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

November/December 2005
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Doing More For Veterans
BY JOHN ROWAN

Recently a member e-mailed me about his chapter. He felt that while the chapter has been growing and doing community service, it could be doing more for veterans. When he challenged his chapter’s leadership, they asked for suggestions. Since I believe that his concerns are not unique, I’ve decided to share with you my response to him.

Dear Vet,
I want to thank you for your e-mail. I wish all of our chapters would communicate with us in such an open fashion. All of us in VVA at every level have a primary goal, which is to help veterans. Chapters are very important in this effort, since you are the ones in direct contact with our veterans. The activities of your chapter are not unusual; many chapters are involved in community affairs, which, as noted, have gone a long way toward improving the image of Vietnam veterans. However, we at National would like to see your chapter’s efforts ratcheted up a bit.

Unfortunately, all veterans are not aware of all of the benefits that they have earned. For example, many in-country Vietnam veterans are not aware that if they have certain diseases, such as diabetes or prostate cancer, they are entitled to service-connected compensation. The VA has approved these presumptive diseases only in recent years.

Many veterans do not go to the VA for their healthcare and do not belong to a veterans’ organization. Your chapter could help these veterans by going into the community and informing them. This could be done in conjunction with the state veterans agency, if your chapter does not have any Service Representatives.

Your chapter may also consider sending one of its members to Service Representative’s School. Perhaps there is a recently retired veteran who might be willing to do some volunteer work on behalf of his or her comrades? While it is true that veterans should help themselves, we all need an advocate when we deal with the VA.

We at National are working on an outreach effort that we hope to have available next year, which will educate the medical community—doctors and nurses—about the medical problems of veterans. This program will require the effort of all of our chapters if it is to succeed.

On the VVA website www.vva.org you will find all of the Resolutions approved by the member-delegates at our National Convention in August. Additionally, the next issue of The VVA Veteran will include a summary of those Resolutions by Fred Elliott, the Resolutions Committee chair. They include dozens of different issues that need attention. I am sure that within these Resolutions are issues that will stir the interest of your members. Again, without the work of the members operating within a chapter with the support of the state councils, VVA cannot achieve any of its goals.

I ask your chapter to keep up the good work, but consider taking on some new projects. My best wishes to you and your chapter.


 

 

VOLUNTEER FOR VVA

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

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

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
or jrowan@vva.org

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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