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

January/February 2004

Happy Fifth Anniversary


A new year has come upon us and it has already started out very well. Happy Fifth Anniversary, AVVA.  Our membership is up 300. We owe it all to the fabulous work that our membership is doing to make the public aware of who we are. We have two states incorporated, Illinois and Nevada. Soon to come on board are Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. That is outstanding. If anyone needs membership tools, please contact the national membership office.

This year we will hold our third biennial meeting in Nashville on August 5. We will have a great meeting and a celebration of our first five years.

I received a message from Mokie Porter, national Communications Director, that she had received word that two children whose father was injured in Iraq did not have coats, mittens, or hats. Many families of wounded soldiers are staying at a hotel connected with the Walter Reed Hospital. We purchased two winter jackets, two hats, two pairs of mittens and two stuffed animals with blue hats. Mokie, Mike Keating, Carol Engle, and son Scott, delivered them to the children. 

That is a small task compared to some of the things that our membership has done. For instance, Texas sent out many cards to the servicemen and women. New York Chapter 20 helped pay for postage for care packages. 

Chapter 583 Alpena, Michigan, started the Operation Holidays Program in 1991 to help needy veterans in their community. In 1993, Chapter 274 in Cheboygan, Michigan, joined in their effort and in 2001, Chapter 882 in Hale, Michigan, came on board. They opened it up to all the counties in Northeast Michigan and formed Operation Holidays Foundation. The Toys for Kids program gave five toys each to 1,886 children in nine counties. Darrell Parrott is the Program Director with AVVA and VVA working side by side. 

In the past five years we have built the foundation for a successful organization that continues to strive and do good work alongside Vietnam Veterans of America.

Lois Harvey

In November 2003, Lois Harvey passed away after a brief illness. Lois was the Georgia State Representative for AVVA. She was a true friend to everyone she came in contact with. Her sweet smile and her tenacity for helping veterans and their families will be sadly missed. Lois had just attended our Board meeting in August, during which the Board of Directors unanimously approved an Agent Orange Survey for wives, significant others, and the children of Vietnam veterans. We will continue her quest for answers. 

AVVA member Jan Gilmer, affiliated with Northeast Georgia Chapter 772, Gainesville, Georgia, said: "The things about her that will always stand out, in my mind, are her love for her husband, Alan, her family, and her heartfelt devotion for veterans. While Lois's focus was strongly on Vietnam veterans, her love for all veterans and their families was true, deep, and genuine. She would spend many hours helping all veterans in need, and she did so with kindness and a true love for veterans. Lois was one of the most genuine people I have ever had the honor of knowing and working with." 

AVVA member, Marsha Fletcher said, "I worked with Lois for several years.  She was one of the most dedicated and motivated people I have ever known. The thing I respected about her most was her 'don't take no for an answer' attitude. If the issue was important enough for Lois to spend her time on, she kept chipping away at problems, always looking for the best solution, always keeping the veteran first in her thoughts. Lois blessed the lives of each person she touched. I am thankful she touched mine." 


This year our project will raise funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the Gold Star Mother's home. Our Gold Star Mothers need us. Please start raising funds. By August, I hope we can generate the necessary sum.

We will also help women and children at a domestic-abuse shelter. If you are planning on being at the National Leadership Conference or AVVA's Biennial Meeting, please bring some toiletries and/or toys and games for the children.


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