OPERATION HOMETOWN BOUND
Members of Chapter 917 in Springfield, Virginia,
assembled ditty bags filled with toiletries and other
personal care items and gave them to returning wounded
servicemen and women at Andrews Air Force Base when they
arrived for treatment. Operation Hometown Bound began
when the chapter learned the Red Cross was overwhelmed by
the large influx of casualties from the war zones.
Unfortunately, in coverage in the previous issue, Chapter
917's project was incorrectly identified.
VOTE FOR AMERICA 2004
Buffalo, New York, Chapter 77 reports that at the
close of registration on October 8 in Erie County, 10,000
new voters registered to cast their ballots on November 2.
While the chapter is much too modest to claim responsibility
for the increase in the registrations, president Patrick
Welch says members of the chapter have been responsible for
placing VVA "Remember Me? Vote" posters in more than 50
county library branches, every post office and municipal
building, businesses, public gathering places, and at 90
high schools. "Do You Care? VOTE" buttons, pins, and
information sheets were distributed at every public event
the chapter took part in since early summer.
Members of Coos Bay, Oregon, Chapter 799 invited both
candidates for Oregon's Fourth Congressional District to a
face-to-face debate on the issues. Incumbent Peter DeFazio
faced former pilot and retired FBI Agent Jim Feldkamp.
Buckeye Lee Fisher reports the Ohio State Council,
under the able direction of Joe Jennings, has been
blanketing the state with "Vote For America 2004" material
since it became available and says he believes the effort
has been successful. "I don't think there are many people in
Ohio who haven't seen the 'Remember Me? Vote' posters,'' he
said. "Kim Brodenbeck has passed out a bunch of them. They
are in restaurants and post offices. That image is spread
all over the state."
The results of the 2004 election are history, but one thing
is certain: There were many more voters across the country
who were better informed about veteran-related issues than
ever before because of the work of VVA.
Florida VVA and AVVA members are still responding to the
effects of four hurricanes. Although many other volunteer
aid workers have left the state, VVA and AVVA continue to
provide help throughout the areas hit hardest. There has
been a surge of donations to the Florida State Council
Relief Fund. Tom Hall is coordinating the procurement of
necessary suppliestoilet paper, bug repellant, baby wipes,
pet food, to name a fewand the distribution to those in
greatest need. Donations can be sent to the Florida State
Council with a note: DISASTER RELIEF, 2209 Allwood Ave.,
Valrico, FL 33594.
Bruce McManus, president of Miami, Florida, Chapter 121
sent reports of disaster relief efforts by chapter members.
McManus and immediate past president Joseph Jorge delivered
clothes and other supplies to hurricane victims in Pahookee.
Best Civic Group honors were bestowed on the Robert E.
Wheelock Chapter 327 in Stanhope, New Jersey,
when they marched in the annual July 4th Parade in Sparta.
Region 3 Director Bruce Whitaker recently presented an award
to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) for her dedication and
commitment to veterans on behalf of the Maryland State
North Little Rock, Arkansas, Chapter 184 Vice
President Steve Short recently was honored by his peers for
his outstanding work for veterans. He was recognized as
Disabled Veteran of the Year by two VSOs.
Oregon State Council President Richard Gorby was
recognized with the top prize from the International
Association of Workforce Professionals for his "level of
service and commitment that exceeds the norm." Gorby has
established community partnerships, helped develop
memorials, and advocates for veterans on KBND NewsTalk 1110
AM radio. He also serves as editor of the Central Oregon
Ed Lampman of Orange, Texas, Chapter 348 tells us the
chapter took part in the Louisiana Home Front Celebration in
September in Leesville. The event was organized to honor men
and women in the armed forces and their families. Over
30,000 people assembled to hear Louisiana Gov. Kathleen
Blanco pay respect to those who have worn the uniform of the
armed forces of the United States. Chapter 348 presented its
Ronald E. Ray War Museum and joined for a day of fellowship
with recently returned Iraqi vets.
Rev. Clate W. Briggs, Jr., a nursing home minister in
Elizabethton, Tennessee, and a member of Chapter 824,
reports the story of 83-year-old WWII POW Paul Hedges, a
resident of the nursing home where Briggs works. Hedges who
was in very bad health, had asked for an American flag and a
POW/MIA flag for the head of his casket when his time came.
Jerry Campbell, president of Chapter 824, found out about
the request, and the wish was quickly fulfilled by the
chapter. On July 21, Mr. Hedges was presented with his two
Incarcerated Chapter 616 in Mansfield, Ohio, donated
$1,000 to the Richland County Red Cross. All proceeds will
be used to provide care packages for troops in Afghanistan
The World War II Memorial in Pasadena, California, is the
beneficiary of a recent cleanup and restoration effort
coordinated by Pasadena Chapter 446.
Chapter 616 in Mansfield, Ohio, spent time
working with psychology students at Ohio State
University-Mansfield. Eight junior and senior students
attended a recent meeting of the Midwestern Psychological
Association in Chicago where their work with inmates in the
chapter brought them a better understanding of
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. The chapter also raised the
POW/MIA flag over the institution under the direction of Joe
Jennings, Executive Director of the Ohio State Council.
Chapter 49 in Pleasantville, New York, awarded
$3,000 in scholarships to six students for 2004. Alison
Shumway received the Pete Lambert Memorial scholarship.
Aaron Martin was awarded the Peter T. MacCauley Scholarship.
Megan Anderson earned the Hamilton Fish Memorial
Scholarship. The Anthony Shine Memorial Scholarship and the
Jonathan Shine Memorial Scholarship went to Caitlin Kuennen-Breen
and Anthony Hosey respectively. The William Sudderth
Scholarship was presented to Dean Mozian.
Chapter 857 in New Philadelphia, Ohio, used
the proceeds from county employees who paid $2 each to be
able to wear jeans and tee-shirts to work on Fridays to
award $250 scholarships to Timothy Scott of Cadiz and
Matthew Stein of Sugarcreek. The balance of the scholarship
money came from community events the chapter took part in.
Baltimore, Chapter 451 sponsored the play Medal Of
Honor Rag, based on the true story of MOH recipient
Dwight Johnson. Johnson received his Medal of Honor from
President Johnson while assigned as a tank driver with
Company B, 1st Battalion, 69th Armor, 4th Infantry Division
near Dak To in Kontum Province on January 15, 1968.
Johnson's life ended tragically.
A page of the News From Michigan Veterans' Homes
Marquette and Grand Rapids featured a reproduction of
the cover of the January/February issue of The VVA
Veteran, the one with the hand tracing a name on The
Wall, and the caption, "We Can't Vote, You Can!"
ODDS 'N' ENDS
Chapter 686 in Moses Lake, Washington, had a
Welcome Home Veterans booth at the Grant County Fair.
Max E. Stewart of Las Vegas, Nevada, took it upon himself to
work with the management at the New York, New York Casino,
and now the POW/MIA flag snaps in the breeze below the
American flag in front of the casino.
In 1973, Tony Orlando recorded "Tie a Yellow Ribbon ('Round
the Old Oak Tree)." The song was No. 1 for a year and
inspired hope and homecoming, reunion and renewal at a time
when American POWs from Vietnam were returned to the United
States. The song has become a standard at patriotic
gatherings and festivals across the country and last year
commemorated its 30th anniversary. Gus Mimikos, a member of
North Jersey Chapter 151, is a first cousin of Tony
Orlando. At a concert at Lehigh University in Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, the two were reunited backstage. During the
concert, Orlando asked Vietnam veterans in the audience to
stand, at which point the audience responded with thunderous