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

July 2004


Charles Dearing, president of Chapter 719 at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, reports that a few weeks prior to its annual awards ceremony, the chapter was surprised and honored when it received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literacy by the International Reading Association's Sierra Nevada Council. The award was in recognition of the chapter's long association with Stead School in Carson City. Stead School was adopted by the chapter in 1998 and since then has received much-needed supplies. Working together with the Nevada State Council and Chapter 17 in Las Vegas the chapter has been very successful in building a long-term relationship with the school, its administrators, and the students.

The New Jersey State Council hosted its First Legislative Brunch in October. The council honored Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), who represents the Fourth Congressional District in New Jersey, as Legislator of the Year. Rep. Smith has long held strong views regarding the treatment deserved by veterans, as well as the needs of active-duty personnel around the world.  He authorized legislation that provides a 46 percent increase in the GI Bill. Robert Zweiman, past National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans, accepted the VVA New Jersey State Council honor as Veteran Advocate of the Year.

Responding to a standing ovation by the assembled Illinois State Council, American Airlines flight attendant Kate Pantorilla received a Special Service Award from Chapter 311 in Wheeling. Pantorilla provides a unique Welcome Home to each soldier who steps on her plane. Every serviceman and woman returning to The World from duty in Iraq or Kuwait via American Airlines charter flights steps first on a piece of American grass. The 2x4 foot piece of sod probably has accumulated more time back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean than some presidents and prime ministers. Kate Pantorilla was proud to accept the award on behalf of Butch Huber and the Illinois State Council for her "gracious service to veterans." Pantorilla also wears a special uniform on the flights she attends, complete with an American flag and a statement about the former dictator of Iraq.


Members of Chapter 121 in Coral Gables, Florida, made a visit to the Spinal Cord Injury Ward at the Miami VA Medical Center. Members Bruce McManus, Eppie Ortiz, Joseph Jorge, Eladio Rivera, and James Boorman were accompanied by Miami Dolphins Brian Griese and Jeff Zgonina and Dolphins cheerleader Hennely Jiminez.

Members of Chapter 688 in Westfield, New Jersey, have visited the PTSD ward at the Lyons VA Hospital once a month for the past six years. It was no different on a recent visit when Joe McCourt, Bill Sinkowitz, and Rick Harrison joined Pete Hogaboom, Frank Chupko, Joyce Morway, Ken Boger, Tony Tichacek, and Ted Meadowcroftalong with chair Frank Cuccarobrought food and entertainment to the clients in the ward.


Hangar 850 at the Niagara Falls Air Force Base was the scene of a rousing Welcome Home for members of the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion when Buffalo, New York, Chapter 77's Color Guard led a procession welcoming the Army Reserve unit home from duty in Iraq. The ceremony had special meaning for chapter member and former Marine Adam Zlotek whose daughter Army Corporal Kimberly Jones carried the flag of the 402nd home.

Jerry Thompson, vice president of Tupelo, Mississippi, Chapter 842, presented a donation to Kelly Scott, who has taken it upon herself to send nearly a hundred packages a week to soldiers from the North Mississippi area who are serving in Iraq. If you would like to donate to this project, contact Chapter 842 at 662-862-9858 or 662-256-9662.

Chapter 875 in Oakland, Tennessee, commemorated Armed Forces Day at the Trinity United Methodist Church where chapter President Ed Stutler served as Master of Ceremonies, and Past President Barry Ryan was a featured speaker. The chapter also joined with others to watch the national satellite broadcast of the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Joseph Ingino was among nine members of Chapter 82 in Hicksville, New York, who visited troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., in early spring. Room by room and soldier by soldier, the Vietnam veterans greeted and spoke with all the wounded. Joining Ingino handing out magazines, phone cards, and other necessities were chapter president Paul Masi, vice president Carl Johnson, Bob Chiappone, Stan Kuchlewski, Nick Graziano, Frank Tobani, and Richie and Dianna Meyers.


Frankie L. Cousins, Sr., a member of Chapter 42 in Zanesville, Ohio, was recently transferred to the Noble Correctional Institute in Caldwell where there is no VVA chapter. Cousins reports that Chapter 42 was instrumental in placing the first permanent fixture in the Veterans Memorial Park in South Zanesville, in development since 1998. An AH-1 Cobra attack gunship was put into position on a concrete pad. The Cobra will be painted in Vietnam-era colors and insignia and will be part of what chapter member Jack Harris called "a tribute to all veterans of all services from all wars. It will be a place where kids and grandkids can come and see some historysee it, touch it and be part of it."

Chapter 691 in Merced, California, recently received approval from the county Board of Supervisors to expand the Memorial for Veterans of All Wars in Courthouse Park to include casualties from the war on terrorism. Billy D. Roberts reports that the chapter is responsible for the maintenance of the memorial and is spearheading the fund-raising drive to expand it.


Chapter 861 in Fort Dodge, Iowa, reports that in just its third year, the chapter scholarship program has awarded four $500 scholarships to Jennifer Nicole Sorenson, Benjamin John Fletcher, Jacob Olberding, and Michael Donald Ott. Chapter chaplain Leroy Dueker reports that the chapter raises the money for the program through raffles, donations, and an annual spaghetti supper

Geoffrey A. Colt of Chapter 325 in Peace Dale, Rhode Island, reports that the chapter has awarded $2,500 to five local high schools for scholarships. This is the 11th consecutive year the chapter has made these awards, totaling more than $26,000. Fund-raising for next year already has begun.

Karen Ballard of Chapter 20 in Rochester, New York, tells us that the chapter recently awarded one of its annual scholarships to Kristin Dentino, granddaughter of chapter member Augustine Dentino. Kristin attended Athena High School and plans to enroll at the State University of New York at Buffalo to study nursing. The second recipient, Kevin Eng, son of chapter member David Eng, graduated from Pittsford Mendon High School and will attend Pennsylvania State University and pursue a degree in Environmental Systms Engineering. Each recipient receives $500 per semester for four years as long as they maintain a 3.0 grade point


Alexander Savelov, president of the Afghanistan Veterans Union contingent of the Russian Federation, is asking for help from American Vietnam veterans in recognizing, understanding, and treating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and other issues facing Afghan veterans of the former Soviet Union. You can contact Savelov at Savelov says that "everyone who has been there [Afghanistan] will never forget it."



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