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

November/December 2005

The Cold, Hard Truth


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 efforts.

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 benefits.

Yes, we have many AVVA members who volunteer in many capacities at the VA and donate their time toward VVA’s goal.

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.

Election Report

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 assuming.

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 notified.

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 intent.

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 dinner.

“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 banquet.”

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.


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

Section Affected:




Related Sections:








Must be submitted no later than 120 prior to Meeting (March 4, 2006).


Please Print or Type

Proposed Change: (Enter general wording of proposed change: Exact text will be prepared by the Bylaws Committee once approved by the Meeting delegates.)

Reason for Proposed Change: (Use additional pages if necessary.)


Submitted by: Date:
Chapter Affiliation Number: State Council:

Date Received by AVVA National Bylaws Committee:


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Vietnam Veterans of America ® 
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