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

September/October 2005

I want to congratulate the Chapter and State Council delegates who came to Reno, thereby making it the largest Convention in VVA history. I also want to thank the delegates for supporting me and the other officers and directors who now constitute your national leadership. We look forward to working with the Conference of State Council Presidents (CSCP), the state councils, the chapters, and every member as we go forward to insure that all veterans receive the healthcare and compensation that they earned.

Although VVA dates back to 1978, in reality the VVA we know today began in 1981 when the first chapters were chartered. The state councils followed and the national Board of Directors began in 1983 at our first Convention. During these 27 years VVA has been in the forefront of the fight for veterans’ rights, including the battle to create judicial review with the creation of the Court of Veterans Appeals, the inclusion of presumptive conditions for compensation for certain Agent Orange-related illnesses, and the preservation of the Vet Centers for the treatment of PTSD. Unfortunately, we cannot rest on our laurels.

VVA is at a crossroads. One only has to read Fr. Phil’s obituary notices to understand that many of us may not have another 25 years. At the Convention it was agreed that we would work with veterans of more recent vintage to help them form their own organization so that they can pick up where we may leave off. But that does not mean we have completed our mission. There is much to be done, since it appears that veterans’ benefits are under attack.

While the CARES Commission’s work may yield a positive result, it seems that the driving force is to downsize veterans’ healthcare. The Veterans Disability Benefits Commission has just begun its work, but there are also concerns that its focus may be to cut back benefits. As for Congress, initial attempts to rein in the VA healthcare budget, as a cost-cutting measure, had to give way to the realities of the cost of care, especially since we are creating a whole new generation of veterans that will need the VA’s services. It’s therefore more important than ever that all of us—each member, chapter, state council, the CSCP, the National Board of Directors, and officers—form a united front to defeat these attempts to turn veterans into welfare recipients.

If the recent response by all levels of VVA to the disaster relief effort for Hurricane Katrina is any example, I have no doubt that our effort on behalf of veterans’ rights will be successful.

So, while VVA as an organization may not be able to retire, I know that many of our members will—or may already have—retired. If you are retired, I urge you to join us in our fight. Below my message is a “help wanted” ad of sorts. We are looking for veterans with particular skills and affiliations who are willing to help in our programs. We can’t pay you, but the work will be rewarding. We won’t even ask you to leave your home. Modern communications will allow you to participate through the Internet.

If you have some background in the areas we are looking for and can give us some time—even if you are not retired—please contact us. Your efforts also will be more than welcome, no matter what your background, at the chapter and state council levels. I thank you for your continued contributions and look forward to working with all of you.



Vietnam Veterans of America is building a national team of committed volunteers with skills and experience in the following areas:

Public Relations
Information Technology
Human Resources (Health-care benefits)
Non-profit Administration

Your help will be vital in our ongoing fight to secure veterans' rights and benefits across this country.

To volunteer, send your resume to:

Volunteers for VVA
Attn: John Rowan, President
Vietnam Veterans of America
8605 Cameron Street, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD  20910-3710

P.S. We also would like to identify VVA members and other Vietnam Veterans who are elected officials in all levels of government, as well as leaders in America's unions. Please contact us at the above address.


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