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Your eyes are not deceiving you. You are reading a new and improved The VVA Veteran. In order to accommodate our advertisers, we have gone to a new format. While this is more expensive, the increased revenue should make up the difference, and everyone will no longer have to worry about smudgy fingerprints. I want to thank Keith King, our Public Affairs Committee Chair, Editor Mokie Porter, Managing Editor Mike Keating, Art Director Xande Anderer of Citizen X Design, Marc Leepson, Fox Associates, and all others who made this possible.

It seems just like yesterday that we came out of Convention. As they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” While it has been a lot of work, it has been fun at times. It is Convention time again. As usual, delegates will be asked to consider constitutional amendments and resolutions and to elect officers and members of the Board of Directors. Please review the candidates’ statements, look at the proposed amendments and resolutions, and be prepared to make your decisions, remembering that the Convention is the ultimate authority in VVA. The officers look forward to seeing a full house in Springfield.

Meanwhile, we are continuing our work on Capitol Hill and out in the field. I’ve testified in the House and Senate, along with Rick Weidman and other members of our staff at every opportunity. We had a wonderful event in Washington, D.C., on April 25, honoring veterans in Congress. We had many of our friends in Congress stop by, both Democrats and Republicans, and we made some money. While VVA has an excellent relationship with the Democrats, who have assumed control of Congress, we will maintain our relationships with the minority party leaders.

On June 15, we will be involved in the Buffalo/Niagara to Baghdad concert at the Seneca Casino at Niagara Falls, New York. This is a follow-up to the successful Broadway to Baghdad event we held last year.

All of the officers have been traveling around to State Council and Regional meetings. We appreciate this opportunity to meet with the members and to listen to their concerns.

You may recall in past President’s Messages that I mentioned my outreach to the Free and Associated Masons. On May 7, I was given the opportunity to address the Grand Lodge of the State of New York at its annual Communication, which is like a convention, to discuss the potential for a working partnership to help veterans.
The Masonic Brotherhood has a long history of service to veterans. So I was not surprised when my proposal was enthusiastically received. They are providing me with space in their magazine to inform the veterans in their organization about health issues and their possible entitlement to compensation. This will be followed by the distribution of material to their members through their lodges across the state.

In addition, they are involved in many philanthropic projects, particularly for children, in which VVA may be able to participate, such as the Veterans Against Drugs program. There were several Grand Masters from other states at this event, and they were also interested in this initiative. Therefore, I urge you to make contact with the Masonic Lodges in your area, and let them know what is happening in New York. If this partnership is successful, I hope to replicate it with other fraternal, civic, and community organizations.

In the interim, I hope everyone has begun to make plans for the Parade celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Wall on November 10 in Washington. We can get you help with travel arrangements, whether for a couple, a chapter, or an entire organization. Go to and click on the 25th Anniversary link for more details. Meanwhile, I hope to see you all in Springfield.

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