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

January/February 2005


Joe Jennings, executive director of the Buckeye (Ohio) State Council, shares a message of gratitude from a U.S. Marine, Maj. Brian Bresnahan, in Iraq who learned the lesson of Vietnam. “No matter what, you have to support the troops who are on
the line, who are risking everything,” Maj. Bresnahan said. “We treated them so poorly back then. When they returned was even worse. It is a national scar, a blemish on our country, an embarrassment to all of us.”

His essay concludes with a simple pledge: “But when I get back, I’m going to make it a personal mission to specifically thank every Vietnam vet I encounter for their sacrifices. Because if nothing else good came from that terrible war, one thing did. It was the lesson learned on how we treat our warriors.”

Sgt. Kelley L. Courtney, 28, of Macon, Georgia, was killed in Iraq November 1. He left behind a wife and two small children. During the funeral procession from the church to the cemetery, motorists pulled over to the side of the road, exited their vehicles, and rendered hand salutes as the hearse passed. The road was lined with hundreds of people, some holding American flags, others standing at attention and bearing silent witness.

Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America member William J. Burkamp, chaplain of Chapter 55 in Newark, Ohio, officiated at the services honoring LCPL Joseph Lee Nice, 19, killed in Iraq, August 4. The tribute took place at the Levi Phillips American Legion Post 85 in Newark. Members of Chapter 55 ringed the perimeter of the service to demonstrate their respect for a fellow warrior.

If you would like to correspond with someone in the military who is deployed overseas, go to and sign up for this free service.


At the January VVA Board of Directors meeting, “tsunami bars” were sold to raise money for victims in Thailand, to be administered by VVA staffer Suton Thumprasert, who is a leader of the Thai-American community

Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 continued to provide relief to those still displaced and distressed by the fall hurricanes in Florida. The chapter donated $3,300 and more than 3,500 pounds of clothing to the victims of Hurricanes Charlie, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne.


Brit Garner and three of her classmates have invited Florida State Council President Craig Tonjes to be a contributor to National History Day activities they are coordinating at Leon High School in Tallahassee in June. Garner explained in her invitation that she and her friends are very interested in looking at the impact of the Voice of America’s music during the Vietnam War. If you can help, contact Tonjes by e-mail at For more information about National History Day, go to


Chapter 77 in Buffalo, New York, and the Western New York Veterans Housing Coalition opened a satellite office for Veterans Employment Services in January. A grant was received from the U.S. Department of Labor Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program to provide training, education, and job placement activities in support of homeless veterans. The office is located at the Vietnam Veterans Museum in Tonawanda, New York. For more information, call Eric Nilson or Rick Wright at 716-882-6308.

Jim and Terry Blount of Virginia Tidewater Chapter 48 have taken on the daunting task of “adopting” a platoon in Iraq. The Blounts provide 34 men and three women with items that are either difficult for them to obtain or which help ease the tension and boredom. They have been joined by three local schools, several small businesses, and many friends in assembling packages of foodstuffs, toiletries, music and video discs, money, and cards. By Thanksgiving, the Blounts had mailed out more than 63 packages weighing over half a ton. Postage alone exceeded $800.

West Haven, Connecticut, Chapter 647 sponsored a Support the Troops collection. The drive netted 750 pounds of supplies, which were sent to the 118th Med. Bn. in Iraq.


Buffalo Chapter 77 announced that two chapter members have been appointed to the Advisory Board of the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College. Patrick W. Welch, president of Chapter 77, and Tom Konopka, Director of Business Development to the Advisory Board, look forward to their participation in the programs offered by the Business Center. Welch is vice president and chief operating officer of an international software services firm headquartered in Williamsville, New York. Konopka is a consultant to the medical device industry.

Beaver County Chapter 862 recently held its annual Awards Dinner Dance. Lee Corfield was declared Vietnam Veteran of the Year, and Blaine Allinder received the President’s Award for Outstanding Service. Phyllis Weiss was AVVA Member of the Year, and Pete Petrosky received the John Namath Distinguished Service Award.


Richard Early reports on the Massachusetts Tribute to Vietnam Veterans, commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War, 1975-2005. The event was co-sponsored by the VVA Massachusetts State Council, the Foundation for the Advancement of Vietnam Veterans, and the Leominster Elks Lodge. Former Regional Director Early said Vietnam veterans remember all who served. A special edition of The Boston Herald saluting Medal of Honor recipients reported an old soldier saying, “The older brother of World War II would rely on the public embrace they received. A generation later the men and women of Vietnam came home from a deeply unpopular war and were largely ignored.”


Ohio State Council Incarcerated Staff Representative of the Year Bill Homer presented a check for $500 from VVA Chapter 616 in Mansfield Correctional Institution to the “Relay for Life Team” of Richland County to promote and increase breast cancer awareness. Joining Homer in the presentation ceremony was Alice Cain, a breast cancer survivor, and Warden Margaret Bradshaw.


Buffalo Chapter 77 has established the Peter P. Tycz II Memorial Scholarship in honor and memory of Tonawanda native U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant First Class Tycz, who was killed in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, in 2002. The chapter chose Tycz in recognition of his involvement in the community, his devotion to his family and country, and exemplary military service. The scholarship is designed for a graduating high school senior. Writing about the scholarship, chapter president Pat Welch quoted Albert Einstein: “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”

Chapter 100 in Athens, Ohio, has distributed more than $12,000 in scholarships to college-bound children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has named Christopher F. Randolph the new president and chief executive officer of the non-profit, tax-exempt corporation that raises scholarship money for children of active-duty and former Marines. Randolph served in the Marine Corps from 1967-70, including service as executive officer and commanding officer of Mortar Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marines, in Vietnam and in Okinawa between 1969-70. Following active duty, he served as a U.S. senatorial staff assistant.


For nearly 13 years, Miami, Florida, Chapter 121 has volunteered at the Miami VAMC. Typically, chapter members bring candy, cookies, and chips to the patients in the Spinal Unit and coffee and donuts to the PTSD and Addiction Wards. For a change, chapter members decided to bring something different: eye candy. Four Hooters girls visited patients in the Spinal Unit. They also brought three hundred chicken wings, which left plenty for the residents of the other wards.

Mississippi Ray Strength Chapter 842 members, led by Bill West and Jamie Ellis, made a Christmas visit to the Mississippi Veterans Home in Oxford.

Brian Mulcrone reports that Chicago Northwest Suburbs Chapter 311 sponsored a Veterans Day event that featured the award-winning documentary, Be Good, Smile Pretty, by Tracy Droz Tragos, who received a VVA Excellence in the Arts award at the 2003 National Convention in St. Louis.

After the area around Junior, West Virginia, suffered the ravages of floods, members of Barbour County Chapter 37 jumped on the chance to help their neighbors. Cheryl Savage and her husband, Larry, joined Jack and Angie Raines and Charles Mitchum to distribute blankets to the local emergency squad for use by other first-responders in the area.


Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 862 held a Life Membership Drive and signed up 34 new life members. The chapter elected to underwrite half the cost of the memberships.

Public Affairs chair Sarah Thompson reports that Ray Strength Chapter 842 in Northeastern Mississippi recently recruited three new VVA members and one new AVVA member. Vietnam veterans Tommy Hall, Billy Holly, Thomas Edwards, and his wife, Jean, became members of VVA.

Stephen Murray, vice president of Chapter 100 in Athens, Ohio, proudly displays the Vietnam Service ribbon on the tail of his private aircraft.


The Virtual Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University now provides free access to more than 12,000 documents (one million pages) of official U.S. Marine Corps documents from 1954-1975. These materials are available to anyone with Internet access; there is no registration fee. For additional information, contact Stephen Maxner, Archivist and Associate Director, The Vietnam Archive in Lubbock, Texas, at 806-742-9010 or e-mail The archive web site is



Visit The VVA Veteran archives
to locate back issues.

E-mail us at

     Home | Membership | Publications | Events | Government Relations | Contact Us
Press Releases | Benefits | Meetings & Special Events | Collectibles | Contributions and Sponsorships | Site Index

Vietnam Veterans of America ® 
8605 Cameron Street, Suite 400
Silver Spring, Maryland  20910-3710
301-585-4000, Fax 301-585-0519, 1-800-VVA-1316  

Copyright © 2005 by the Vietnam Veterans of America. All rights reserved.