Four Chaplains. He has
become our grant writer. Also recognized for his excellent
work was Wes Guidry, VVA Convention Planner.
I want to end with a huge thank-you to all who volunteered
during the VVA Convention. I know VVA really appreciated all
that you did. If you have any questions or concerns, please do
not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.