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

June 2000/July 2000

President’s Message

Together Forever

By George C. Duggins

VVA’s strength is in its chapters. Buffalo Chapter 77 has flexed its muscles over and over as it prepared fof VVA’s Eighth National Leadership Conference. That hard work has paid off for all of us. Thanks, Chapter 77 for a job well done.

As we prepare for the Leadership Conference, we should focus our attention on a group that has been by VVA’s side since the beginning.

We used to call them Associates. Now they are the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA). They have been an integral part of our organization for more than 20 years. Wives, parents, children, neighbors, and many, many others comprise the membership of AVVA.

Our Associates have been essential to VVA’s survival and success. Without the support of these fine individuals, many of the activities and programs we are involved in would not be possible. To say that without AVVA we wouldn't be here today is not an exaggeration.

Think, for a minute, about what goes on in your local chapter and how important Associates have been in insuring that everything is in order. Now think about how much more difficult our job would be without them.

A year ago last October, the Internal Revenue Service issued its final ruling on the composition of VVA and the effect on our tax-exempt status of continuing to include Associates as members of the organization. In essence, the IRS decreed that VVA could not continue to enroll non-veterans.

The ruling was a bitter and difficult pill to swallow. But VVA reacted to it by doing what we always do: We moved forward.

Since October 1998, the steps have been taken to incorporate the Associates into their own organization. AVVA is independent of VVA but remains an important part of the day-to-day activities of VVA’s local chapters and state councils.

In Buffalo, during the Leadership Conference, the members of AVVA will assemble in convention for the first time on their own. They have worked diligently over the past 20 months to insure their rightful place in the community of veterans. In Buffalo they will choose their leaders for the next two years.

It has been my pleasure over the years to work closely with the outstanding members of AVVA and see first hand the impact they have had on our lives. Some of our members would not be alive today without the care and compassion of the Associates.

Associates have donated untold hours and dollars to help VVA whenever and wherever they could. They have always been there for us and they are committed to continuing to be there for us.

As AVVA President Nancy Switzer said in Anaheim, "We may have a different name and we may not officially be part of you anymore, but we’re not going away."

If you come to the Leadership Conference, please take the time to approach an Associate and tell her (or him) how much you appreciate what the Associates have done for VVA.

They may never seek recognition, but they deserve it.


E-mail us at TheVeteran@vva.org


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