I was very
pleased to be hired in April as VVA's Director of Membership
Affairs. As many of you know, Allen Green moved on to a new
position. He left behind a very successful operation. Al led
the transition to a reliable, user-friendly membership database,
implemented a rolling renewal process, and made many other
improvements to the membership process.
We have an
experienced and motivated staff in the Membership Department,
and I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with Membership
Committee Chair Bill Meeks and all the members of the committee.
It will be daunting a daunting challenge to improve on something
this good. As I get my bearings and work to plot a course for
the long term, my philosophy is: "Build the future on the
success of the present.''
getting bearings and plotting courses, you may guess that I come
from a sea-service background. I began active duty in the U.S.
Coast Guard in 1978, retiring last year. I'm the son of a
veteran from an earlier era. In my last active-duty assignment,
I was the Director of Operations for the Coast Guard Auxiliary,
the service's 34,000-member volunteer, public service component.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is a dues-paying membership
organization with an elected leadership, very much like VVA.
are civilian volunteers, Auxiliarists wear uniforms and are
authorized to wear ribbons from previous military service. Many
of my Auxiliary colleagues proudly wore the Vietnam Service
Ribbon (and I saw many Korea and World War II service ribbons as
well). So, having come from a membership organization with a
large population of veterans and a tradition of service to
country and others, I feel right at home in VVA.
reporting, I attended a regional conference as a guest of Region
5 Director and former Membership Committee Chair Lupe Alviar.
Lupe designed a conference agenda around the theme of membership
development. We enjoyed hearing VVA members and leaders share
their ideas for membership recruiting and retention. I learned a
very valuable lesson at this conference: While the national
office plays an important role in processing applications and
renewals and operating the database, local chapters are the
heart and soul of the organization. I may be able to pick up
some new members through advertisements and mailings, but the
real strength lies with chapter members and leaders. You're the
ones who can really get people interested in joining and
I hope that
many of you will attend the Leadership Conference in Tucson in
August. The membership team will have three seminars on Friday,
August 15. We'll cover membership development, recruiting and
retention, and administration. The administration seminar will
offer tips on how to use information-age resources to make
membership operations more efficient. For example, we'll show
you how easy it is to order and receive state and chapter
rosters on-line. There will be many workshops, covering a wide
range of veterans issues, as well as fun and fellowship
To those I
have met already, either in person or on the telephone, thank
you for the very warm welcome you've shown me. I look forward
to meeting many more of you at the Leadership Conference. In
the meantime, if you have an idea, success story, or best
practice you'd like to share, please call me at 800-882-1316,
ext. 115, or send an e-mail to
can also call or e-mail me for chapter rosters, or if you have a
membership concern or problem. I'm proud to be a new member of
the VVA team and am honored to serve those who have served.