Chapter 767 of Racine, Wisconsin, joined in the ceremony
welcoming home the body of U.S. Marine Corps PFC Thomas
Blackman, who had been listed as MIA in Iraq. His family
identified Blackman's remains. Mass was held at St.
Richard's Catholic Church and included the participation of
the church and children's choirs.
Arnold Dos Santos, past president of Oakland, California,
Chapter 400, recently was presented the U.S. Coast Guard
Public Service Commendation recognizing his contributions to
the community. Dos Santos was surrounded by members of his
chapter at the presentation which commended him "for his
extraordinary efforts to recognize and honor U.S. war
veterans." Dos Santos saw combat as a Marine Corps rifleman
while serving a 13-month tour in Vietnam. He joined Chapter
400 in 1985 and became involved in planning the annual
Memorial Day ceremony at Alameda's Veterans Memorial Park.
In 1996, Dos Santos approached a homeowners community group
and raised $56,000 from sponsors to fund improvements to the
Brian Mulcrone, president of Chapter 311 in Des Plaines,
Illinois, announced on July 18 the completion of a ten-month
project to rehabilitate, host, and re-dedicate the Lake Park
Memorial Pavilion at Lake Opeka. Erected with private funds
in 1975, the memorial has been the site of many activities
and ceremonies. Engraved on the interior are the names of
the war dead of Des Plaines from the Civil War through
Vietnam. Nearly $40,000 was raised to install poles for the
armed forces service flags, commemorative medallions for
each of the services, improved security lighting, and other
Stevie Anderson of Chapter 559 at the Grafton Correctional
Institution in Ohio has constructed a Veterans Memorial
Garden in the facility. Dedication ceremonies were held in
June. The prison chaplain delivered the invocation and
attendees included warden Carl Andersen. The memorial
includes the American flag, POW-MIA flag, VVA flag, and the
five service flags. The chapter also operates Operation
Greenhouse, which raises hundreds of ornamental plants for
the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio.
Oahu, Hawaii, Chapter 858 took part in Memorial Day
ceremonies at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
(Punchbowl) at Pu'owaina Crater. For the first time, AVVA
members Jane Maeda and Carol Lockett presented the wreath on
behalf of the chapter. The chapter also laid a wreath during
the Waialua Lions Club 58th annual Veterans Memorial
Service, a photo of which appeared on the front page of the
Hawaii Navy Star.
The Jefferson Township Bicentennial Committee is hosting the
Moving Vietnam Wall at the Snow Bowl in Jefferson Township,
New Jersey, September 21-29. The committee will have Vietnam
veterans speak to groups of school children and adults about
the Vietnam War. For additional information, contact Jack
Kelly at 973-697-5957, or e-mail
The Cannoneer of Fort
Sill, Oklahoma, recently ran a story about the presentation
of the Wall That Heals in Elmer Thomas Park in Lawton.
Hundreds turned out to touch the names of loved ones and to
pay respects to those who gave their lives in the Vietnam
Chapter 249 in
Cleveland hosted the Moving Wall at Cuyahoga Community
College. Chapter members Ron Covrett and Bill Hoag welcomed
the public and met with the families of local men
memorialized on The Wall. "It is our job as surviving
Vietnam veterans to help ease the pain for the families who
are still grieving after all these years," Covrett said.
Racine, Wisconsin, Chapter 767 is hosting the Moving Wall in
September and is raising funds to support the project.
GOLD STAR MOTHERS
Chapter 862 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, held a Memorial
Day Eve Gold Star Mothers Service for the families of the 73
local men killed in action in the Vietnam War. The program
featured singers, a poetry reading, and a candlelight
reading of the names of the dead.
SONS AND DAUGHTERS IN TOUCH
The Southern California chapter of Sons and Daughters In
Touch (SDIT) held its third annual SoCal Jamboree August 1
in Freedom Park in Westminster. SDIT members from outside
California joined in activities that included volleyball,
horseshoes, and hiking. Terry McGregor coordinated the
Miami-Dade County Chapter 121 in Florida recently raised the
spirits of veterans in the Miami VA Medical Center: The
chapter invited Miss Florida 2003, Shauna Pender, and Miss
Florida 2004, Jenna Edwards, to visit with patients in the
Spinal Cord Injury ward. Edwards had visited the ward when
she was Miss University of Miami and has become a veterans'
advocate. Chapter President Bruce McManus thanks Eppie
Ortiz, Joseph Jorge, and Eladio Rivera for their work in
making this wonderful event a reality.
VETS HELPING VETS
VVA opened an office in the Phoenix, Arizona, VARO in July.
It is the first VVA office in a VARO in Region 9. When told
by the administration that there was no space available,
Arizona State Council President Bill Messer negotiated with
other VSOs in the facility. VVA now shares space with the
American Ex-Prisoners of War.
Chapter 55 in Licking County, Ohio, has had two very
successful fund-raisers this year, with 95 percent of the
funds raised going to veterans, food baskets, scholarships,
and the like. In April, chapter members handed out American
flags in front of a local supermarket and raised over
$1,700. The annual Memorial Day Coffee Break at the rest
stop at the junction of Interstate 70 and Interstate 79
raised over $3,000.
RACE FOR THE CURE
Incarcerated Chapter 558 at the Southern Desert Correctional
Center in Indian Springs, Nevada, raised more than $6,500
for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Breast cancer survivor
Mimi Shimp, coordinator of the annual event that consists of
more than one hundred 5- kilometer races around the country,
said she was amazed at what the men had accomplished in
soliciting funds throughout the prison. "These men made
mistakes," Shimp said, " but they are doing something
positive and they deserve to be recognized for it."
A VETERAN IS A VETERAN IS A VETERAN
A contingent of Soviet veterans who fought in Afghanistan
visited the Washington area and met with Vietnam veterans to
discuss the needs and resources of all veterans. The group
is seeking information from American veterans on forming a
veterans' support group in Krygyzistan to serve veterans,
widows, and orphans.
Tracy Tuttle was the recipient of a $500 scholarship
presented to her by Chapter 810 in Chillicothe, Ohio. Making
the presentation were Rich Grubb, Region 4 Director and
Chapter President John Daubert.
VVA Chapter 688 in Union County, New Jersey, presented
several scholarships to local college students. Susan Carro
(Penn State University), Stacie Jeans (Moravian College),
Brian Kopnicki (The College of New Jersey), Karen McCourt
(Boston College), and Scott Moore (University of
Massachusetts) each received an award of $500.
Union County, New Jersey, Chapter 688 visited Scotch
Plains-Fanwood High School for the tenth consecutive year.
Chapter members Tom Cooney, John Ferry, Bob Kopnicki, Joe
McCourt, and Jim Pressman shared their Vietnam experiences
with 75 11th-grade history students in a combined program
with Millburn High School. Following the classroom
presentation, the students and veterans traveled to the New
Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Era Educational
Center in Holmdel where students placed roses at the
memorial's panels listing the names of 13 local men killed
in Vietnam. The memorial service concluded with a poetry
reading and the playing of "Taps."
ODDS 'N' ENDS
The United War Veterans Council of New York County,
producers of the New York City Veterans Day Parade, is proud
to be affiliated with the producers of an upcoming program,
"The History of Veterans Day," for the History Channel. The
program will be aired on the History Channel and distributed
by the U.S. Department of Education to schools throughout
the country. For information, call 212-693-0446 or e-mail
In 2000, Chapter 467 in Fort
Smith, Arkansas, obtained a surplus building on the old Fort
Chaffee military reservation. After 11 months and $15,000 of
improvements and donated equipment, the first meeting was
held there in April 2001. In June 2002, the chapter took
possession of an M106A2 Mortar Carrier. The carrier had
served in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division. In April of
this year, the chapter took delivery of an AH-1F Cobra
gunship, which saw duty both in Vietnam and the first
Persian Gulf War. Both are displayed at the chapter home.
Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 862 (
http://www.geocities.com/vva862/ ) recently completed a
Phone Card Drive. The chapter collected more than $6,000 and
hundreds of dollars worth of phone cards for injured troops
at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.
Region 9 Director Darroll Brown conducts a monthly
conference call with the state presidents in his region to
exchange ideas and solve problems.
The California State Council is developing strategies and
tactics to bring about the passage of California Assembly
Concurrent Resolution 171. The resolution calls on the
Governor to declare March 8, 2005, a day of honor for
Vietnam War veterans and to proclaim that the state fly its
flags at half-mast that day in honor of Vietnam veterans.
George DeLuca, a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran employed by
the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs, is planning a
Veterans Recognition program for November 17. For additional
information, contact DeLuca at 973-273-8051 or e-mail
VETS ON THE NET
John and Joyce Minor produce The Green Mountain Express,
the official publication of Chapter 601 in Bennington,
Vermont, which is available at
http://www.vvavtsc.com/aug60104.htm The chapter has an
ongoing involvement with the Bennington Battle Day Parade,
celebrated each August 16. During the Revolutionary War
Battle of Bennington, Brigadier General John Stark and his
American forces defeated two detachments of British General
John Burgoyne's invading army.
Gary Lillie reports from Ann Arbor, Michigan: "We're on the
air and back on the Internet." Veterans Radio can be heard
every Sunday from 7-8 p.m. in Ann Arbor on 1600 WAAM-AM Talk
Radio or on the internet at
For additional information, go to
John Cutler, editor of Greater
Hartford, Connecticut, Chapter 120 Connection,
reports the chapter newsletter is available at