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

October/November 2004
MEMBERSHIP NOTES
 


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.

HURRICANE DONATIONS

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 suppliestoilet paper, bug repellant, baby wipes, pet food, to name a fewand 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.

HONORS

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 Council.

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 Jobs newspaper.

NEVER AGAIN

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 flags.

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 and Iraq.

The World War II Memorial in Pasadena, California, is the beneficiary of a recent cleanup and restoration effort coordinated by Pasadena Chapter 446.

EDUCATION

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS

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.

MEMORIAL DAY

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.

IT'S INCREDIBLE

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 applause.


 

   

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