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

March/April 2004




Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 862 recently presented awards to chapter members. Edward Bernstein received the President's Award. Mary Alice Bernstein received the Associate Vietnam Veteran of the Year. John Namath was named Vietnam Veteran of the Year, and Bill Laughner was presented with the Distinguished Veteran of the Year Award. Attending the ceremonies were Chapter 862 President Skip Haswell, Pennsylvania State Council President Jeff White, and VVA Vice President Ed Chow. 

National Chaplain Father Philip Salois, recipient of the Silver Star during his service as an infantryman in Vietnam, will receive the Knights of Columbus 2004 Lantern Award for outstanding service to God and country. Fr. Phil is the Chief Chaplain for VA medical facilities in Massachusetts.


The Plymouth-Canton Chapter 528 Color Guard in Plymouth, Michigan, took part in ceremonies honoring the first local casualty of the war in Iraq. Army Sergeant Trevor A. Blumberg of Canton was on patrol when two explosive devices struck his vehicle in Baghdad. Blumberg was assigned to 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. He died on September 14, 2003. 

Incarcerated Chapter 732 in Lima, Ohio, donated $800 to servicemen and women serving in Iraq. The money was used to purchase phone cards. 

Buffalo, New York, Chapter 77 received cards from troops thanking them for Operation Gift Lift, a chapter project begun during Operation Desert Storm 13 years ago. This year the chapter sent 224 packages to Company B of the 1st/111th Infantry Battalion (Mechanized), part of the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized), a National Guard unit based in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The unit is serving in Kosovo. 

Gary Lillie reports that Washtenaw County Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosted PFC Aaron Friese while he was home on leave from assignment with the Army's 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. 


Ann Sherman Wolcott, national president of American Gold Star Mothers, visited Vietnam in March to see where her son, Army Corporal Rex Marcel Sherman, was killed on November 19, 1969. Sherman served with the 75th Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, in the Central Highlands. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. 


Douglas E. Dahill Memorial Chapter 732 in Lima, Ohio, donated more than $6,500 to west central Ohio charities, including needy families, March of Dimes, and the local Veterans Food Bank. 

Western New York Chapter 77 in Buffalo provided food, cash certificates, and toys to 169 families during the holiday season. The contributions amounted to $30,000. Since the chapter formed in 1979, it has provided a variety of services valued at $400,000 to more than a thousand veteran families.

Chapter 848 at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri, handcrafted an oak shuffleboard with a two-inch-thick maple playing surface and black walnut inlays and donated it to a local Veterans Home. Chapter 317 in Kansas City provided the materials and helped with the presentation at the home.

The Joseph House of Cincinnati is a homeless veterans' shelter. Incarcerated Chapter 616 in Mansfield, Ohio, donated $1,500 to the shelter, as well as 150 pounds of canned goods. 


Army PFC Anthony Eugene Pendola was a few weeks short of his 18th birthday when he was killed in the Ia Drang Valley on November 6, 1965, less than three months after arriving in country and being assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. His daughter, Tammy Lynn Schaefer, and other Sons and Daughters conduct a Memorial Vigil each year at the Springfield Memorial in Illinois. Schaefer would like Sons and Daughters in the area to contact her at 309-208-5430 or at  to participate in the three-day event.  


Chapter 842 in Tupelo, Mississippi, held a Flag Presentation Ceremony observing National POW-MIA Day on September 19 at Veterans Park in Tupelo. 


Chapter 583 in Alpena, Michigan, spent the holidays feeding 949 families and providing toys for nearly 2,300 children in the ten-county area surrounding Alpena in northeast Michigan. The project began in 1991. Over the years, the chapter has been joined by Chapter 274 in Cheboygan and Chapter 882 in Hale. Those who took part in the effort are Darrell Parrott, Wayne Trapp, Bob Hecox, Rick and Debbie Cheatum, and Doreen Oatten. They were joined by Bob Trapp, Bernie Moransky, Don Bernard, Russ Knack, Neil Hartwick, and David Nelsey.  

In Genesee County, Michigan, Chapter 175 held its gift-basket project again this year at the local United Auto Workers hall. Bob Carroll, Dan McIntosh, and Jean Thick were cited for their help in making the project a success.

For those who are deployed overseas, Tidewater Chapter 48 in Norfolk, Virginia, turned the parking lot at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base into a Santa's workshop in December. The chapter spent the time assembling toys, bikes, swing sets, and other gifts for kids. Chapter President Charlie Montgomery would like to see the project become a model for a national effort by Vietnam veterans to support the families of those who are on active duty. For additional information about the Tools 4 Tots program, contact Charlie at

Edward D. Brown, chair of the Needy Vets Christmas Committee, reports that Reading, Ohio, Chapter 10 distributed 17 food baskets to veterans families during the holidays.  


Connecticut State Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Linda Spoonster Schwartz attended the February meeting of Hartford Chapter 120 and outlined her plans for improvements at the Rocky Hill Veterans Home and Hospital. Schwartz, a former VVA national board member and chair of the VVA Health Care Committee, told the members how they could help provide services to the 500 residents at the facility.


Chapter 311 in Des Plaines, Illinois, invited two flight attendants who worked on chartered commercial airliners bringing troops home from Iraq to a variety show presented by members of the recently returned soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Members of the American Airlines cabin crew will have an opportunity to meet and greet the soldiers following the performance.


Jack McGrath, director of Operation New Start in Maryland, says the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor will need the help of veterans service organizations like VVA for the program to succeed. The facility, located in Frederick, Maryland, hopes to help many of the 3,850 homeless vets in Maryland. For more information, contact McGrath at 301-662-0099, ext 4320, or 301-693-2087. 

Chapter 719 in the Northern Nevada Correctional Center has had a long and successful relationship with Stead School. The local school enrolls many transient students.

Chapter 719 has contributed funds to the school for several years. This year Jamie Demosthenes, assistant principal of the school, accepted a check for $4,000 for library books and other supplies.

Chapter President Charles Dearing accepted the Stead Elementary School Literacy Award on behalf of the chapter members. Among those taking part in the project are Jack Haley, Gregory Jax, Glenn Fane, Frank LeBeau, and Bobby Gonzales. During the ceremonies, attended by Region 9 Director Darrol Brown, the chapter also presented a $1,000 check to the Nevada Patriots Fund. 


Len Funk of Northern Virginia Chapter 227 was joined by Vietnam veteran historians Karen Elliott, Garrett Million, and Bob Smith in presenting an overview of the American involvement in French Indochina and Vietnam. Student questions focused on unconventional warfare in urban environments as currently experienced by American forces in Iraq. 


The California State Council received a visit from Craig Taylor, founding member of Chapter 218 in Santa Barbara and first Region 9 Director (1987-89). The council meets in Fresno. Taylor lives less than an hour away. Taylor chaired the VVA Veterans Affairs Committee hearings at the fourth National Convention in Chicago in 1989. 


Chapter 272 in Greenville, North Carolina, hosts a weekly support group for wives and significant others of veterans to help deal with the stresses and challenges of their loved ones' PTSD. Members support each other and help create an environment of shared feelings and support in maintaining healthy relationships. Additional information can be obtained at 


Newly chartered Chapter 933 in Fresno, California, attended the rededication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Woodward Park, originally dedicated on July 4, 1981. The renovation of the area was the project of Eagle Scout candidate Brad Doak, 17-year-old son of chapter president Steve Doak. More than a hundred people attended the event, including four of the surviving five Vietnam veterans who dedicated the memorial in 1981. 

Chapter 601 in Bennington, Vermont, held its Cabin Fever Dinner in February at the Mount Anthony Country Club. More than forty people braved the snow and cold weather to enjoy dinner and listen to comments by State Representative Mary Morrissey, State Senator Richard Sears, and Northeast New York POW-MIA Network Chair Don Amorosi. Newest chapter member Mike Morneault led the invocation. 

Chapter 446 in Pasadena, California, has endorsed "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,'' a project being spearheaded by Jose Ramos, who took part in the World Team Sports Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City bicycle ride several years ago. The chapter donated $100 to the effort. 

Three generations of the Sanders family paid tribute to San Jose, California, Chapter 201 namesake Darwin J. Thomas at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Vietnam veteran Dave Sanders, 55, was accompanied by his son Dave, Jr., 32, and grandson Dave III, age 12.   

Gary King is a 50 percent disabled veteran with service in Korea and Vietnam. He has created logos for his fellow veterans in that category. More information is available from Gary at

North Central Massachusetts Chapter 907 in Gardner is sponsoring a Motorcycle Run and Chicken Barbecue on Sunday, May 30. The ride starts at the American Legion Hall in Gardner and ends at the Turnpike Rod and Gun Club in Ashburnham. Contact Norman Webb at

Veterans Radio, originating in Ann Arbor, Michigan, began in November on WSDS, 1480  AM. The program is dedicated to all veterans and those who still serve. You can catch the show on the internet at each Saturday at 11:00 a.m. EST. The show is repeated on Sunday evenings at 6:00 on the web site. For additional information, contact Dale Throneberry at  

"Picnic, Picnic, Picnic'' is the theme of a June 19 event sponsored by Eastern Washington Chapter 686 in Moses Lake, Washington.  The potluck picnic at Moses Lake Park is free for VVA members and $1 for nonmembers. Games, door prizes, and much more await those who attend. For additional information, contact chapter President Eric Morgan at 509-488-6229. Proceeds go to the Douglas F. Strait Scholarship Fund. 


If your chapter or state council provides grants or scholarships, please send the total number of scholarships and grants and the total amount provided in the last 12 months to


In the last issue we incorrectly gave credit for the Arlington West Memorial in Santa Barbara, Calif.,  to Chapter 218. While it is true that members of the chapter do participate in the placing of white crosses representing those killed in the war on terrorism at the memorial, the project is conducted by Veterans for Peace. Thanks to Santa Barbara Chapter 218 President Dennis Hartman and R. Lane Anderson for the correction.  


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