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

August 2000/September 2000

Membership Notes

A VVA Staff Report


Redondo Beach, California, Chapter 53 President Jerry Yamamoto reports that the California legislature has approved a bill that designates State Highway Route One (also called the Pacific Coast Highway) the "Los Angeles County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway." The designation affects a 104-mile stretch of highway that mostly parallels the Southern California coastline.

Phoenix Chapter 726 at the Polk Correctional Institution in Polk City, Florida, conducted a Remembrance Day ceremony at the All War Dedication Stand in the institution. The ceremony included a wreath-laying by Charles Johnson and Capt. A. Fortson and a rendition of "Taps" played by chapter member William Chase on the electric violin. The chapter was grateful to Warden Joe T. Butler and R. Nate Holden, Assistant Warden for Programs, for their support.

Members of Chapter 296 in Lowville, New York, participated in the dedication of an aircraft hangar at Fort Drum. The hangar was dedicated to the memory of WO David Reid Crow IV, who died in Vietnam on April 9, 1969. The 2/10th Combat Aviation Battalion at Fort Drum organized the tribute.


Sgt. John Squire, a member of Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia, recently received a Silver Star for his gallantry in action on May 19, 1968, while a squad leader with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Squire received the award after friends began an inquiry into the actions. Squire was recommended for the award after the action, but the award never came through. About a year ago, the medal and citation were delivered to his home. Friends decided this wasnít a proper presentation and arranged for the ceremony through the offices of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Col. James L. Snyder of Fort Dix made the presentation during a chapter meeting.


Delaware County Chapter 67 in Media, Pennsylvania, wrapped up its 17th year of school presentations with presentations at Upper Darby High School and Springton Lake Middle School. Upper Darby students built a web site to honor the 13 Darby students who died in Vietnam. Teacher Dave Tatum, a Marine Vietnam veteran and chapter member, coordinated the effort. The sixth grade class at Springton raised $400 and donated it to the LZ11 Homeless Vet Residence at the Coatesville VA Medical Center.

"It was the best training I've had in 26 years of teaching" was just one of the comments following a two-day training class on how to teach the history of the Vietnam War at Armwood High School in Valrico, Florida. Chapter 787 Education Chair Tom Hall was joined by two experienced teachers, Ron Dyches and Bruce Burnham, who conducted the training. The training included six hours of video segments and six music CDs for use in the class. The seminar was funded by a grant from the Florida Vietnam Veterans Assistance Foundation.


The David D. Darby Memorial Scholarship program, an activity of Chapter 120 in East Hartford, Connecticut, awarded $600 to Melissa Burgess and Michael Barry.

Northwestern Vermont Chapter 753 awarded a $750 scholarship to Christopher J. Jennette, a student at Bellows Free Academy. He will be enrolling in Middlebury College in the fall.

Chapter 510 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, awarded four scholarships to Aaron Moranz, Carrie Voit, Amy Tapper, and Sara Carlson.

Hepatitis C Awareness

Mike Weber and his wife, Suzanne, and their struggle coping with his hepatitis C were recently profiled in <I>City Link, a weekly newspaper in Broward and Palm Beach Florida. The Webers are members of Chapter 121. The story, entitled "The Veterans Curse," was published in the May 24-30 edition and is available on-line at www.citylinkonline.com


Thomas Davis, Jr., Chapter 616 at the Mansfield, Ohio, Correctional Institution donated $1,000 to the Mansfield Police Department D.A.R.E. program. The project reaches out to 23 classes of fifth grade students in the area. The chapter also donated $500 to the institutionís Community Services Program for tools and equipment.

Community Service

Virginia Mooney, the widow of a World War II veteran, was the beneficiary of a weekend cleanup project at her home conducted by members of Santa Rosa, California, Chapter 223. Duane Dewitt and George Engle joined Jerry Shimmel and his son, John, in the project that removed old gravel, plants, and other trash from around Mrs. Mooney's mobile home.


Congratulations to the Washington State Council and President Jimmy Grissom, who secured funding from the state of Washington to sponsor a service representative training program in the northwest. This is the first training of its kind in the West. Other state councils may contact Grissom to find out how they can do the same.

Members of the PFC Bruce W. Carter Chapter 121 in Coral Gables, Florida, were honored for their volunteerism at a recent awards ceremony at the Miami VA Medical Center. Receiving pins for 100 hours of service were Freddie Ambrose and Mike Escobar. Eladio Rivera received a 300-hour pin and Suzanne Blohm Weber was presented with a 1,000-hour pin. Honor Roll pins for 1,000-plus hours were given to Gabriel Escobar, Bruce McManus, Stacey McManus, and chapter president Michael Weber. Hospital Committee chair Eppie Ortiz was recognized for 1,750 hours.

Cathleen Cordova, a member of Bay Area Chapter 400 in Oakland, California, was recently elected national president of the Womenís Overseas Service League. The WOSL is a national service organization for military and civilian women who have served overseas with or in support of our armed forces. It was founded in San Francisco in 1921. Cordova served with Army Special Services in Vietnam in 1968-69 and in Korea in 1970-72.

The Moving Wall

The Moving Wall is on the road and Chapter 31 was there with it in Muskegon, Michigan, at the end of June. Ceremonies honored the 57 men from Muskegon County who lost their lives or are listed as missing. Author Wallace Terry (<I>Bloods) was the keynote speaker. He called upon those in attendance to "leave a sign of your good works."

The Maine State Council sponsored the Moving Wall in July at the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta in July. Western Massachusetts Chapter 111 hosted the memorial in Szot Park Stadium in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in August. Opening Ceremonies featured Medal of Honor recipient Thomas Kelley, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tidewater Chapter 48 sponsored The Wall in Virginia Beach at Rosewood Memorial Park, August 18-20. Chapter 20 in Rochester, New York, held a candlelight vigil at the Moving Wall on July 13 and a watch fire on September 9 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park, N.Y. Both events were designed to honor POW/MIAs. James Huard Chapter 267 will host Moving Wall ceremonies in Dearborn, Michigan, October 15-21.

Odds 'N' Ends

An honor guard consisting of members and associates of Chapter 590 in Glenside, Pennsylvania, took part in a change-of-command ceremony held at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Willow Grove, Pa. The chapter honor guard, led by Chapter President Tom Frieze, was invited to attend the ceremony by the outgoing base commander, Capt. Thomas F. Nagelin, Jr., who has a longstanding association with the chapter.

Chapter 325 in Wakefield, Rhode Island, has cookbooks for sale. The books contain 192 recipes from A to P (appetizers to potpourri). For information on the cookbook, contact Sherry Williams at 401-789-6598.

Chapter 466, Veterans of Graterford, Pennsylvania, hosted the Eighth Annual Round Robin Softball Tournament on July 23 at Graterford State Correctional Institute. The event earned more than $600 for S.K.I.P. (Support Kids of Incarcerated Parents), a community-based outreach program run by the Pennsylvania Prison Society. Visitors included members of VVA Chapter 67, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. All were treated to a brown bag lunch.

Miami Valley, Ohio, Chapter 97 threw a picnic on July 29 for members of the 199th Light Infantry Brigadeís 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, which had its 30th reunion in nearby Dayton. Among the attendees: VVA National Chaplain Father Phil Salois, a former 199th trooper. The chapter band, "Betrayed," provided entertainment, playing songs from their new CD. A cake with the 199th logo was provided by chapter member Patti Jackson. On Sunday, the reunion assembled at Woodland Cemetery to honor KIA Sp4 Herbert Wheeler Klug, his platoon leader 1L Terrance Lee Bowell, and nineteen others who were lost from Alpha Co. 199th LIB.

Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville, Kentucky, sponsored a booth for the 12th year at the annual LZ Bluegrass Festival. Ron Eberle, Ray Goings, Charlie Watts, and Rick and Helen Taylor helped with setup and other chores.

Chapter 691 in Merced, California , held a memorial ceremony June 27 for two of its departed members, Charles J. "Chip" Kirkeby II and Clinton Tyson. The ceremonies were held near the Memorials for All Veterans of All Wars, which the chapter was instrumental in building in 1996.

Missouri State Council awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award to U.S. Rep. Jim Talent of Missouriís Second Congressional District in July. Rep. Talent was cited for his leadership in the struggle to safeguard veterans benefits and rights.

Central Minnesota Chapter 290 in St. Cloud sponsored a fishing derby for patients from the St. Cloud VAMC at Molitorís Trout Farm in June. The event will be repeated in the fall and will include a trout fry.

Chester County Chapter 436 in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, attended Downington Good Neighbor Day again this year. The annual event, which is held on the Fourth of July at Kerr Park, draws about 10,000 and is an opportunity for residents to get together and meet new friends. The chapter pitched a tent and distributed information about VVA and the community work done by the chapter.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chapter 318 recently received an adjustment to its Household Goods Solicitation income and shared the bounty with Eduardo Marquez, Jr., Chapter 431 in Las Cruces. Chapter 318 donated $800 for the Veterans Information and Resource and Referral Office (VIRRO) in Las Cruces.

Central Wisconsin Chapter 101 in Wisconsin Rapids sold bratwurst at a booth they shared with the Nekoosa High School Choir. Roger Kelnhofer was the driving force behind the effort.

Rock Island, Illinois, Chapter 299 held a taco dinner and raised over $800 for chapter projects.

The Robert Schuler Chapter 803 Color Guard from Elmira, New York, participated in a flag retirement ceremony at Parley Coburn Elementary School on Flag Day. Members Mike Mitchell, Jim Kelsey, Steve West, and Jerome Mase were joined by Ted Watson, Jack Meck, Pat Scanlon, and Terry McLaughlin. They presented a new American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol to the school. Sixth grade students Patrick Seymour and Josh Terwilliger had the honor of raising the new flag.

Thomas P. Coughlin Memorial Chapter 72 in Brooklyn, New York, took part in the 133rd Bay Ridge (Brooklyn) Memorial Day Parade. Following the parade, the chapter participated in a ceremony at the John Paul Jones (Cannonball) Park.

Rock Pile Chapter 719 at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center held its fifth Annual Awards Ceremony on August 2.

For the 133rd year, Grafton National Cemetery in Grafton, West Virginia, held Memorial Day ceremonies that included a first-ever wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown at the cemetery. West Virginia First Vice President Bob L. Vance was joined by U.S Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) for the ceremony.

Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227in Northern Virginia members volunteered during the Fatherís Day 2000 Sons and Daughters In Touch event in June. Members worked in the hospitality suite and provided information about the local area to those in attendance. In May, the chapter presented a $1,000 donation to the Arlington County Public Schoolsí English for Speakers of Other Language/High Intensity Language Training Program. The annual donation supports a summer program to assist newly arrived foreign students to accelerate their mastery of the English language. This yearís $500 winners of the chapterís 3rd Annual Vincent Kaspar Awards for Excellence in the Arts were high school students Rhianno Antweiler for poetry and Anastasia Didenko for visual arts.

Members of Columbia, South Carolina, Chapter 303 hosted five patients from the Dorn VA Hospital at a Capitol City Bombers baseball game in July.

The Louisiana State Council Picnic is scheduled for September 15-17 at Chicot State Park in Ville Platte.


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