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

October/November 2004
Veterans Incarcerated Committee Report

Chapter 616: Still Serving


Joe Jennings comes to the committee from the Buckeye state of Ohio where he serves as the executive director of the State Council. Two years ago during a conversation with Lee Fisher, Ohio State Council president, I expressed a desire to have Joe on this committee. Lee, who has always been a supporter of the committee, was so obliging that he sent Jim Doute along with Joe. They both have been tremendous assets to this committee.

Out of the dozen incarcerated chapters throughout the state, Chapter 616, the Thomas Davis, Jr., Memorial Chapter from Mansfield Correctional Institute, has set a standard of helping the community within and the community outside.

Joe writes the following:

The chapter that I am about to introduce you to, though small in numbers (23), has by example brought new meaning to VVA’s founding principle: “In Service to America.”

The VVA Thomas Davis, Jr., Memorial Chapter 616 at Mansfield Correctional Institute in Mansfield, Ohio, has continued to set high standards with their projects. They continue to give back to their adopted communities from one end of the state to the other. These few paragraphs don’t do true justice to the effort and commitment that these veterans have put into their resources, and fundraisers. Their unselfish staff advisers are William Homer (U.S. Navy Ret.), Randy Roose (U.S.M.C.), and Don Berry (U.S. Army). Chapter 616 purchased 46 tickets from the Cleveland Indians to take 36 children from the Hanna Neil Center and 10 staff members to watch the Tribe take on the Oakland As in 2003. The Hanna Neil Center helps abused children in Ohio. The chapter felt this would be great therapy for these traumatized children.

In September 2003, the chapter received a second Letter of Recognition from Ron Edwards, the Ohio Director of Veterans Affairs, to acknowledge the chapter’s veteran and community-service accomplishments.

In January of this year, Chapter 616 delivered more than one hundred pounds of canned goods to the Joseph House of Cincinnati for homeless veterans. Chapter 616 also donated $1,500 in September 2003 to the Joseph House to help homeless veterans.

In February, Chapter 616 donated $500 to the Ohio State University Psychology Student Education Program. With this partnership, we hope to complete a study of PTSD and the veteran incarcerated.

In conclusion, the veterans of Chapter 616 are still serving. Being an incarcerated chapter, the membership easily could have thought of only themselves. However, this group of veterans chose to think of their brothers and sisters instead. They believe in veterans helping veterans, whether they be past, present, or future.

Since Joe wrote this article, the following newsworthy items have come to my attention. After three years of not giving up, the hard work has paid off. The Deputy Director of Prisons has authorized every institution in the state to fly the POW/MIA flag. Chapter 616 at Mansfield Correctional will do so in a ceremony honoring Keith Matt Maupin for his duty and dedication.

Chapter 616 has been awarded the Veterans Incarcerated Chapter of the year and staff adviser William Homer was named Staff Adviser of the Year by the Buckeye State Council. Both plaques were on display at the Mayor’s Office of Mansfield for community awareness.


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