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

May/June 2004
Veterans Incarcerated Committee Report
 
 

Spotlight On Missouri

BY JOHN KOWPROWSKI, CHAIR

As committee chair I often hear from committee members and state council presidents about the activities going on in their states. So, I thought it would be a great idea to give them the opportunity to let everyone know about their chapters. Ron Adams from Missouri who has been involved with Veterans Incarcerated for over a decade is the first writer, with others to follow. --John Koprowski, Chair

By Ron Adams

We are very proud of our chapters in the Missouri prison system. These chapters are very different and unique, yet they flourish in environments that are very restrictive. They have overcome adversities involved in being incarcerated and have found ways to use their energies and resources in a positive manner to better themselves and neighboring communities.

Chapter 70 at Moberly, Missouri, has two honors that will never be matched. It was the very first VVA chapter to form in a prison and the first to have a state council president who was incarcerated at the time. This chapter helped form the Missouri State Council; it was at their instigation that the council was formed. The chapter's leaders and counsel are still a major influence in the state. Chapter members have built soap box derby cars for disabled children, conducted a substance-abuse program in the prison for many years, and run a pre-release, pre-employment program that has helped many former inmates readjust to society.

Chapter 393 at Jefferson City, Missouri, has quietly been working with the community for many years, making donations to youth programs. This chapter also has been responsible for creating excellent award plaques for organizations. The craftsmanship is beyond compare. Another program unique to this chapter is one in which members guard other inmates in the infirmary during exercise periods on the yard.

Chapter 833 in Bowlingreen, Missouri, is another incarcerated chapter that works tirelessly to improve the image of Vietnam veterans by supporting community programs and charitable activities. This chapter honored Jeani Wells, Region 6 Director for AVVA, by naming its chapter after her brother, Tommy Bill, who lost his life in Vietnam. The Tommy Bill Chapter has a donation program in which members let their hair grow long, then cut it, and donate it to make wigs for children being treated for cancer.

Chapter 848 at Cameron, Missouri, is the state's newest incarcerated chapter. It has distinguished itself by raising funds and purchasing a flag pole and flags for the institution. Members also have formed a color guard for flag ceremonies and chapter functions. The chapter's latest achievement was to build a shuffle board and donate it to the Missouri Veterans Home in Cameron.

These chapters have many other accomplishments. This is a testament to the fact that the incarcerated veteran in Missouri is active in VVA and is bringing honor to our organization.
 

   

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