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

July/August 2005
MEMBERSHIP NOTES
 


WELCOME HOME

Gainesville, Georgia, Chapter 772  member Mike Harden and No Longer Bound are sponsoring Ride 4 Recovery and Memorial Ride on September 10. The ride will benefit No Longer Bound, an adult male drug and alcohol center. For additional information, e-mail www.nolongerbound.com or call 770-886-7873.

Through the efforts of Frank Pecjak, the president of the West Virginia State Council, and his officers, as well as Mountain State Chapters 306, 812, and 949, West Virginia held a Welcome Home commemoration for Vietnam veterans at the West Virginia War Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol in Charleston on May 7.

Chapter 638 in St. Joseph, Missouri, held a grand opening for its new office and meeting hall on May 7. The facility is named after former Marine Galen F. Humphrey, a C-130 door gunner and St. Joseph native who was lost over the South China Sea in 1966. Among those in attendance were VVA Board Member Randy Barnes, a member of Kansas City Chapter 317.

Region 6 Director Steve House, North Dakota State Council President Dan Stenvold, and Minnesota State Council President Jerry Kyser took part in the opening ceremonies April 30 of the annual Vietnam Week at the Fargo Air Museum. The special exhibit features aircraft, helicopters, weapons, uniforms, photos, art work, and videos, as well as a memorial wall listing the names of the 1,465 service members from North and South Dakota and Minnesota killed in the Vietnam War.

IN SERVICE

Members of Chicago/Northwest Suburban Chapter 311 held their main fund-raising event, the Annual Flag Day Tag Sale, on July 1. Volunteers worked from seven in the morning throughout the entire day at key intersections in Des Plaines giving out small American flags in exchange for donations. The chapter recently donated funds to the grandson of a Chapter 209 member undergoing medical treatment and a young Des Plaines resident who will attend the People to People program in London.

Several members of West Tennessee Chapter 875 in Oakland were honored in May for their volunteer work at the Memphis VA Medical Center. Chapter president Ed Stutler received a 100-hour pin and past president Barry Ryan and Mark Lawrence received 300-hour pins.

On the second Sunday of every month, members of Chapter 82, Nassau County, New York, pay a visit to their brother and sister veterans at the Northport VA Medical Center. Members join patients in Bingo games, share coffee and donuts, and donate books and toiletry items. The visits are coordinated by Cherie Steers.

Topeka, Kansas, Chapter 604 delivered six truckloads of clothing and other items donated by local citizens to the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka in June. The effort was part of an all-day event designed to publicize VA patients’ needs. Members who took part included Chapter President Ron Zink, James Craig, Roger Beach, George Stewart, Roland Mayhew, and Steve Everett.

The mobile museum run by Appleton, Wisconsin, Chapter 351 has the distinction of being the largest non-profit collection of Vietnam War artifacts in the state. Chapter members regularly set up the display at area high schools and talk to students about what it was like to take part in the war. The chapter provides the museum at no cost to the schools and has made many return visits to schools. All of the weapons and ammunition in the exhibit have been rendered inoperative and cannot be restored to firing condition.

Paul Kobeluch of Chicago/Northwest Suburban Chapter 311 commanded a combined color guard, and Dick Klopp presented a chapter wreath at the Lake Park Memorial Pavilion May 30 in Memorial Day ceremonies that paid tribute to Marine Corporal Peter J. Giannopoulos of Des Plaines, who was killed in action in Iraq.

Members of Santa Rosa, California, Chapter 223 took part in several community service events in May, including their annual Human Race. The chapter color guard participated for the 20th time in the annual Rose Parade and Armed Forces Celebration on May 21, and was rewarded by winning the first-place trophy.

John P. Lavelle and four other members of the honor guard of Chapter 776 in Bettendorf, Iowa, marched in their city’s Fourth of July Parade. A large crowd greeted the VVA members with loud cheers.

Led by Tom Hoffman, membersof Chapter 731, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, working with students from Lincoln High School, placed American flags on the graves of veterans at four cemeteries on Memorial Day. Chapter members also took part in a Memorial Day parade, which began at Vietnam Veterans Park in Two Rivers.

Members of Westchester County, New York, Chapter 49 ran a Watch Fire at the VA Medical Center in Montrose on May 29. Then, on Memorial Day, a large chapter contingent marched in the Chappaqua parade. The chapter’s color guard participated in Flag Day ceremonies on June 10 sponsored by the Mamaroneck Elks. On June 10-11, the chapter held its biggest fund-raising event, the Fol-De-Rol, selling VVA pins, tee shirts, and other items.

SCHOLARSHIPS

For the 12th consecutive year, VVA’s Northern Virginia Chapter 227 in May awarded a $1,000 scholarship to the Arlington Public Schools Language Training summer school project. Nearly 300 students have benefited from the chapter’s financial support. The chapter also presented its ninth annual Vince Kaspar Awards for Excellence in the Arts to several deserving local secondary school students.

The James Michael Ray Chapter 818 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, has established the Raymond A. Mailloux, Jr., ’66 Scholarship at Mount St. Charles Academy. In May chapter members Michael Woods, the secretary; Joe Gamache, the vice president; Richard Guerin, the treasurer; and Rev. Philip Salois, VVA’s National Chaplain and the chapter president, along with family members, presented a $5,000 check to the academy as initial funding for the scholarship. It will be used to help current students attend the private Catholic high school. Mailloux, a member of the chapter, died in 2004.

In May, Tupelo, Mississippi, Ray Strength Chapter 842 presented its 2005 scholarships. The recipients were Christine Wilson of Shannon High School and Brett Lott from Saltillo High School; both will be joining the U.S. Marine Corps.  

MEMORIALS

Chapter 794 in Florissant Valley, Missouri, joined with the city of Bellefontaine Neighbors to host the May 20 dedication of a permanent black granite monument in the Remembrance Garden of the City Grounds to commemorate the visit to the city by the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall in May 2004. The monument was donated by Rosenbloom Monument of University City, Missouri, and the chapter contributed the funds for the inscription and foundation.

Gary Lester, the secretary, and Lenny Ho, the sergeant at arms, of Chapter 858 in Oahu, Hawaii, took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and the Honolulu Memorial, located in Puowaina Crater, an extinct volcano known locally as the Punchbowl, during Memorial Day Weekend. The events included a candlelight vigil for Vietnam veterans as well as a memorial service.

Branson/Hoillister, Missouri, Chapter 913 Life Member Thomas H. Goldsworthy is spearheading an effort to build a Yellow Ribbon Veterans Memorial Park in Branson. Goldsworthy serves on the board of directors of the Branson Veterans Task Force, which has supported the park for several years. For information, e-mail bransonvets@bransonveteranscenter.com

On May 30, Chapter 931 in Lufkin/Nacogdoches, Texas, held a Memorial Day ceremony at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse. The guest speaker was Retired Army Lt. Gen. Orren “Cotton” Whiddon, who commanded the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Artillery, 196th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam.

Manhattan, New York, Chapter 126 hosted a Welcome Home Remembrance March and Ceremony on May 6 at the Vietnam Veterans Plaza in lower Manhattan, the memorial that honors the 1,741 New York City residents killed in the Vietnam War.

Sacramento Valley, California, Chapter 500 held a Reading of the Names at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Sacramento on Memorial Day. Chapter members set up a VVA information booth for the event and supplied the readers. “Veterans past and present were honored and remembered,” Chapter President Ted Adams said. “Brothers and sisters came together to meet and talk. The healing process began in some cases and continued for others. Families came to be near the men and women who served with those on The Wall who paid the price for freedom.”


 

   

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