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

October/November 2004

Heroes In Kids Eyes


The Veterans Against Drugs Task Force has just come off its very successful Leadership Conference in Nashville. Those of you who could not attend the conference missed a great demonstration. Thanks to Dave and Elaine Simmons, the whole VAD committee, especially Deborah King-Williams, and VVA chapters in Tennessee, we recruited a dozen Boy Scouts and their leaders for a VAD lesson. They didn't know what was going to happen, but they were great. We were fortunate to have many different VAD locations pitch in and give ideas and demonstrate techniques with the Boy Scouts. The session flew by.

We were there about an hour and a half and it felt like a half-hour. This was also the first time that we had many spectators show up, and we didn't lose a single person during the seminar. It proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are many VVA and AVVA members interested in America's youth. 

We were also extremely fortunate to have Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch  appear as a special presenter. Gary is one of those special people who never stops giving back. He took time from his private life to come to the Leadership Conference and speak at the seminar. He is a guidance counselor at a middle school. Always giving of his wisdom and faith, he has become a true friend of the VAD program.

In order to demonstrate this program to those who could not attend the Leadership Conference, the VAD Committee is offering to go to state council meetings and regional meetings to put on demonstrations. If you are interested, please contact Herb Worthington at to discuss and plan a demonstration.

After the seminar, the Scouts posed for pictures with us and asked Gary to sign the VAD caps we presented to them as thanks for participating in the program. They went to many other veterans in the lobby and asked for their autographs also. I was puzzled. I inquired why they wanted everyone's signature, and I was told that we are heroes in those kids' eyes.

Due to budget constraints this year, we have had to cancel three conventions and conferences we were scheduled to attend. We will try to go next year. The Latino Police Association, the Purple Heart Association, and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard all offered us display space at their meetings. As the program expands into different areas, we promote VVA, AVVA, and our committees and services. We have found that Vietnam veterans are more respected then ever before. People are interested in our personal stories. They are judging us on our merit and knowledge. That is exactly how the VAD program also is spreading.

In order to fund and expand this program, you need to tell us what you are doing with the VAD in your area. Send photos. We will be sending out a survey sheet to everyone who has a VAD kit. Helping us will help you. Without your help and input, this program cannot continue.

Through community service and the desire to help our nation's young people stay off drugs and away from violence and gangs, we are making a difference. Now that many of us are grandparents, we have another generation to worry about, one that we can help. So don't just sit there; help a kid. In helping, you are helping yourself in more ways than you can imagine.

Contact us today for information on how to get started in your area with a VAD program. If you already have one going and want to brag a little, tell us about yourself and the people involved. Show everyone how successfully the program is working. This is your time to shine.


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