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

May/June 2005


Members of Texarkana, Texas, Chapter 278 hosted the chapter’s sixth annual Veterans Information Fair at the local American Legion post on May 21, Armed Forces Day. On hand were representatives from the VA Medical Center in Shreveport, the VA Outpatient Clinic in Texarkana, and the Texarkana Vet Center, along with representatives from the Texas Veterans Land Board, Texas Work Force, the Social Security Administration, and the American Red Cross. The chapter also will conduct a voter registration drive for Arkansas and Texas residents.

Central Georgia Chapter 946 in Forsyth, which received its VVA charter last November, has hit the ground running. Chapter members have raised funds to help a local National Guard unit serving in Iraq and joined with members of Chapter 443 in Macon and the Georgia State Council in raising funds for a Chapter 443 member who lost his house. “We will never forget our brothers in arms,” said chapter member Mike Lewis.

Mike Demske, president of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, Chapter 731, took part in his first two-day Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Board meeting in April. “It was really nice to see about seventy people all working for the betterment of Wisconsin veterans,” he said. And chapter members took part in the day-long Education Day at Lincoln High School on April 15.

Bergen County Chapter 800 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, co-sponsored a Pancake Breakfast at the Waterfront Cafe on April 17 to benefit the families of Army National Guard troops deployed from Teaneck Armory.

Tampa Bay, Florida, Chapter 787 raised $619 during its two-day Poppy Drive in February. Chapter members Bud Ortelt, Jim LaGarde, Tom Damm, Ron Schott, Dale Wagner, Carl Harris, and John Tollinchi sold patriotic ribbons, car magnets, and poppy flowers outside a local Publix store.

St. Paul, Minnesota, Chapter 320 ran the concession at the 2005 Forest Lake Ice Fishing Contest and netted $5,500. The effort marked the chapter’s most successful fund-raising effort, a tribute to the hard work of members, AVVA members, chapter scholarship recipients, and friends of the chapter who made up the sales crew. Chapter member Tom Dunne, a Command Sergeant Major in the Army Reserves who served for 30 months in Vietnam, was called to active duty in February. He is serving as a coordinator of military and civilian disaster relief for homeland security.

Fred Buhler, a member of Grass Valley, California, Chapter 535, was honored for his work as a civilian adviser in Iraq by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. Buhler, a retired international banker, went to Iraq in April 2003 and helped establish a Central Bank with the aid of local officials and advisers. When he came home, Buhler founded Nevada County Friends of the Military to help support overseas service personnel and their families.

At their March meeting, members of Tonawanda, New York, Chapter 77 heard a program presented by LTC Hugh Van Roosen and other members of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion, which is based in Tonawanda. The program consisted of a look at the 402nd’s tour of duty in Iraq from December 2002 to April 2004. The unit took part in the restoration of public facilities, communications, and governmental services, and helped provide humanitarian assistance.


Chapter 751 in Lawton, Oklahoma, is involved in several ongoing community- service projects. That includes collecting children’s shoes—more than a hundred pair so far—for a school being built in Iraq by the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 278th Regimental Combat Team. Chapter members regularly attend homecoming ceremonies at nearby Ft. Sill, mainly for troops returning from Southwest Asia who serve with the Arkansas National Guard. “There are a lot of soldiers from other areas of the country, and it is too far for their families to come to Ft. Sill to meet them,” Chapter First Vice President Billy R. Nash said, “and they are very grateful that other veterans are there to meet them. Whether it is two o’clock in the morning or mid-afternoon, there are several members of Chapter 751 present.”

Chapter 616, the Thomas Davis Memorial Chapter at Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio, presented a $500 check to the Relay for Life late last year. The money will help with a breast-cancer awareness campaign. The chapter also is co-sponsoring a POW/MIA remembrance at the Cleveland Indians game September 16 at Jacobs Field.

Members of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, Chapter 101 took part in their thrice-yearly (spring, summer, and fall) Adopt-A-Highway Program on May 7. Members helped clean up along a local highway right-of-way with members of another local VSO.

San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston receives some 60 percent of its annual revenue, much of which goes toward community service projects, from concession sales it runs at Rice University baseball games. The work is done by chapter members and other volunteers. This year the group consisted of Carlos Uresti, Carlos Chapa, Henry Rutledge, Ralph Seitsinger, Steve Jaffe, Wolf Biedenfeld, William Brown, Dietrich Biedenfeld, Cathy Uresti, Alonzo Chapa, Earl Bennett, Bob Hopkins, Jim Dennis, David Chuber, Rose Martinez, and Gilbert Martinez.

The color guard from Rock River Chapter 236 in Janesville, Wisconsin, marched in the Beloit St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was held March 13. Following the parade, the chapter’s Funeral Squad held its certification and refresher training.


Chapter 310 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has raised some $80,000 in the last seven years for the perpetual care fund for
the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ypsilanti. At its most recent fund-raiser at the UAW Local Union Hall on March 19, which featured a silent auction and a performance by singer and songwriter Michael J. Martin, the chapter had a record crowd and brought in more than $6,100. “Special thanks goes to Gary Lillie for bringing Michael Martin up from Nashville,” said Chapter President John Kinzinger. “This is a continuation of our commitment to see to it that the veterans listed on our memorial will never be forgotten.”

Jon Tressler, Robert Brown, Bob Emme, and other members of Rushville, Indiana, Chapter 889 helped the Rush County Veterans Memorial Foundation in April in an effort to place new flags on poles that will be flown on the streets of Rushville.


Members of PFC Bruce W. Carter Miami Dade County Chapter 121 in Florida recently participated in a veterans appreciation event put on by the third-grade students at Cutler Ridge Elementary School. Chapter President Bruce McManus gave a talk on patriotism and past president Eppie Ortiz spoke on the meaning of the Purple Heart. McManus gave the class a shadow box containing four Vietnam War medals and a framed copy of the Medal of Honor citation for the chapter’s namesake, the only South Floridian who received the nation’s highest award for gallantry in the Vietnam War. The students gave the chapter a $300 donation, the money raised from a candy bar sale.

U.S. Army Special Forces Master Sergeant John L. Conley, a member of Chapter 49 in Pleasantville, New York, began active service in June 1967. His latest assignment was a six-month tour in Afghanistan. Sgt. Conley, while home on leave, recently spoke to students at Iona College about political and cultural events in Afghanistan today. In other news, the chapter in April awarded six $500 scholarships.

Galveston County, Texas, Chapter 685 is selling prints of “Job Well Done, Brother,” a drawing by a local artist whose best friend, Robert Spencer of Texas City, was killed in Vietnam. Proceeds from the sale of the $16 print are used to fund the chapter’s Robert Spencer Memorial Scholarship program, which goes to deserving seniors from all of the high schools in the county. To order, send a check or money order made out to Chapter 685 to Jim Rose, 4307 Winterbourne Dr., Pasadena, TX 77505.

Appleton Area (Wisconsin) Chapter 351 recently received a $1,750 donation from Sam’s Club in Appleton. Chapter President Leon Meidam said that $1,000 will go to an area scholarship fund and the balance will go to the chapter’s education program.



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