A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

February 1999/March 1999

Membership Notes

A VVA Staff Report


A Memorial Tribute to Arthur Cohen is being planned to commemorate his years of service to family, community, and his fellow VVA members. Cohen served as president of Thomas P. Coughlin Memorial Chapter 72 in Brooklyn, New York, chapter delegate to the New York State Council, and product sales officer. More information can be obtained by contacting Duane Paulsen at 718-596-7244.

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 349 commemorates Veterans Day and the sacrifice of their comrades in Vietnam by holding a candlelight service on the evening of November 10 each year. "We do this on November 10 because with the time difference it's already Veterans Day in Vietnam,'' says Chapter President Dick Baine. The ceremony includes a reading of the names of the 125 Vietnam casualties from the county.

Chapter 470 in Anoka, Minnesota, dedicated a memorial to the U.S. Army 9th Infantry Division at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. "Old Reliables'' veterans Mike Clark and  Doug Johnson started raising funds for the project, and only seven months later the memorial joined other division memorials along Mallon Drive in the cemetery.


Northern Nevada Correctional Center Chapter 719 in Carson City held its annual food collection for Friends In Service Helping (FISH) and donated over 300 pounds of non-perishable food to the local charity. The food was distributed to needy families during the holiday season.

Las Vegas, Nevada, Chapter 17 joined with Northern Nevada Correctional Center Chapter 719 to donate $1,000 to the Eagle Valley Children's Home in Carson City. Chapter 719 Chaplain Robert Gonzales donated several pieces of hospital equipment in memory of his brother Lawrence Hernandez, a veteran of the Korean War and Honorary Chapter Associate.

Chapter 760 at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, in cooperation with Indian Nations United, Redtail Hawk Chapter II, donated $283 to the local DAV chapter to help fund food baskets for the needy during Christmas. The chapter also donated one hundred potted plants for distribution to patients in the Ann Arbor VAMC.

Rock Island, Illinois, Chapter 299 presented checks to local charities in excess of $7,000. Among those benefiting from the donations are the American Red Cross, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, First Day Fund, and D.A.R.E. programs in Rock Island and Moline. Also receiving funds were the Moline Fire Department Prom Night Program, John Lewis Coffee Shop, Abused Children's Foundation, Visiting Nurses, and Arrowhead Ranch.


Harford County, Maryland, Chapter 588 presented its eighth $500 scholarship to Harford Community College. The chapter also paid to have the water turned for a needy family and provided food and toys for five families at Christmas.

Central New Hampshire Chapter 41 in Concord presented scholarships totaling over $4,000.

Awards & Honors

Wisconsin State Council President John Margowski was a guest at the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony held by Chapter 737 at the Fox Lake, Wisconsin,  Correctional Institution. Other guests included Charles Piper of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and retired Army Col. Robert Garcia, staff adviser to the chapter and the education director of the Fox Lake Correctional Institution.

Larry Klein was awarded the first Barry S. Heimbender Memorial Vietnam Veteran of the Year honor by the New York State Council.

The actions of First Sergeant David H. McNerney, recipient of the Medal of Honor while assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, on March 22, 1967, were recognized at the fifth reunion of the company in Wichita.

Never Again Will One Generation Of Veterans Abandon Another

Washtenaw County, Michigan, Chapter 310 sent more than three hundred Christmas cards to troops overseas this year. Chapter member Gary Lillie produced the cards on his home computer. Each card contained an individual greeting from chapter members who folded cards, stuffed and licked envelopes, and pasted stamps at the December chapter meeting. The chapter also sends cards each year to the families of the seventy-five people memorialized on the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Gordon Strauss served on the USS Constellation in Vietnam 1969-1970 and always wanted to go back and visit the ship. When Strauss saw a television interview with a young sailor aboard the ship, he decided to make contact. Strauss, who serves as chaplain of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, Chapter 731, wrote to CWO2 Steve Pelon, the subject of the interview, and after much correspondence, Strauss received an invitation to tour the ship. Strauss and his wife Charlene met Pelon and his wife Marty in San Diego and received a ten- hour tour. He met the ship's captain, executive officer, and chaplain and told them about the activities of Chapter 731, including their support of Gold Star Mothers and families. The crew were so impressed they awarded Chapter 731 a Certificate of Appreciation, the only chapter so honored.

Santa Rosa, California, resident Mary Mapes Sarris learned December 18 that remains had been positively identified as those of her brother, Commander John C. Mapes. Mapes was a 40-year-old Navy aviator when he was shot down over North Vietnam thirty-two years ago. He will be interred in the San Francisco Bay area.


Chapter 161 in Concord, New Hampshire, continued its tradition of supporting the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign. Chapter members and other inmates at the New Hampshire State Prison produced more than 1,500 toys and gifts, which were distributed to needy children throughout the state by Marine Corps Reservists. Chapter 161 Toys for Tots Chairman Stephen "Suds'' Sadvari lead the effort, which collected $1,400 from inmates at the facility. The Marine Corps pitched in $2,000 and the program was a success. Planning has already begun for the 1999 campaign.

Summit County Chapter 34 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, is busy planning for the annual Super Kids Classic scheduled for June 12 at Derby Downs.

Chapter 272 in Greenville, North Carolina, collects old bicycles, which are cleaned up and given to needy children. For additional information, contact Chapter President Jerry Lee.

On The Road Again

Chapter 72 in Brooklyn, New York, has its annual bus trip to Washington, D.C., scheduled for May 22. More information can be obtained by contacting the chapter at 718- 596-7244.

Westchester County, New York, Chapter 49 is still moving. A while back the chapter helped a disabled member make arrangements for her move to Texas. Just recently the chapter played a key role in the transfer of an unused organ in the Pleasantville Community Synagogue to the San Andreas Episcopalian Church in Yonkers. The organ was taking up needed space in the synagogue when a chapter member suggested giving it to San Andreas, which had lost its organ in a fire fifteen years earlier.

Agent Orange Awareness

Sheila Winsett promoted awareness of Agent Orange and its effects in Jasper, Alabama, during Agent Orange Awareness Month last October. She was supported by VVA Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee Chair George Claxton, who attended the event with Kenny Deal, chair of the Environmental Hazards subcommittee. The event was covered on the front page of the local paper.

Keep Those Christmas Cards And Letters Comin'

"Christmas time brings out the child in us, no matter how old we are,'' said Fr. Vito, a counselor at the Brooklyn VA Hospital, during the annual Christmas Party hosted by Thomas P. Coughlin Memorial Chapter 72 in Brooklyn, New York. The chapter has adopted a ward at the hospital and for many years has been involved with hosting activities. This year Bob Matovick wore the Santa Claus suit and posed with patients who each received a Polaroid photo of the occasion.

San Jacinto Chapter 343, Ramsey One Affiliate in Rosharon, Texas, held a Christmas celebration, complete with decorations, refreshments, and gifts. One hundred veterans attended, as well as a large number of people from outside, including Chapter 343 President Wolf Biedenfeld and Steve Blumenthal, editor of Chapter 343's Warrior. Representatives from the Houston VA Hospital, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the Texas Inmate Family Association also were there. The Texas State Council was represented by Lynda Kahler- Greene and John Kahler.

Riverside, California, Chapter 47 had over one hundred people attend its annual Christmas party in December. Those in attendance were treated to turkey, ham, homemade tamales, salad, and desserts. Chapter 47 Chaplain John Paton suited up as Santa. The chapter also worked with the local Vet Center to provide holiday dinners to ten Vietnam veteran families.

Chapter 243 in Lee's Summit, Missouri, worked with the 24th Marine Reserve unit at the last home game of the Kansas City Chiefs in early December to collect toys and cash donations for the Toys for Tots drive. The chapter supplied its UH-1-D helicopter, which saw service in Vietnam with the 128th Assault Helicopter Company from November 1966 until May 1967.

They don't call them the "Tennesee Volunteers'' for nothing. Chapter 203 in Chattanooga, Tennesee, home of the NCAA football champion University of Tennessee Volunteers, held its annual "Toy Convoy'' and collected toys and gifts for over seventy-five children in the area.

Chapter 140 in New Hampton, New York, used its Christmas party to collect Christmas ornaments for distribution to veterans at the Castle Point facility. The party featured an American medley potluck banquet that included chapter members' favorite holiday dishes.

Odds & Ends

Chapter 75 in Leavenworth, Kansas, participated in the annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Leavenworth for the fifteenth consecutive year. Chapter Treasurer Thomas G. Rodriguez was chairman of the event. Rodriguez has also served as president, vice president, and secretary of the chapter.

Seventeen members of Fox Lake Correctional Institution Chapter 737 finished a PTSD group session, which completed a cycle in November. Staff counselors Tom Deits and Rich Wangard conduct the program.

Jerry Stadtmiller hosted and moderated a discussion following a screening of the documentary, Long Time Coming, which recorded the experiences of American and Vietnamese veterans as they participated in a 1,200-mile bicycle ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in January 1998. Stadtmiller joined Tour de France champion Greg LeMond for the journey, serving as LeMond's stoker. Nearly two hundred attended the presentation at the Shirley Theater at the University of San Diego.

Vets On The Net

Connect with Indianapolis, Indiana, Chapter 295 and get information about Firebase Indy (June 4-6, 1999) and an on-line bookstore. Reach the chapter at: http://members.iquest.net/~vva295/

San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston can be reached at: vva343@phoenix.net

E-mail us at feedback@vva.org

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