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

March/April 2005

Our members invest a great deal of time and commitment on a wide variety of projects and programs across the country. These activities reflect the character of our members who understand, perhaps more deeply than many, the promise never to abandon another generation of veterans.

Take Membership chair Robert D’Avanzo of Ross/Fallon Chapter 371 in the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan, who reports that his chapter donated study materials to the JMF Hebrew Temple in Jackson Prison. Two five-volume sets of The Chumash, a commentary on The Torah by Rabbinical Scholars, were presented to Rabbi Price by Community Service Chair Charles Woods, Chapter President Michael Connor-El, Melvin Anderson, vice president, and Treasurer Homer Crawford. “Community service,” D’Avanzo says, is the “essence of continuing as a ‘good soldier.’”

Will Schwartz, President of Chapter 650 in Catonsville, Maryland, reports that the chapter paid tribute to longtime VA employee Peter Valerio for his years of service to all veterans. On January 29, Chapter 650 sponsored a retirement luncheon for Valerio who served as a VA Rehab Counselor for years and helped countless veterans in need. Chapter 650 presented a VVA Life Membership in recognition of his “compassion, concern, and dedication to the service of veterans in need as they journey through life.”

Tim Susengill, Chair of the Veterans Incarcerated Committee for Pennsylvania, forwarded a letter from Barry Evans, a member of Chapter 679 in Huntingdom. Evans has been working with fellow veterans and prison staff to hold a ceremony at the state correctional institution each Veterans Day. For the last four years, Evans and the chapter have been presenting a moving ceremony that leaves, “grown men with tear-filled eyes.” This year, Father Koharchik, Chapter 697 President Richard Rogers, and Secretary Elsworth Groff presided over the ceremony, which was supported by the Holy Names Society and the Altar Rock Jaycees.

The Chapel Winds Choral Group offered patriotic songs. Robert Barnhart, director of the Chapel Winds Choral, conducted a 21-gun salute. Timothy Brown, Bernon Shank, and Samuel Wilkins were responsible for an “outstanding” sound system. If not for the help from Staff Adviser Paul Eggie, the ceremony honoring all veterans never would have happened. Army Major Eggie will find himself posted for duty in Iraq in later this summer.

West Haven, Connecticut, Chapter 647 in collected over 750 pounds of gifts for the 118th Medical Battalion currently serving Iraq. The chapter also held the 11th Annual POW/MIA Vigil, using the opportunity to educate the public about the fate of some 1,800 Americans still listed as POW/MIA from the Vietnam War. The vigil was held on the town green and lasted 36 hours.

Chapter 48 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, continues to support veterans at the VA Hospital in Hampton, Virginia. Most recently, chapter members and associates paid a Valentine’s Day visit, bringing coffee, donuts, cards, and toiletry bags for patents on sugar-restricted dies. The members also visited patients confined to the spinal cord injury and psychiatric wards, and met with ambulatory patients in the hospital’s lobby. The chapter sponsored a Bowl-a-Thon to raise funds to support this ongoing effort.

Members of South Bay Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach, California, volunteer every month to help run the VFW Bingo Nite at the Long Beach VA Hospital, with member Paul Verner stepping in to do the number calling most nights. Members also take part in he monthly cleaning of the Hermosa Beach Veterans Memorial, which the chapter helped design, raise funds for, and build ten years ago.



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Vietnam Veterans of America ® 
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