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

February 2000/March 2000

Membership Notes

A VVA Staff Report


Thomas Moore Memorial Chapter 544 in Augusta, Georgia, has volunteered tohelp Chapter 828 in Barnwell when The Moving Wall visits in April. Accordingto Joyce Warren, who serves as chapter secretary and co-editor of the newsletter, "If we don'tsupport them, we shouldn't expect them to help us.''

Chapter 553 in Gretna, Louisiana, has built a miniature of the Vietnam VeteransMemorial bearing the names of the sons and daughters of Louisiana who gave their lives.  "Louisiana Reflections'' was first displayed at the Gretna Heritage Festival and includes a miniature of the Three Fighting Men statue and donated medals. Olden Ledet built the memorial with help from Leroy Smith and Randy Nichols.

Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia helped dedicate the War Memorial at Douglas High School. The stone honors veterans who died from the Kensington and Port Richmond areas. The chapter also donated $500 to help pay for the memorial.


The Ohio State Council recently named James T. Luoma of Chapter 418 Incarcerated Veteran of the Year.  

Chapter 726 in Polk City, Florida, held its annual Awards Banquet. Ronald Lynn Varner was recognized as Incarcerated Veteran of the Year, Michael McClure was honored as In-country Biannual Member of the Year. Associate of the Year was presented to Lenox S. Mitto; the Membership Award was given to Charles Hughes. Charles Dunn was recognized as Member of the Year.


Westchester County Chapter 49 in Pleasantville, New York, held its annual Valentine Party at Blythedale Children's Hospital. Chapter members provided refreshments for the children.

In 1998, members of Chapter 699 in the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge raised more than $1,800 for Toys for Tots. In 1999, chapter members and staff challenged themselves to do better and collected $2,542 for the project. They also donated $200 to Deer Lodge to help provide meals for the needy.

Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another

Chapter 691 in Merced, California, has been collecting goods for American forces in Bosnia. SFC Jeff Reed of B Btry 2/15 FAR stationed at Eagle Base in Bosnia sent an e-mail to the chapter thanking its members for their thoughtfulness. The unit mission is defense of the base camp in Bosnia, and soldiers are on the wire every day of the week with a day off every nine days. Reed said, "Thank you very much for all the items that you sent. The guys needed a little boost for morale during the holiday season.''

Western New York Chapter 77 in Grand Isle sent 165 gift packages to the 105th MP Company of Buffalo, now serving in Bosnia, and 150 gift bags to Camp Bondsteel  in Kosovo. Coordinating the project was Denner Astyk and family.

Northern Virginia Chapter 227 donated $1,000 to the World War II Memorial Fund.

Mary M. DeRose and Irene C. Bonfiglio made a special donation in memory of their brother, Petty Officer Electricians Mate 1st Class William J. Bonfiglio, who was killed  aboard the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Chapter 743 in Lompoc, California, added a full-color VVA logo to the signs welcoming people to Lompoc. The VVA logo joins those of Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis Clubs and other civic organizations.

Keep on VETROCKIN' In The Free World

The Florida State Council and the city of Clearwater will host VETROCK 2000 March 18. Nine hours of rock and roll will feature Blood, Sweat and Tears, Iron  Butterfly, and John Kay and Steppenwolf. Proceeds will benefit the Florida State Council and local charities. 

The Maryland State Council will host the event in July at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Lexington Park. Money raised from the all-day event featuring 12 groups will benefit two homeless veterans organizations and the Maryland Veterans Trust.

For a schedule of VETROCK 2000 concerts, check out the VVA web page at www.vva.org and click on the VETROCK 2000 link.


Linda Becker, newsletter editor for Chapter 769 in Vansville, Indiana, reports the chapter donated 30 new blankets to the local battered women's and children's shelter.

Reminding everyone that we once took an oath to defend our nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic, Chapter 260 at the Orient Correctional Institution in Columbus, Ohio, has placed hunger near the top of the list as a domestic enemy. In order to battle that enemy, members of the chapter, staff sponsors, and the administration of the facility, including Warden Alan J. Lazaroff, collected more than 2,000 nonperishable food items worth nearly $1,100 for the needy. Distribution of the food was coordinated by a local church.

Stand Downs/homeless

Riverside, California, Chapter 47 joined the Interagency Coalition as they held a one-day stand down at the Riverside National Guard Armory in February. Chapter members have a long history assisting with the event known as The Care Faire. 

Houston Chapter 343 collected nonperishable food, toiletries, and cash for Project AMIGO, a program run by the Texas Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA). The items were donated to the SAM Shelter in San Antonio, which provides 24-hour services for the homeless.

Tri-Cities Chapter 335 in Kennewick, Washington, has its stand-down calendarfull for the first few months of 2000. In February they helped out in Walla Walla; and in March, in Yakima. The chapter's own stand down comes at the end of April.

Hepatitis C

Philadelphia Chapter 266 joined with the American Liver Foundation, Schering Plough, and Albert Einstein Medical Center to sponsor free hepatitis C testing in January: 117 people showed up to take the test.

Odds N' Ends

Irish Tenor John McDermott entertained members of Hartford, Connecticut, Chapter 120 at their 13th annual Christmas Dinner Dance. McDermott sang songs from his album, Remembrance, which he has dedicated to the memories of those who served their countries in times of war.

Dianna Baraby and Michelle Kittell of Chapter 753 in St. Albans, Vermont, baked 28 dozen cookies for the residents of the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington. Marie Bushy volunteered to drive the 240-mile round trip to deliver the cookies to the home.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chapter 203 held its sixth annual Toy Convoy for Children who would otherwise not have a Merry Christmas. Board member Truman Christopher said, "The expressions and smiles on those kids' faces when the convoy pulled up in front of their homes made all the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.''

John Sean McGovern and Tyrone Adams represented New York Civil Service Employees

Chapter 823 at a reception hosted by the New York State Council in Albany on January 10.

The purpose of the reception was to talk to legislators and push for support of several pieces of veterans legislation.

Chapter 278 in Texarkana, Texas, runs a food pantry that was so successful that for a while food donations had to be turned down because storage facilities were overwhelmed.

The chapter is again accepting donations of nonperishable food.Pete Kontos of the Employment Development Department spoke at the January meeting of Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach, California. Kontos spoke about the VA work study program and other employment programs offered by EDD.

Rock River Chapter 236 in Janesville, Wisconsin, held its chapter bowling party in February.

Chapter 534 in Springfield, Illinois, is planning its Annual Vigil for May 5-7. The Vigil commemorates the sacrifice of Illinois veterans.

The Veterans Outreach Center in Rochester, New York, dedicated a new multi-resource center which provides one-stop-shopping for veterans. Services include benefits counselors, job counselors, small business assistance, mental health, and access to other agencies and programs.

Former national Board member and Chapter 20 member Tom Cray is the director of the VOC program.

Rhythm of the Saints Department

The football season is over, and Greater New Orleans Chapter 384 concluded another year of working the concessions at the Superdome. Allan Reynaud, Dave and Jane Yelton, Sandy Pitcox, and John Gundorff volunteered in the booth to help raise money for chapter projects.

Chapter 553 also operated a booth at the Superdome. Jack Woyonowski, Jim Breland, Butch, Linda and Jason Cheramie, and Leroy Smith joined with Olden Ledet, Dominic Gauthier, Cliff Hammack, Charlene Ellender, and Jim Barrios to handle the task. Special kudos go to Maureen Ledet, who decided to take a couple of games off after working every game for the past seven years.

Speaking of saints, Tri-State Appalachian Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland, which was named 1998 VVA Chapter of the Year, purchased a banner proclaiming, "We're Number One. Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter of the Year,'' to hang on the front of the chapter home and carry in parades. The chapter presented the banner to 1999 Chapter of the Year, Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The chapter hopes that each year the outgoing Chapter of the Year will present the banner to its successor. Chapter 172 pledges to bring the banner back to Cumberland soon.



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