The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress
November/December 2005
FEATURE
 
 

A Job Well Done
Chapter 685's Scholarship Program
 

BY MICHAEL KEATING

It started when Roland Castanie, a professional artist and teacher in Texas City, Texas, asked VVA member Robert Rodriguez if he kept any memorabilia from the Vietnam War. Rodriguez loaned him his old boots, boonie hat, and dog tags. “I want to do something for your chapter,” Castanie said.

He arranged to attend the next meeting of Galveston County Chapter 685. Arriving early, he set up a covered easel in the front of the room. Chapter President James Rose introduced him. Castanie spoke briefly and then unveiled his careful rendering of Rodriguez’s boots, hat, and tags. The title read, “ ‘Job Well Done, Brother.’”

“It was breathtaking. Overwhelming,” said Rose.

“My best friend,” Castanie explained, “was Robert Dale Spencer. We were both artists. I went to college; he went to Vietnam. I made it back from college, but he never returned from Vietnam.”

Castanie offered to donate the illustration to the chapter if the members would set up a scholarship fund in Spencer’s name. It was an offer Chapter 685 was quick to accept.

The artwork was reproduced on high-quality paper and sales—mostly to Vietnam veterans—made the first scholarship competition possible. The competition was open to all high school seniors in Galveston County. Applicants were required to submit one piece of artwork related to patriotism, veterans, or the active military.

Last Memorial Day, Chapter 685 presented the Robert Dale Spencer Scholarship to three aspiring young artists. The first-place award was $500; the second, $300; and the third, $200. The original “Job Well Done, Brother” is on permanent loan to the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial at Angel Fire in New Mexico.

“There’s a pleasure,” Rose said, “in helping young people who are the same age we were when we went to war. And there’s a satisfaction in watching the pride light up in the eyes of veterans when they first see the image.”

Recently Castanie, now an AVVA member, returned to Chapter 685 with four new prints.

Those prints are available in reproduction. Castanie also provided 50 sets of artist’s proofs.

The chapter hopes these gifts will double the number of awards next year. Any additional money will be spent on veterans’ projects.

“I like what you’re doing,” said Castanie.

To order prints, contact VVA Chapter 685 at 281-991-1467 or jhr0545@houston.rr.com Individual prints retail for $10. Packages are available.

   

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