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

October/November 2003

Thank You, Thank You


The AVVA Leadership Conference was a huge success. I thank those who participated in all the seminars. How wonderful it was to see old friends and meet new people. It was a week to remember.

The seminars focused on training. Judy McCombs, the National VAVS Representative, and Keith A. Butcher, Chief of Voluntary Services, gave a wonderful seminar on the importance of our organization getting involved with veterans in the VA Hospitals. Sons and Daughters in Touch and many of the veterans who went on the trip to Vietnam had a tremendous discussion of their experiences and the closure they received from the trip. They presented AVVA with a life membership in their organization. The Finance Committee held a seminar explaining important information for the newly established State Associations about bank accounts and budgets. The rebate issue also was discussed.

AVVA / VVA Project Friendship was a huge success this year. The Shriners' Hospital received nearly $3,000 and a van full of educational toys and clothing. Everyone's hearts were in those boxes as well. I thank all of you for being so generous.

This year we visited the VA Hospital in St. Louis and had a wonderful tour. Thank you, Judy McCombs, for getting us involved in helping those veterans. Kathi Tauer's employer, the Cary Medical Center, and Wal-Mart donated most of the personal items. We felt like Santa's helpers at the St. Louis VAMC.

The highlight of the week was the AVVA-sponsored premier of Be Good, Smile Pretty. The film was shown several times during the Convention and Leadership Conference. This movie was by and about Tracy Droz Tragos, whose father was killed in Vietnam. Tragos received the AVVA President's Excellence Award in the Arts and a life membership in our organization. AVVA has gotten involved with this movie and will be helping chapters and states to have it shown on their local PBS stations.

At this year's luncheon, we presented our President's Award to Tom Corey, Linda Spoonster Schwartz, and Paul Sutton. Corey has done a wonderful job in helping AVVA develop as an organization. Schwartz has assisted AVVA with health issues, and Sutton has helped with his knowledge on Agent Orange and the homeless, as well as the Chapel of Four Chaplains. He has become our grant writer. Also recognized for his excellent work was Wes Guidry, VVA Convention Planner.

I want to end with a huge thank-you to all who volunteered during the VVA Convention. I know VVA really appreciated all that you did. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.


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