The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress
AGAINST DRUGS TASK FORCE
Make A Difference
BY HERB WORTHINGTON, CHAIR
As Vietnam veterans, you try to
get involved in your communities and do the right thing. You
stand up for issues such as veterans' rights and health care.
You take pride in what you do and the community in which you
To all of you who have started VAD programs, the VAD National
Task Force and I want to thank you and urge you to keep up the
good work. We also want to take it a step further. Let all
members know what you are doing, no matter how big or how
small. Remember, you are making the effort to keep kids off
drugs and away from violence. We would like to feature you and
your VAD program in this column. E-mail me or send photos and
a short description of your program and how you got started.
Let our brothers and sisters out there know how to do it. The
VAD programs are as diverse as our membership and as complete
as their sincerity. We are growing, and this is our time to
prove we can and will make a difference in our society.
In your communities there are people who want to help but
don't know where to turn. Help them out. Your help is needed,
whether by a mother who lost a child to a gang-related crime
or by the eight-year-olds who need to know why they should
stay away from drugs.
We are planning a display at the
Nashville Leadership Conference and hope to hear more success
stories from chapters.
I want to apologize to our incarcerated veterans who wanted
more information on the VAD program. I was under the
impression that they wanted to get something started like the
Scared Straight Program that was successful in New Jersey.
Much to my surprise and delight, I found they want to use the
program guides in a multiple-step program similar to
Alcoholics Anonymous. The lessons in the advanced guide are
based on VVA's core values, which are similar to the core
values of the U.S. Army. This was pointed out to me by retired
SMaj. B. Guerrero, who now heads up the program in San
Antonio. We would be delighted to have the VAD program help
out incarcerated veterans across the country. Contact me
through the VVA national office, and I will forward the guide
or lesson plan to you.
For those of you who are looking for a community-based project
that can make a difference, this is the one. If you think that
you live in the suburbs or an influential neighborhood and not
in the city and therefore are immune to the problems
associated with drugs and violence, you are fooling yourself.
Drugs and gangs are everywhere.
Do we think we can save every child from the craziness of
getting hurt or hooked on drugs? No. But we must take the war
on drugs and violence as seriously as any military encounter.
We approach it with a one-day-at-a-time and one
child-at-a-time attitude. Eventually, little by little, things
will get better. By joining forces with other community groups
and forging ahead, you and your group can make a difference in
your neighborhood. Remember: Your neighborhood did not change
overnight, and it will not change for the good that fast
either. Make a resolution in 2004 to join the fight against
drugs and violence. You will be glad you did.
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E-mail us at TheVeteran@vva.org