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may/june 2008

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In Service

Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chapter 203 displayed a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as part of its Vietnam War display on Presidents Day at the Northgate Mall. The replica Wall listed the names of the 1,291 Tennesseans who perished in the Vietnam War. “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” Chapter President Charlie Hobbs told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, echoing VVA’s Founding Principle. “Here we are, producing another generation of veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Philadelphia Liberty Bell Chapter 266 held its annual Easter Food Drive on March 15 at two local supermarkets: the Mayfair Shop-n-Bag and Pathmark. Members put together food baskets and delivered them the next day to needy families. More than a few employees of both businesses also participated in the chapter’s 2007 Christmas Food Drive.

Louisville, Kentucky, Kentuckiana Chapter 454 President Bob Keller and Chapter member Chet Needy attended a Tet Lunar New Year celebration sponsored by the local Vietnamese community at Iroquois High School on February 10. Also in attendance: U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky’s Third Congressional District.

San Diego, California, Chapter 472 has added an excellent feature to its web site: video welcoming messages from board members. The messages are heartfelt and professionally done and make great advertisements for the chapter and for VVA. See for yourself at http: //

Bob Barber of Peacedale, Rhode Island, Chapter 325 is stepping down as chapter president after twelve years. During that time the chapter has, among many other things, awarded high school scholarships each year, placed two benches at the Vietnam Memorial at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery, and made annual trips and donations to the Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol.

More than one hundred members and friends of Savannah, Georgia, Chapter 671 took part in the huge annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in that city, wearing shirts and badges with the names of those who did not come home from the war. The chapter members were greeted with sustained cheers from the enormous crowd of revelers lining the entire parade route. “You would not have believed how straight and tall the 50- and 60-year old Vietnam vets became” as they heard the crowd roar, said chapter member Bob Barry. “Shouts of ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Thank You’ rang out from the thousands who lined the route. The emotional sensation was both overwhelming and exhilarating and went on for miles.”

Leavenworth, Kansas, Chapter 344 adopted a family through the Leavenworth Assistance Center, a local emergency food program, for Christmas last year and donated $300 toward that effort. The chapter also organized a donation of used and outgrown clothes to the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth.
The executive board of Mansfield, Ohio, Correctional Institution Chapter 616 recently received a Letter of Recognition from Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to honor the Chapter’s community-service work and what the Chapter does to honor veterans and the military. Buckeye State Council President Tom Burke was on hand for the presentation.

Sacramento Valley, California, Chapter 500 tried to celebrate the dedication of its Veteran Outreach and Drop-In Center on March 30. The center, one of the chapter’s long-time goals, will serve all veterans in several areas: with compensation claims, employment, housing, homelessness, and services for the disabled. The center also will be a place for educational seminars for veterans and their families, a meeting place for Chapter members and other veterans, and the Chapter’s official office. The opening ceremonies did not take place because of a bureaucratic mess involving the city of Sacramento and building permits, but Chapter members are hopeful the situation will be resolved and that the center will be open in the near future.

Western New York Chapter 77 in Tonawanda continued its strong support for the patients at the Buffalo VA Medical Center in 2007. The Chapter donated more than $8,000 worth of food and gift cards during the holiday season.

Welcome Home to the newest VVA Chapter, 1006 in South Shore, Kentucky, which recently received its VVA Charter from Kentucky State Council President Darrell Martin.

Bill Bohuslaw and Len Ignatowski of Northern Virginia Chapter 227 recently delivered $300 worth of Burger King meal coupons and a shopping bag full of Girl Scout cookies to the Vet Center in Alexandria, Virginia, which is located near Fort Belvoir. The coupons will be distributed to needy veterans; the cookies will be used at group counseling sessions. Walt Chuda, the vice president of a group of local Burger Kings, contacted the chapter, offering to provide the coupons and a steep discount.

South Bay Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach, California, recently donated a total of $1,259 to the following organizations: Fresno Chapter 933 for its September Stand Down; Merced Chapter 691 for its upcoming Stand Down; the Employment Development Department’s South Avalon Office Career Day; and the California Benefits Fund. In March, Chapter members cleaned the Hermosa Beach Veterans Memorial, helped out at Bingo night at the Long Beach VA Medical Center, and participated in a meeting with the staff at the Green Hills Memorial Park to plan the opening ceremonies for the Moving Wall’s visit over Memorial Day weekend.

On February 12, Quad Cities Chapter 299 in Rock Island, Illinois, made its first quarterly visit of the year to the Iowa City, Iowa, VA Medical Center to visit hospitalized veterans. The trip was organized by Chapter member Paul “Frenchy” Eaves. He was accompanied by Chapter members Brent Cobb, Ron Staes, and Harry Hansen, along with Art Heyderman of Bettendorf, Iowa, Gateway Chapter 776. The group distributed fruit, valentines, energy bars, patriotic hats, and Chapter 299 pins to about twenty long-term patients. Through the first two months of the year the Chapter’s Charities Committee had donated $2,850 to local charitable organizations.

Plymouth/Canton, Michigan, Chapter 528 late last year donated $7,000 to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which supports the men and women of the armed forces and their families. The Fund’s newest mission is developing a project dedicated to supporting veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injury.

Council Bluffs, Iowa, Chapter 798 recently presented a check for $350 to the Iowa Cookie Crumbs, a non-profit women’s group that makes and sends boxes of homemade cookies and other items to our troops overseas. The contribution will cover postage for shipping more than a thousand cookies. The Iowa Cookie Crumbs shipped more than 62,000 cookies to the troops last year. They also send other snacks, magazines, playing cards, socks, and bootlaces in each shipment, along with a letter from the volunteer bakers. For more info, email

Members of Western Massachusetts Chapter One Eleven and their spouses put in many hours last November and December working for the Heroes at Home Project, which helps families of military personnel and veterans with home repairs and renovations. Chapter members manned a booth at the Holyoke Mall every weekend from Thanksgiving to New Year’s outside a Sears store (Sears spearheads the project) collecting funds.

During that time, the Chapter took in more than $5,000. Chapter member Josh Morin put the effort together, aided immeasurably by Barbara Kunze, wife of chapter member Chuck Kunze, and a Sears employee.

The members of Washtenaw County, Michigan, Chapter 310 voted at their March meeting to donate $500 to chapter member Don Behm, who has been traveling around the state at his own expense to meet with National Guard troops suffering from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries and their families and working with them to help get the support and counseling they deserve without repercussions from their employers or the Guard. The Chapter held its second annual Support Our Troops fundraising event on April 22 at the SideTrack restaurant in Ypsilanti.

A few days after Christmas, members of Rochester, New York,Chapter 20 gathered to assemble and ship gift boxes to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the end of the day, the chapter sent out 83 boxes in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service. Within weeks, letters of appreciation started pouring in. “I could definitely tell that the desires and needs of soldiers deployed are still fresh in [Chapter members’] minds with what was packed,” Capt. Charles Lewis, the XO of B/3-320th FA wrote. “The box was excellent and very well received by myself and the soldiers down here at Patrol Base Lutifiyah.”

Members of Beaver County Chapter 862 in Freedom, Pennsylvania, were on hand, along with the Chapter’s AVVA contingent, April 1 at Pittsburgh International Airport to welcome home Paul “P.J.” Gennaro, who was wounded in Iraq and had spent several months in a military hospital in Texas. Members “were there to meet him, shake hands and hugs, and to thank him for his service to America,” said Chapter President Skip Haswell. “This is just another reason why I love VVA and AVVA.”

Members of Genesee County, Michigan, Chapter 175 took part in a ceremony in March at the Central Elementary School in Mount Morris, Michigan, honoring Michelle Paquet, a teacher there who had worn the POW bracelet of USAF Capt. Edward Alan Brudno, who was shot down in Vietnam in 1965 and who died soon after his return to the United States. Chapter members carried in the colors and President Don Dale presented Paquet with a POW flag and a copy of the VVA’s book, The Wall. Also taking part in the ceremony were chapter members John Lovelady, Bill Eplett, Gary Amerling, Gary Huber, Jack Neely, Del and Don Webb, and John Freeman.


Kent County, Delaware, Chapter 850 is nearly finished building a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Dover. The memorial includes the VVA logo, our founding principle (“Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another”), VVA’s motto (“In Service to America”), a list of a dozen names of those who perished in the war, as well as the words: “Not all wounds are visible. In honor of the men and women who served during Vietnam and have returned home with broken bodies, minds, and spirits. May God have a special place in His heart for you.”



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