The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress
The Cold, Hard Truth
BY MARY MILLER, AVVA
Okay, guys and gals, let’s talk. Sometimes I really feel
like the push-me pull-me llama from Dr. Doolittle.
While the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America does
not mirror VVA, it was trained and organized by VVA. The
organizations separated through no fault of our own. We
started with what was in place in 1999. We have had to
overcome many obstacles, and we’re still gaining in our
No, we have no chapters.
No, we have no state councils. The states are
incorporated into Associations.
No, we do not give money back on a routine basis.
No, the officers and Board are not salaried.
No, we do not chase people away or demand to see their
membership cards to attend our meetings or to help in
projects. If we did, how many members would we have?
Yes, we have a legislative agenda; it’s on our website.
Nancy Switzer, legislative chair, is assembling a list
of legislative co-coordinators in each state.
Yes, we have our own scholarship funds. The grants do
not necessarily go to high scholastic achievers but also
to struggling students who are holding their heads high
and working hard at school.
Yes, we have, in the past, accredited service officers
who were trained to help veterans gain their rightful
Yes, we have many AVVA members who volunteer in many
capacities at the VA and donate their time toward VVA’s
Yes, we have homeless grants and help wherever we can.
AVVA has pitched in alongside VVA to help with hurricane
relief in the southern states. We will keep all victims
in our prayers and assist where we can.
BY KATHY ANDRAS
We are preparing for Affiliated Chapter
and State Representative elections. The candidates
applying for these positions must be aware of the
tremendous responsibilities that they will be
Until now, elections for the Affiliated Chapter
Representatives were held annually in April. It is now
up to AVVA members affiliated with VVA chapters to
decide if they would like to have elections every two
years or keep their elections every year. Whichever
they choose, the State Representative should be
Candidates must be at least 21 years old and a member
in good standing in AVVA with no pending disciplinary
action. Each candidate must provide a letter of intent
to the person in charge of running the election no
later than 60 days prior to the election. The forms,
requirements, and duties of the office of the
Affiliated Chapter Representative are found in the
AVVA Policy and Procedure Manual, Section Seven.
This is the year for State Representative elections.
They are held in odd-numbered years, with the
elections taking place between January 1 and June 30.
The candidate must be 21 years of age and either an
at-large regular member or a regular member affiliated
with a VVA chapter. To qualify, you must have been a
member for at least one year prior to the election and
have no pending disciplinary actions. The current
State Representative must receive a letter of intent
no later than 60 days prior to the election. Members
in the state will review the candidate’s letter of
The most important duty of a State Representative is
to be the link in the chain of communication to AVVA
national. The State Representative also keeps lines of
communication open with all members in the state, and
serves as the liaison between the state’s AVVA members
and the VVA State Council. The duties and forms for
this election are found in the AVVA Policy and
Procedure Manual, Section Seven.
Now is the time for us to focus on what our
organization is about. With ever-increasing budget
cuts and higher demands for health care services for
Vietnam War veterans and returning Iraqi and
Afghanistan War veterans, a strained VA will be
looking for new ways to cut health care costs. It is
our duty as Americans to see that no veteran is
forgotten and that our country keeps its promises to
those who put their lives on the line for us all.
Honoring Unselfish Service
This year’s Chapel of Four
Chaplains ceremony at Cape May’s Coast Guard facility
was bittersweet. The weather cooperated: Hurricane
Ophelia, which had been meandering off the coast,
wandered off to sea. The evening before, a vast white
moon had emerged from the Atlantic, silvering the
waves and those strolling the boardwalk.
The ceremony, as ever, was elegant and precise. Paul
Sutton of New Jersey and Jack Thomas of
Pennsylvania—both Chapel Humanitarian Award
recipients—read the citations that described the
jaw-dropping accomplishments of the current recipients
while AVVA President Mary Miller presented the awards
and AVVA’s Judy Bolio delivered remarks.
Then afterward, everyone met at Chapter 603’s hall for
“Sometimes, when people say a dinner, they mean a
sandwich,” said the chapter’s master of ceremonies,
Joe Cardone. “But when we say a dinner, we mean a
Since 1998, ever since the Chapel of Four Chaplains
started having its ceremony in Cape May, the chapter
has prepared a dinner honoring the award recipients
and their guests. It’s not a dinner, it’s a banquet:
lobster tails and prime rib, sausages and lasagne,
potatoes, and green beans, plus a whole spread of
salads and desserts.
It’s been a labor of love for Chapter 603—an expensive
labor, and one requiring a lot of hard work, but one
the members have enjoyed. This year the chapter
received an award—presented to chapter president John
Malinowski—recognizing that work.
If, over the years, the Coast Guard has provided the
site for the pomp and circumstance that attended the
Chapel of Four Chaplains ceremonies, it is Chapter 602
that provided the full-tilt family celebration.
But this year was the last time. Next year the
ceremony will be held at the refurbished Chapel of
Four Chaplains in Philadelphia. Use of the Coast
Guard’s facility had been temporary.
So this year, the volunteer cooks and servers of
Chapter 602 were especially anxious to set an extra
lobster tail, an extra link of spicy Italian sausage,
an extra ear of corn, or extra slice of apple pie on
everyone’s plate. It has been a labor, yes, but a
labor of love.
CLEGHORN, BYLAWS COMMITTEE CHAIR
AVVA bylaws may only be changed at the Biennial
Meeting. The next meeting will be held July 11-16,
2006, in Tucson. All changes must be submitted 120
days prior to the Meeting, March 4, 2006.
Now is the time to look at the bylaws and see if you
feel any changes need to be made. All suggested
changes should be sent to the AVVA, 8605 Cameron
St., Suite 400, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Attention:
Debby Cleghorn, Chair, AVVA Bylaws Committee.
Associates of Vietnam
Veterans of America, Inc.
Proposed Changes to the Bylaws Form
Must be submitted
no later than 120 prior to Meeting (March 4,
Please Print or
(Enter general wording of proposed change:
Exact text will be prepared by the Bylaws
Committee once approved by the Meeting
Reason for Proposed Change: (Use
additional pages if necessary.)
Date Received by AVVA National Bylaws
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