The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

September/October 2002

Ducks In A Row


What a great week we all had in Tuscon. I would like to welcome two new board members, Judy Bolio, Region 5, and Mary Atkins, Region 8. Our meeting went very smoothly. One change to our Policy and Procedure Committee suggested by Suzie Meeks was to decrease the one-year membership requirement for chapter elections and chapter reps to three months.

During our meeting, Nancy Retkowski and Lee Derby presented the Silver Rose posthumously to Thomas Miller, Mary Miller's husband, and to Robert Palasch, Ann Palasch's husband. It was a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. AVVA unanimously passed a motion endorsing this program and giving a donation.

We had a great duck race. I thank Pete Duerr, Ann Snyder, and Charlie and Nancy Montgomery for spending an entire day setting the race up, and Elaine and Dave Simmons, who took control of duck sales. We made approximately $1,500 for our scholarship fund.

On Wednesday night one hundred people gathered at Sunset Point for the Remembrance Ceremony. The point was lined with 13 dozen luminarias ordered by individuals and chapters to remember special people who have had an impact on their lives. David Tsosie, a Navajo Korean War veteran, spoke briefly of his service in Korea and how to honor those who serve. Patsy Varnell worked very hard in making this ceremony a great success.

There are many people to thank for a successful meeting, including Jim Blount, the  Parliamentarian, and Sandra Womack, our Sergeant-at-Arms, and the board for organizing everything. We also thank people who just came and sat down and worked: Doris Derby, Peaches Walton, Sandra Womack, and Suzie Meeks.

Three people were honored with the President's Award this year: Marcia Hicks, for her outstanding contribution to the AVVA Board of Directors; Bob Maras, for his assistance on legislative issues; and Charlie Montgomery for his support to AVVA. We also awarded our first Fellowship Award to Loren and Marge Herrick of Chapter 317 in Kansas City, Missouri. Congratulations to all.

This year's AVVA/VVA Project Friendship was outstanding. We raised more than $7,700 for Sons and Daughters in Touch. Sixty sons and daughters will travel to Vietnam in March 2003. Esperanza En Escalante received approximately $250. Many items were brought by the attendees for this outstanding homeless center.


The First Fellowship Award


It was with great joy that we presented the first Fellowship Award to Loren and Marge Herrick. This wonderful couple served together in World War II. They lost two sons in Vietnam. Instead of letting their pain take over their lives, they established a scholarship fund which has grown every year. They have helped send many people to college. They also have taught children how to march and salute for the play A Piece of My Heart.

To them, Vietnam veterans will always be their children. Their favorite song to dance to is "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me.'' They dance not alone, but with their sons Benny and Dennis, and hundreds of others they have helped. I don't believe their was a dry eye in the room when this award was announced and the Herricks were escorted to the stage.


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