IN SERVICE TO AMERICA
VVA Board Member Al Gibson,
a member of Chapter 393 in Jefferson City, Missouri, spoke
at the November 4 dedication and memorial service
ceremonies for the Vietnam Traveling Wall at the Welk
Resort in Branson, Missouri. The event kicked off a
week-long Veterans Homecoming commemoration in Branson.
The Color Guard from Branson, Missouri, Chapter 913
participated in the event, which featured the singing of
the National Anthem by the Lennon Sisters and “America the
Beautiful” by the Gatlin Brothers.
New York City Chapter 126,
as it has done since its inception, played a prominent
role in the city’s big 2005 Fifth Avenue Veterans Day
parade sponsored by the United War Veterans Council. The
chapter created a float that helped commemorate the 60th
anniversary of the end of World War II, the theme of the
event. “We also honored all veterans, particularly those
who are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said
Chapter President Joe Graham.
Anita Clark, AVVA
representative of Chapter 913, and her husband started a
program at Reeds Spring Intermediate School, in which
students wrote essays on the theme of honoring veterans.
Local businesses, including Silver Dollar City, IMAX
Theater, and the Veterans Museum donated prizes to the
winning essay writers. The plan is to expand the program
next year to all area schools.
The Sumner County,
Tennessee, Chapter 240 Color Guard Bruce Parr, Gary
Anderson, Tom Hall, Jerry Kimbro, Jim Richards, and
alternate Wayne Chumley presented the colors at the
Tennessee Titans-Tampa Bay Buccaneers pre-season NFL game
August 12 at the 67,000-seat Coliseum in Nashville.
Robert E. Wheelock Memorial
Chapter 327 in Stanhope, New Jersey, was honored with a
breakfast at the Sam’s Club in Mt. Olive November 10 as a
civic organization that has made a difference in the
community. Sam’s Club donated $250 to the chapter. Mt.
Olive’s mayor, who was in attendance, donated his $275 fee
to the chapter.
Two buses took 230 members
of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chapter 203 and their families
to the Nation’s Capital for the 2005 Veterans Day
ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On Veterans
Day the chapter Honor Guard back home presented the colors
at ceremonies at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
St. Paul, Minnesota,
Chapter 320 member Jimmie Lee Coulthard received the
annual David W. Preus Leadership Award October 10 from the
Luther Seminary in St. Paul. The award honors the
contributions to civic and religious life by the Rev. Dr.
David W. Preus, the former Bishop Emeritus of the Lutheran
Church who served as a paratrooper in World War II.
The award recognizes outstanding leadership that expresses
itself in service to others. Coulthard is the president
and CEO of the Minnesota Council for Veterans, which helps
veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming
homeless find transitional and permanent housing.
David Woods, Jett Bork,
Greg Paulline, Terry Berg, Mike Melroy, and Larry Axtell,
members of the Rock Island, Illinois, Chapter 299 Honor
Guard, along with Iowa State Council President Ed Gaudet,
took part in Veterans Day ceremonies at the rededication
of the Bettendorf Veterans Memorial. The 299 Honor Guard
then marched with the Bettendorf, Iowa, Gateway
Chapter 776 Honor Guard in the largest Veterans Day parade
in recent memory in nearby downtown Davenport, Iowa.
Porter County Chapter 905
in Portage, Indiana, co-hosted an early Christmas party
December 3 at the Indiana Veterans Home in Lafayette. Some
fifty residents of the home are chapter members. The
chapter also made a financial contribution to the home and
members donated clothing and food items. Chapter member
John Rilea took part in the November 6 ceremonies at the
Chesterton Vietnam Memorial Wall by ringing a bell each
time a name was read from a list of Indiana residents
still listed as MIA from the Vietnam War.
Members of Cumberland,
Maryland, Chapter 172 went to area schools on Veterans Day
to show the colors and to talk to students about veterans’
issues, the Vietnam War, and the meaning of Veterans Day.
Eight members spoke at Braddock Middle School, and honor
guards took part in ceremonies at Cash Valley School, the
John Humbird School, and the Washington Street Library.
Anniston, Alabama, Chapter
502 member Virgil Bright was honored with the Veteran of
the Year Award on Veterans Day in ceremonies in
Birmingham, Alabama. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Army Lt.
Gen. Russel L. Honore, the 1st Army Commanding General,
presented the award to Bright, a veterans service officer
and the chair of the Alabama State Council Veterans
St. Peters, Missouri,
Chapter 458 won its fifth People’s Choice Award at the
Missouri State Chili Cookoff in September. Team members,
led by Chapter President Sheldon Hartsfield, cooked 50
gallons of chili at the cookoff, which benefits the
National Kidney Foundation. The chapter also received an
award from the Kidney Foundation for being the No. 1
fund-raiser at the 2004 competition. The money came from
contributions solicited by chapter members from local
Roger Ware, a member of
Elkins, West Virginia, Chapter 812, served as an escort
for Gold Star Mother Alesia Jiminez of Belington, West
Virginia, at the Mountain State Forest Festival’s Grand
Feature Parade in October in Elkins. Her son, Marine Corps
Cpl. R.J. Jiminez, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Ware is
commandant of the Marine Corps League Detachment in
Members of Suffolk County,
New York, Chapter 11 have made several appearances at
local colleges and universities recently, speaking to
students about the Vietnam War. That included an October
visit to the State University of New York at Stoney Brook
as part of a program featuring author Tim O’Brien. The
former infantryman read passages from The Things They
Carried, after which chapter members discussed their
war experiences. In November, chapter members went to St.
Joseph’s College in Patchogue and to SUNY Farmingdale,
where they spoke to students.
Rushville, Indiana, Chapter
889 organized a donation during the holiday season to the
annual local Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys For Tots
campaign, which collects new unwrapped toys and
distributes them as Christmas gifts to needy children in
For the second consecutive
year, AVVA members of Lower Cape Fear Chapter 885 in
Wilmington, North Carolina, decorated a Christmas tree and
gave it to the Cape Fear Hospice Center as part of its
Festival of Trees display in the lobby of the Hilton
Hotel. The trees were then sold to local businesses, and
the funds went to the hospice.
Members of Liberty Bell
Chapter 266 in Philadelphia collected 37 boxes of food in
the chapter’s annual Thanksgiving food drive. Each box
included a $20 gift certificate for Acme or Thriftway
supermarkets. The donated food was used to help feed
veterans and needy families.
Westfield, New Jersery,
Chapter 688 sponsored a Halloween dance party in October
at the Kenilworth Veteran Center. Costumes were optional,
and prizes were given in different categories.
Members of New City, New
York, Chapter 333 joined forces with the Salvation Army to
prepare Thanksgiving meals for 165 needy members of the
community. Members collected food, peeled potatoes, helped
carve turkeys, and set up tables and chairs for the event.
In December chapter members played Santa to 146 needy
children at the Rainbow Connection Daycare Center in
Nanuet and the village of Haverstraw, working again with
the Salvation Army, as well as with the Rockland County
Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots chapter.
Chapter 111 held welcome-home celebrations for two
relatives of chapter members who returned home safely
after completing their tours of duty in Iraq. Honored were
U.S. Marine Mike Kunze, the nephew of chapter members Josh
and Betty Morin and Jim and Judy Frenette, and Army
National Guard member Sarah Kane, the granddaughter of
chapter member Bob Duffney and the niece of Larry White.
Several members of
Westchester County, New York, Chapter 49 spoke to cadets
at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in November.
Addressing the cadets on the topic of what makes a good
combat officer were Jim McCauley, Fred Hillmann, Ray
DelAssandro, and Dan Griffin.
Frank D’Alonzo, a
three-time past president of South Jersey Chapter 228 and
the former secretary of the New Jersey State Council, in
December received a presidential appointment to the
Selective Service System Board. He will serve an
indefinite term on the board, which is responsible for the
administration of the Selective Service System regulations
in times of war or national emergencies that would require
the re-institution of the military draft.
VVA welcomes its newest
chapter, Chapter 965 in Edgemere, Maryland. Chapter
President Ronald Parent received the official VVA charter
September 29 from Maryland State Council President Richard
Members of LZ Memphis
Chapter 875 in Memphis, Tennessee, including Chapter
President Ed Stutler, Chapter Secretary Gary Newport, and
Chapter Treasurer Bill Flanigan, made their annual
December visit to the Memphis VA Medical Center to bring
Christmas cheer to patients.
AVVA member Louise Schmidt
of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, Chapter 590 presented
cash and clothing last fall to the residents of the Mary
E. Walker House, a homeless women veterans transitional
program at the Coatesville VA Medical Center. The
donations came from the Pennsylvania AVVA Project
The Florida State Council
awarded three $500 scholarships to college students last
June in the Terry Kadysczewski Scholarship Program. The
recipients: John Gunter IV of Melbourne, Lacy Smith of
Dunedin, and Monica Cerro of Clearwater.
Gold Star Mother Helen Hill
and Leominster, Massachusetts, Chapter 116 presented seven
scholarships to college students who are sons and
daughters of chapter members at ceremonies held recently
at the Vietnam Memorial located at the town’s historic
Monument Square. The recipients, who were honored for
their commitment to their studies, the community, and
veterans were: Ashley Arpano, Nichole Lombard, Jocelyn
Pierce, Emily Joseph, Andrew Koral, James Salvi, and Sam
San Jancinto Chapter 343 in
Houston held its 16th annual Veterans Day Benefit Barbeque
in November at Bear Creek Park. Proceeds from the event,
which also includes musical entertainment, door prizes,
and a piñata for children, support the chapter’s Robert F.
Connally, Capt. USN, Ret. Scholarship Program.
Tonawanda, New York,
Chapter 77 awarded scholarships totaling $3,000 in
September to 12 Western New York high school seniors
through the chapter’s Peter P. Tycz II Memorial
Scholarship, which honors the memory of the U.S. Army
Special Forces SFC who died in the line of duty in
Afghanistan in 2002.
Texarkana, Texas, Chapter
278 held its 18th annual POW/MIA Vigil September 2 and 3
at the Korean/Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The vigil lasted
1,854 minutes (just under 31 hours), one minute for each
of 1,822 Americans still listed as missing from the
Vietnam War, for each of the 28 Americans whose names are
inscribed on the memorial who are unaccounted for from the
Korean War, and for the three Americans listed as missing
from the Persian Gulf War and the one American
unaccounted for in the current war in Iraq. Members
collected $740 in donations at the vigil for the Red Cross
to use for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
William R. Deloria, a
member of Escanaba, Michigan, Chapter 345, who suffers
from serious Agent-Orange-related disabilities, built a
96-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in his
backyard off Highway 41 in Stephenson, Michigan. Deloria
completed the project soon after the Memorial was
dedicated in Washington in 1982 and has plans to build a
large POW/MIA memorial in his backyard this summer.
Chicago/Northwest Suburban Chapter 311 and Chicago Chapter
242 and the Chapter Color Guard took part in the main
ceremonies on Veterans Day at the rededication of the
Chicago Vietnam Veterans Memorial along the Chicago River
on Wacker Drive between State Street and Wabash Avenue.
The new memorial replaces a smaller predecessor that was
dismantled in 2001 when Wacker Drive was widened. It
honors some 2,900 Illinois natives who died or remain
missing in the Vietnam War. The names of Medal of Honor
recipients from the state also are engraved on the
memorial, as are those who have died since the war from
their wounds and from Agent-Orange-related diseases.
In what has become a
holiday tradition, North Jersey Chapter 151 in Bayonne,
New Jersey, held its annual Christmas Eve candle-lighting
ceremony at the Bayonne Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The
ceremonies honored the 30 sons of Bayonne who perished in
the Vietnam War and whose names are engraved on the