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 it’s all about: one veteran
helping another. We must continue doing this so that our organization
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
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.