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

April 2001/May 2001

Region 7 Report

On The Right Track

By Allen Manuel

Serving as Region 7 director has been a great experience. I would like to thank every member in Region 7--which consists of Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas--who has welcomed me at state council meetings and made me feel like one of their own. My first goal when elected was to improve the lines of communication between the members, state officers, and the regional director. I have an open-door policy: Any member can call me anytime to discuss an issue or problem.

I am available at all times and will make sure that questions get answered satisfactorily and promptly. Now that communication among ourselves has improved, we must insure that we never let it break down. I see areas where we need to improve within the region. Members need to travel to other state conventions so they can exchange ideas to help their chapters and state councils. This is what its all about: one veteran helping another. We must continue doing this so that our organization becomes stronger.

My hope is to find and develop new ways to increase and maintain our membership in all areas of the region. Region 7 has done a great job starting new chapters in the past year and a half, including two in Arkansas, two in Louisiana, one in Oklahoma, and six in Texas. I want to thank all state council presidents for getting more members and new chapters up and running. If we can continue this process by working together, VVA will become a greater organization. Region 7 has come a long way since 1999, but we are far from finished.

During my term as regional director, I have attended as many state council meetings and conventions as I possibly could, health and weather permitting. My surgery in November caused me to miss several events. However, despite the snow, I made it to the Arkansas State Convention. As regional director, I feel I should attend as many meetings as possible. I also visited some of our incarcerated chapters. I was a guest speaker at the Texas Ramsey Chapter Christmas party. It was a great experience to be with our brothers who are incarcerated.

I also chose to break with tradition to recognize our veterans and chapters within the region with awards of achievement. I was able to get money in my budget from VVA national--a move not too often accomplished. I was able to present the first Region 7 Veteran of the Year award to Mike Burden, past Arkansas State Council President. I will be giving out this award in July at our Region 7 conference, as well as Chapter of the Year awards for each state. It is important that we take time to recognize veterans and chapters for their outstanding work.

As long as we keep talking about our problems and working together to get them resolved, we will be on the right track for the future. We must continue to develop our communication skills, improve our ways to enlist and retain membership, and recognize the true qualities of our members, chapters, and state councils throughout the year.

I welcome and congratulate Patsy Varnell of Oklahoma as the Region 7 Director for Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America. I would also like to congratulate Gary Varnell, Oklahoma State Council President, on his appointment as VVA POW/MIA Affairs Committee chair. It is a great honor that our region is so well represented at the highest levels in our organization.

It is a privilege to serve with you, and I will continue to do my best at all times as your region director in sister- and brotherhood.


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