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march/april 2008

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Every December, Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 puts together and distributes holiday food baskets to needy families. Last year, a special treat accompanied the baskets: about a dozen lap robe quilts that were donated by the American Sewing Guild and the Gates Neighborhood Group. The cooperative effort began when the chapter’s Nancy Van Apeldoorn learned about the group’s charitable work and suggested that they make lap robes for the holiday basket program.

As a way of thanking the Cleveland Indians for hosting their third annual POW/MIA Remembrance Night, Buckeye State Council President Thomas Burke presented a Certificate of Appreciation in September to the Tribe’s Vice President of Public Relations Bob DiBiasio. Mansfield (Ohio) Correctional Institution Chapter 616 Staff Adviser Bill Homer also gave a plaque to the Indians and DiBiasio.

Many members of Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville, Kentucky, lent a hand at the October 25 Operation Stand-down sponsored by the Metro Louisville Coalition for the Homeless. Chapter members Bob Keller, Chet Needy, Terry Rupp, Judy Mitchell, Victoria Cole, Gary and Margaret Holmes, and Nat Price helped unload and distribute produce and clothing, among other activities.

Members of Chicago Chapter 242 visited patients at the Hines VA Medical Center’s Extended Care Center on December 15. The chapter presented holiday presents to the patients and organized activities including card games during the two-hour visit, which was organized by chapter member Steve Weber.

Queens, New York, Chapter 32 donated a large assortment of toys and games to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island during the Christmas season. For the second year in a row, a member of the New York City Council, Melinda Katz, joined chapter members, including Chapter President Pat Toro, Vice President Paul Narson, and member Paul Feddern.

Members of Porter County, Indiana, Chapter 905 made one of their regular visits to the Indiana Old Soldiers’ Home in West Lafayette in December. They were joined by the Fort Benjamin Harrison Army Band (replete with Santa hats) and students from Purdue University. The event, which was organized by chapter member David Guernsey, including a band concert, bingo games, and a pizza lunch.

During the month of December, members of Plymouth-Canton, Michigan, Chapter 528 rang bells for the Salvation Army, visited patients at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center, and made several school visits. That month the chapter also donated $500 to Angel’s Place, which provides housing for people with special needs; $250 to support Chapter 310’s Ann Arbor VA Hospital Christmas party; $175 to the Salvation Army to help feed the homeless; and $250 to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

Last year Pasadena, California, Chapter 446, in a joint effort with Soldiers’ Angels, gave ten laptop computers to Veterans Upward Bound, a U.S. Department of Education program that helps eligible U.S. military veterans refresh their academic skills so that they can successfully complete the postsecondary school of their choosing.

It was another big success in November for Northern Virginia Chapter 227’s DMZ to Delta Dance. The chapter recently distributed the proceeds: $1,000 to the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center; $100 worth of Metro bus tokens and meal coupons to the local Vet Center; $200 for the Memorial Day Writers Project tent rental; and a $250 grant to the Shriners Hospital for Children.

Members of Quad Cities Chapter 299 in Rock Island, Illinois, paid one of their quarterly visits to the Iowa City, Iowa, VA Medical Center September 24. They distributed cookies, fruit, chapter pins, and reading materials. Taking part in the trip were: Frenchy and Ann Eaves, Bob Segura, Ron Staes, Jerry Grooms, Harry Hansen, Brent Cobb, and Art Heyderman.

Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville, Kentucky, makes regular visits to the Bashford East Health Care Nursing Home and the local Vet Center. The chapter donated $125 to the Pike Street Clinic for the Homeless in November and $250 and clothing and toiletry items in December. The chapter also sent Christmas gifts to veteran patients at Bashford East and paid a visit to the Louisville VA Medical Center for “Popcorn Night.”

Tim Finnerty, Len Johnson, and Tom Murtha of Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia recently paid a visit to Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, where they held a two-hour discussion and question-and-answer session on the Vietnam War with students. “The questions were answered precisely and honestly,” Murtha said, “as young students can detect a lie right away.”

Every year Washtenaw County, Michigan, Chapter 310 sends special Christmas cards to family members of the men listed on the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial. At their November meeting, chapter members sit down and add handwritten notes to each card. This year the chapter received a note (and a donation) from Larry R. Taylor, the half-brother of Robert C. Piercy, who perished in Vietnam in February 1968, thanking the members for the card. “I will always have admiration and respect for our men and women in the military,” Taylor wrote.

Steve Crecy of South Bay Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach, California, organized a Veterans Day Candlelight Program at the Hermosa Beach Veterans Memorial. More than a hundred people attended. Chapter member Nick Nickelson delivered the Keynote Speech and Adele Borman sang the National Anthem. Chapter members brought fifty toys to the Chapter Holiday Party in December, and they were donated to the Beach Cities Toy Drive and Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program.

Bozeman, Montana, Chapter 788, working with the Wild West Shirt Company and Universal Athletics, and the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, purchased, sorted, and delivered toys and other Christmas presents to needy veterans and their families in Ennis, White Sulphur Springs, Livingston, and Bozeman during the holiday season.

Members of Texarkana Area Chapter 278 in Texarkana, Texas, had a very busy Veterans Day weekend. The chapter took home the second place trophy in the veterans organization category at the Texarkana Veterans Day Parade on November 10. After the parade, chapter members went to a local McDonald’s where they signed in veterans for a free meal, which was offered by the outlet’s owner. On November 12, chapter members Billy Walker, Bill Brockett, Raymond Burns, and Greg Beck were guest speakers at two local schools.

Former VVA National President Tom Corey delivered the keynote address on February 12 as Palm Beach County, Florida, Chapter 25 dedicated a 40-foot flagpole that it had donated to the Palm Beach Vet Center in Lake Worth. Corey mentioned Chapter 25’s efforts in the early 1980s to bring a Vet Center to Palm Beach County, which led to the opening of the much-needed facility in April of 1985. The dedication ceremonies also included remarks by Paul Russo, acting director of the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach, and local political leaders. The Lake Worth High School JROTC Program’s color guard raised the American and POW/MIA flags to the top of the flagpole to the cheers of a large crowd.

Central Wisconsin Chapter 101 in Wisconsin Rapids had a busy and fruitful November and December. The chapter Color Guard participated in Veterans Day ceremonies at several locations and at a Pearl Harbor Day commemoration in Wisconsin Rapids. In December, chapter members Tom Sachs and Don Schillinger collected non-perishable goods and donated $100 to the Wis Rapids Family Resource Center. The chapter also made $200 contributions to the Veterans Assistance Project at the King Veterans Home and the PTSD unit at the VA Medical Center in Omah, and $150 each to the local Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army, and the YMCA Youth Group.

Santa Rosa, California, Chapter 223 is working with the Veterans of Modern Warfare to form a local chapter in Santa Rosa. The chapter is making an effort to find veterans of the first Persian Gulf War and the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including active-duty personnel. On tap: a Welcome Home Barbeque for new veterans, families, and friends on May 4, cosponsored by the chapter and by VMW.

Owego, New York, Chapter 480 was instrumental in helping set up the first formation meeting for a local Veterans of Modern Warfare chapter in December. Jack Howey, the local county veterans representative, attended, gave advice on claims, and offered to help the group find a home for its chapter office. Chapter 480 has a link on its website,, for a downloadable VMW membership application and takes applications by mail. The second Owego VMW foundation meeting took place in January, and later that month the fledgling chapter sent its Charter Petition to the national VMW office. If accepted, the chapter would be the third chartered VMW chapter.

Members of Bordentown, New Jersey, Chapter 899 spend Monday and Wednesday evenings with U.S. Army troops at nearby Fort Dix, N.J., in one of several chapter programs that support our nation’s newest war veterans and their families. Twice a week chapter members bring food, soft drinks, and companionship to the troops. “Anything that helps these guys is something positive,” Chapter President Mike Engi told the Philadelphia Enquirer.

Norman Webb, the president of Gardner, Mass., Chapter 907, presented a $500 check to Mount Wachusett Community College in December. The chapter’s donation will support the college’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is open to full-time students who are honorably discharged veterans of any war, as well as members of the Reserves and National Guard.

Cape Coral, Florida, Chapter 594 was the driving force behind the Southwest Florida Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which was installed in January at a park on the Fort Myers side of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, also known as the Midpoint Memorial Bridge, which connects Fort Myers with Cape Coral over the Caloosahatchee River. The installation included a brick and concrete path leading to the memorial, along with three vertical walls with granite panels engraved with the names of Southwest Florida veterans who perished in Vietnam, and a bronze sculpture made up of boots, a rifle, and a helmet in the shape of a cross. The wall also contains an engraving of the VVA logo. The chapter’s efforts to build the memorial, which was formally dedicated on March 8, were led by chapter member Craig Tonjes.


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