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november/december 2008

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Members of Louisville, Kentucky, Kentuckiana Chapter 454 served their community in several events this summer. That included hosting the chapter’s monthly Movie and Popcorn Night on August 7 for patients at two wards of the Louisville VA Medical Center; and providing food, drinks, and birthday cake for veterans at the Louisville Vet Center on August 15. Chapter members Bob Keller, Dona Schicker, and Larry Westerfield took disabled residents of the Bashford East Nursing Home to the Kentucky State Fair on August 14.

Westchester County, New York, Chapter 49 members Jim LaManna, Al Zawiski, and Bob Miller collected twenty-five grocery carts full of food (about half a ton), along with $171 in cash on July 26 outside the White Plains Stop & Shop. The food and funds went to the Veterans Food Pantry at the VA Medical Center in Montrose, New York. The pantry gives out a week’s worth of groceries to dozens of needy veterans and their families each month. Chapter members also took part in the annual Town Hall Meeting sponsored by the Westchester County Service Agency in October. And the chapter is actively involved in a countywide coalition of groups working in favor of a proposal that would turn the Montrose facility into a “Veteran’s Village” that would provide a full range of medical care, housing, and other services to veterans and their families.

Northern Virginia Chapter 227 President Leonard Ignatowski and chapter member Bruce Waxman gave a talk July 29 on the Vietnam War to Rec-Pac, a camp run by the Fairfax County Park Authority that includes disabled children with autism, mental retardation, and muscular dystrophy. “The campers usually are very disobedient and do not listen to authority well,” said Leila Waxman, who works at the camp and arranged the talk.

“However, on this day, much to the surprise of the counselors, they were very attentive to the guest speakers. They stayed quiet the entire hour and asked many questions. They really enjoyed having Mr. Ignatowski and my father come in to share their experiences.”

Members of Philadelphia Chapter 590 go all out in their annual appearances at local Memorial Day and Independence Day Parades. At this year’s Fourth of July parade in Glenside Township, for example, the chapter contingent appeared in combat fatigues and camouflage makeup towing a decommissioned, 1960s-vintage helicopter behind a canvas-covered deuce and a half. As they passed in review in front of the judge’s stand, spectators rose from their curbside seats and gave them a long and loud ovation.

A slew of Quad Cities Chapter 299 members pitched in to help as the chapter moved all of its office equipment July 11 and 12 to the new facility in Rock Island, Illinois. Among those who did the heavy lifting and painting were Bill Albracht, Bob Albracht, Bobby Brooks, Gib DeCoster, Paul “Frenchy” Eaves, Mike Ellis, Harry Hansen, Ray Hamilton, Bobby McSparin, Joe Murphy, Bob Segura, Ron Staes, and the new landlord, Chapter 299 member Bob Jackson. The chapter also has a newly designed, user-friendly website created by Sean Murphy. Take a look at

The elaborate Appleton, Wisconsin, Chapter 351 float, which contains a slew of flags, a large representation of The Wall, the American flag, and the Three Servicemen statue, was a big hit at three recent parades. It won the “Most Patriotic Float” at the Appleton Flag Day parade and the Oshkosh Fourth of July Parade. It was the only veteran-themed float in the town’s Memorial Day Parade. The float is the result of many hours of hard work by Brian and Amy Jahn, Leon and Kristen Meidan, and Alan Jahn. The cost was underwritten by donations from Fat City Designs and by Brian and Amy Jahn. The chapter will use many parts of the float, including the centerpiece, with its traveling museum during presentations at area high schools.

Twenty members of Racine/Kenosha, Wisconsin, Chapter 767 attended the recent Wisconsin State Council Convention in Wausau. The chapter’s Military Funeral Honor Guard conducted the event’s opening and closing ceremonies. The chapter also provided the POW/MIA Remembrance Table and the Three Servicemen statue portrayal (by Bill May, Steve Klinkhammer, and Lamont Burks) at the Convention’s banquet. The Military Funeral Honor Guard attends all funerals of Vietnam veterans in the Racine/Kenosha area; the statue portrayal is part of many area veterans’ events and ceremonies.

Greater Hartford, Connecticut, Chapter 120 was well represented at the annual Connecticut Stand Down, which was held September 12 at the Connecticut Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. The annual event served the needs of more than a thousand veterans. Chapter members Paul Barry, Roger and Donna Anderson, Kathy Lechausse, John Seimer, Ron Pelletier, Fred Arnold, and Billee Culin were present to help out. Lechausse presented a check for $500 from the chapter to Connecticut State Veterans Commissioner Linda Schwartz, as did Connecticut State Council President Culin. The chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary on November 9.

Members of Mohave County, Arizona, Chapter 975 took part in Golden Valley Days October 3-4. David Lee Clark volunteered to run the dunk tank, which was donated to the chapter for fundraising. Chapter President Gene Crego was incarcerated in a “jail,” and had to be “bailed out.” Additionally, the chapter recently acquired an office to do veterans’ service work in the city of Golden Valley, an office that was donated by the city’s Water Department.

Sandpoint, Idaho, Chapter 890 co-sponsored the first Standpoint Veterans Stand Down July 12 at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. The event, co-sponsored by the Bonner County Veterans Service Office and the VA’s Homeless Veterans program, distributed more than $400,000 in military surplus and some $5,300 in food. The chapter plays an active role in community service endeavors, including helping with the local food bank and providing utilities, food, rent and mortgage payments, transportation, and construction projects to needy veterans and deployed active-duty families in the area.

Bergen County, New Jersey, Chapter 800 presented a $1,500 donation to the VA’s New Jersey Health Care System that was earmarked for trips to Washington, D.C., by PTSD patients to visit the Vietnam Veterans and other memorials in the nation’s capital. “The trips are therapeutic and important for the healing process of our veterans,” Kenneth H. Mizrach, the system’s director, said in his thank-you letter to the chapter. “Please be assured that your donation was appreciated and beneficial to those hospitalized veterans participating in these programs.”

Philadelphia Liberty Bell Chapter 266 was well represented at the 2008 Philadelphia Homeless Veterans Stand Down, which was held September 5-7 at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory. Members pitched in to help with the set-up and staging during the weekend, and the chapter’s Honor Guard/Color Guard took part in the closing ceremonies. Those who took part were Frank Beck, James Harris, William Montgomery, James Chappelle, Chuck Moffett, Tom Murtha, Del Stones, and Len Johnson.

The Honor Guard from the Mansfield, Ohio, Correctional Institution Chapter 616 presented the colors at Progressive Field in Cleveland (the home of the Indians) September 19 in honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The event included a presentation to the Indians by VVA National President John Rowan, Buckeye State Council President Tom Burke, and the Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Bill Hartnett, of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s proclamation announcing POW/MIA Recognition Day for the state of Ohio. Following the proclamation, Hartnett and Rowan placed baseballs on the pitcher’s mound for a silent first pitch symbolizing that America’s missing service members cannot throw out the first pitch themselves. This was the fourth consecutive year that the Cleveland Indians have held a VVA-supported POW/MIA Night.

Texarkana Area Chapter 278 in Texarkana, Texas, held its 21st annual POW/MIA Vigil August 29 and 30 at the local Korea and Vietnam Memorial. The vigil began with opening ceremonies, which included a candlelight ceremony the first night, as well as a POW meal, a Ride to Remember, and a balloon release on August 30.

Austin, Texas, Chapter 915 conducted ceremonies honoring Texas POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War on September 19, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, at the Texas State Cemetery. The ceremonies included the presentation of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, an invocation, the POW/MIA table ceremony, and a reading of the names of Texas POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War.

Members of Central Minnesota Chapter 290 in St. Cloud held the chapter’s annual 24-hour vigil on September 19 at the Central Minnesota Vietnam Memorial at Lake George in downtown St. Cloud. The vigil was the first held by the chapter at the new POW/MIA Walk of Honor in recognition of the 36 Minnesota servicemen still listed as missing in action from the Vietnam War.

Members Dan DeRose, Dan Jackson, Ted Rabens, and Al Rhodes of South Jersey Chapter 825 in Mays Landing, New Jersey, were among the many Color Guards front and center at the opening ceremonies of The Wall That Heals on July 17 in Wildwood, New Jersey.

New City, New York, Chapter 333 presented Ruth May Seberry Memorial Grants of $2,500 in August to returning Iraq war veterans Marine Sgt. Sean William DeBevoise and Army SFC Ronald Agard. The grants go to help returning veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in need of financial help. The chapter also presented four scholarships to college students: Diana Lea Von Ronn (University of Phoenix, $1,000), Gregory Lee Pelton (Manhattan College, $1,000), Andrew Jason Tschudy (SUNY Oneonta, $500), and Michael Paul DeLisi (Vanderbilt Univeristy, $500).

The winner of the annual Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, Chapter 101 scholarship to a graduating high school senior was Angelica Engel of Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids. She will be attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Sacramento Valley, California, Chapter 500 presented three $500 scholarships this year to students who wrote essays on the roles played by women in the Vietnam War. The recipients chosen by the Scholarship Committee (Ted Adams, Hank Davis, and Lorna Perrigo) were Michelle Schmidt, Lucio Tolentino, and Amy Quint. Schmidt, whose essay was judged the best, received an additional $100 and her essay was published in the chapter newsletter.

Redondo Beach, California, Chapter 53 awarded three $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors: Tom Sumner of Redondo High, Kendall Huberman of Mira Costa High, and Megan Cunningham. All three new college students read their award-winning essays at monthly chapter meetings.



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