June 2000/July 2000
A VVA Staff Report
Valley Forge Chapter 349 placed flags on some 400 graves at the
Montgomery Cemetery for Memorial Day observances. The cemetery features a
Veterans Memorial Garden, with roses in full bloom for the holiday.
Chapter 82 in Hicksville, New York, also placed flags at graves for
Memorial Day ceremonies. Chapter members gathered early on May 27 to
decorate the graves at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.
The Department of Defense has certified Texarkana Area Chapter 278
in Texarkana, Texas, as a "Korean War Commemorative
Community." The chapter has established a committee to plan events
for the next three years. The observations began on May 29 when the
chapter hosted a 50th Anniversary Salute to Korean Veterans.
Chapter 355 in Canyon Country, California, sponsored Jerry Miller,
Jr., to attend the Sons and Daughters In Touch Fatherís Day 2000
celebration at The Wall. Miller is the son of U.S. Army Cpl. Jerry
Miller who was killed on April 7, 1967, near Tay Ninh while assigned to
the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Chapter 502 in Anniston, Alabama, completed construction of
memorials to WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War. The
black granite memorial is engraved with the names of over 10,000 Alabama
In May, Chapter 802 in Passaic County, New Jersey, took
part in dedication ceremonies for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders of Passaic County redesignated a section
of the Hamburg Turnpike in honor of those who served.
Riverside, California, Chapter 47 dedicated a statue at the
Riverside National Cemetery in late May. The statue, created by Colorado
sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg, mounted atop a 13-foot pedestal depicts a
dead soldier whose face is covered with a tarpaulin.
Mark Noyes and Dave Holly of Robert E. Wheelock Chapter 327 in Stanhope,
New Jersey, presented a program on the Vietnam experience to four
classes at Hopatcong High School. The students and faculty enjoyed the
presentation so much, they have invited Noyes and Holly back next year.
Chapter 787 in Valrico, Florida, held "Education Days" in
conjunction with a presentation of The Moving Wall in Tampa. During
three-and-a-half days, seven local schools sent some 600 students from
pre-school through 12th grade for guided tours of The Wall and a mock
firebase built by the chapter. Some students returned later in the evening
with family and friends. The chapter hopes to double the number of schools
and students taking part next year.
Chapter 303 in Columbia, South Carolina has set up a display
at the Dorn VAMC honoring Vietnam veterans. Alta Milling and Paul Ruh, who
worked on the display, were recognized for their efforts with awards
presented by Medal of Honor recipients John Baker (Vietnam) and Charles P.
Murray (WWII). Alta Milling also accepted an award for Frank Weick, who
developed the display.
The New York State Senate Woman of Distinction award was presented
posthumously to Captain Priscilla "Chris" Ramirez-Lynch of
Middletown, New York. Chris served in Vietnam in 1967-68 at the 36th Evac
Hospital in Vung Tau and the 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang as a surgical
nurse. She passed away in August 1999 from cancer. She was a founding
member of Chapter 140 in Middletown, New York. The award was
accepted by her husband, Art, also a Vietnam veteran, and sons Art and
Vietnam veteran and journalist Eck Spahich was recently awarded the
Republic of Croatia Pleter Medal. The award was presented by the Croatian
Ambassador Dr. Miomir Zuzul during the Slavic Heritage Festival at the
University of Houston. Spahich grew up in Tuzla, Bosnia. He emigrated to
the United States in 1960 and served as a combat correspondent with the
173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star and
Distinguished Service Medal. Spahich has been an outspoken advocate for
human rights. He serves as vice president of Chapter 404 and lives
in Borger-Fritch, Texas.
Allenhurst, New Jersey, Chapter 12, is proud to announce that
three chapter members will be honored at the Chapel of Four Chaplains in
Cape May, New Jersey. Don McNamara, Jim Campbell, and Maureen Monahan will
be recognized during ceremonies in September.
Dave and Jane Yelton walked away from the Greater New Orleans
Chapter 384 with double honors recently. Dave was named Pointman of
the Year and wife, Jane, was chosen AVVA Member of the Year.
Dennis Wells, a member of Chapter 691 in Merced, California,
has been appointed to the Governors Commission on Veterans Homes by
Vietnam veteran governor Gray Davis.
Big Sky Chapter 334 in Billings, Montana, and members of
AVVA awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Jillene Casey. Casey won the award
because of her community service, scholastic achievement, and her essay on
the 1968 Tet Offensive. Jillene is the daughter of Dennis and Mary Casey.
She will be attending the University of Portland in the fall as a pre-med
Chapter 414 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, donated $1,500 to the
Waukesha Food Pantry, $500 to the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and $200 to
a local needy veteran. The chapter also donated $250 to the North Carolina
State Council to help hurricane victims.
Major James A. Crew Chapter 359 at the State Correctional
Institution in Cresson, Pennsylvania and Laurel Highlands
Chapter 364 combined their efforts and raised over $1,500 for Cambria
County Special Olympics. This is the third year the chapters have worked
together for Special Olympics. The money is raised by selling artwork by
At the Battle Creek, Michigan, VAMC, Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor
recently donated $100 to be used to take patients outside the facility for
meals at local restaurants.
In April, Incarcerated Chapter 692 in Kincheloe, Michigan, held
a clothing drive. Seventeen fifty-five gallon bags were collected and
given to Chapter 274 in Cheboygan, Michigan.
25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF THE VIETNAM WAR
The City of Philadelphia passed a resolution April 13 commemorating the
25th anniversary. Chapter 266 sponsored the resolution, which was
introduced by 7th District Councilman Richard T. Marino and Donna Reed
San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston, Texas helped with Stand
Down Houston April 28-29 in Guadalupe Plaza Park. Several hundred veterans
took advantage of clothing exchanges, legal services, and other services.
AVVA member Lynda Greene Kahler is chair of the Task Force for Houston
Area Homeless Veterans.
ODDS & ENDS
VVAís Long Island Chapter 11 in Suffolk, New York, is
the sponsor--with the Suffolk County Police Departmentís 4th
Precinct--of the Smithtown Veterans Youth Program. The programís main
objective is to address the needs of local teenagers for a safe, drug- and
alcohol-free summer. The program offers a safe environment at Sunken
Meadow State Park five nights a week all summer. Chapter member Mike Brady
was named the programís Volunteer of the Year.
Kentuckiana Chapter 454 hosted a symposium on hepatitis C at the
Louisville VA Medical Center. The event featured Miss America 2000 Heather
Renee French who is the daughter of Vietnam veteran Ronnie French. Free
hepatitis C screening was available at the conference.
Richard Esau, Jr., a life member of Westchester County Chapter 49
in Pleasantville, New York, recently was elected National Commander
of the Military Order of the Purple Heart
John Morris, editor of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 436
newsletter, reports that his son Adam just graduated from West Chester
University. Adam Morris will travel to Hong Kong where he will teach
English. John Morris says he receives "small comfort from the thought
that this generation of Morrises is not going overseas for the purposes of
Tri-State Appalachian Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland, reports
that the food pantry operated by the chapter at the Re-Entry Project
office is receiving food donations from veterans helped out by the program
in the past. The project receives no chapter money and is supported
entirely by concerned individuals.
In the February/March issue, we reported that Chapter 266 in Philadelphia
held free Hepatitis C testing. We failed to acknowledge the assistance
provided by Valley Forge Chapter 349. In a letter to The VVA
Veteran, Chapter 266 President Steve Uchniat said that without the
help and camaraderie of Chapter 349, the event would not have been
successful. Another free hepatitis C testing will be conducted in October.