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January/February 2010

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Leasing the Veterans Home | Universes in Wood | Warriors Remembered | President's Report | Letters | A Locator Success Story | Government Affairs | TAPS | Region 1 Report | Region 3 Report | Region 4 Report | Region 8 Report | Public Affairs Committee Report | The Faces of Agent Orange | Region 9 Report | Women Veterans Committee Report | PTSD/Substance Abuse Committee Report | Minority Affairs Committee Report | POW/MIA Affairs Committee Report | Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee Report | Veterans Healthcare Committee Report | Membership Affairs Committee Report | Veterans Benefits Committee Report | Veterans Support Foundation Report | Veterans Incarcerated Committee Report | Books In Review | Membership Notes | Locator | Reunions | Calendar

2010: Jan/Feb
2009: Jan/Feb | mar/apr
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2007: Jan/Feb | MAR/APR | MAY/JUNE | july/aug | SEPT/OCT | Nov/DeC
2006: July/Aug | SEPT/OCT | nov/dec

Meet, Greet, And Follow Up


I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and we look forward to a healthy and happy New Year.

Veterans Day was a little different this year. Mariann and I attended the breakfast at the White House, which was a change from the Bush years. They had the usual buffet, but everyone sat at tables in the West Room. NABVETS Washington Representative and VVA consultant Joe Wynn and his wife were at our table. Then President and Mrs. Obama came around to each table for a photo op (see photo, page 7).

We actually had a chance to chat with them, unlike the quickie photo ops we had with President Bush. Also, in the past, we never got to see Mrs. Bush. My wife was impressed that she got to see Beau, the Obama’s dog, who posed for a picture. When she told Mrs. Obama, she said, “That’s my boy.” The President and Mrs. Obama were very personable.

Vice President and Mrs. Biden also visited each table. Another first occurred later when the Bidens entertained veterans for lunch at the Vice President’s House at the Naval Observatory.

On December 15th, Government Affairs Executive Director Rick Weidman and I attended a Holiday Reception at the White House. This was the first time VVA had received an invitation to this event. About two hundred others joined us in a wonderful reception.

Apparently there are several of these held every year. The White House was beautifully decorated, with a large, ornate crèche in the West Room. The best part of these events is the people you meet, several of whom I intend to follow up with.


Benefits Director Dave Houppert and I traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, in early December to tour the VA Regional Office there. The VA is running a pilot project to determine if they can process claims more efficiently and effectively. The new system is reminiscent of the old way the VAROs did business with a group being responsible for a particular set of digits.

The key change was the placement of all individuals involved in the process in the same area within the office. This allows them to communicate very easily and they can keep each veteran’s claims file in the room. This may be a better way of doing business until—and perhaps even after—they go to a paperless system.


Former Pennsylvania Gov. and Vietnam veteran Thomas Ridge and Vietnam vet Lary Bloom are preparing to write a new book about Vietnam veterans who have made something of their lives. They want to counter the old image of doped-up, crazy Vietnam vets with some stories about Vietnam veterans who have made a difference.

We have provided them with the names of a group of famous Vietnam veterans. But they would like to identify veterans who may have lower profiles but are no less significant. If you know of a Vietnam veteran you believe is worthy of this kind of recognition, please contact Lary Bloom at

Candidates may include public servants who have achieved great success; entrepreneurs; professionals in various fields, such as doctors or social workers; or volunteers in the non-profit community. Please send Lary a biography on the individual, along with contact information: name, title, address, phone number, e-mail address, etc.


Recently, I sat down with some folks from Phoenix House, a non-profit organization that deals with narcotics addiction and alcohol abuse. They are interested in helping veterans, especially our new vets. If you have a Phoenix House program operating in your Chapter’s community, you might want to reach out to them. This is especially true if you are attempting to establish a veterans court program. We must begin to coordinate activities with like-minded agencies.



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