Vietnam Veterans of America, the Nevada
Department of Corrections, and the Nevada State Prison
Administration have enjoyed a long and productive
collaboration. VVA Chapter 545 at the Nevada State Prison and
Chapter 719 at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center—both in
the state capital in Carson City—are well into their second
Slowly, both chapters
developed projects that mirrored their members’ interests,
that enhanced the spiritual and psychological development of
the inmates, and that gave to the communities within and
without the prisons’ walls.
The slow, careful, and
deliberate development of a truly astounding variety of
programs involved a huge amount of work—on the parts of the
incarcerated members, their sponsors, and the prison
administration and security personnel. Maybe, however, the
work involved paled in comparison to the amount of patience
and psychic labor required. (See coverage on
The fruits that have been
borne from this collaboration are not just feel-good window
dressing. These are programs that require real labor and that
yield real results. By using the vehicle of Vietnam Veterans
of America, these men are discovering and redefining personal
meaning and purpose.
During the 2005 National
Convention in Reno, I encourage you to give some thought to
what our brother veterans incarcerated are accomplishing just
25 miles south of Reno. I encourage you, too, to take time and
seek out Terry Hubert and Gary Meneley. Both of these men will
be at the Convention. Both have served as lightning rods for
these incarcerated chapters.
When I refer to Terry and
Gary as lightning rods, it’s an acknowledgment of the enormous
amount of energy both men have been gifted with. It’s also an
acknowledgment of the enormous amount of energy they give.
The Nevada VVA chapters,
however, are not alone in accomplishing remarkable things. In
the next issue, we will highlight the work being done by VVA
at the Mansfield Correctional Facility in Ohio.