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  • The VVA Veteran: Annual Committee Report: Membership Affairs
    Government Affairs TAPS Region 9 Report Constitution Committee Report Convention Resolutions Committee Report Veterans Incarcerated Membership Affairs Credentials Committee Report Veterans Health Care PTSD Substance Abuse POW MIA Affairs Veterans Benefits Agent Orange Dioxin Women Veterans Minority Affairs Annual Committee Report Government Affairs ETABO Public Affairs Elections Committee Report Homeless Veterans Books In Review Membership Notes Locator Reunions AVVA Report Calendar PAST ISSues 2010 Jan Feb 2009 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2008 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec March April 2009 ANNUAL COMMITTEE REPORT Membership Affairs BY BILL MEEKS JR CHAIR The VVA Membership Affairs Committee as required by the VVA National Board of Directors provides this yearly report on the Membership Resolutions to the membership M 1 95 Verification and Security of DD Form 214 Vietnam Veterans of America requires that all applicants for individual membership in VVA provide a copy of their DD Form 214 or other acceptable documentation establishing eligibility for membership These documents are to be kept at the local level in a confidential and secure manner in accordance with the provisions of the VVA Constitution Verification to the national organization shall be done by the local chapter secretary or in the absence of the secretary a designated chapter official All DD 214s for life members or veterans incarcerated members that are sent to the VVA Membership Department as required by the VVA Constitution are entered into the VVA database and then destroyed The VVA database is under password and behind locked doors in the VVA office and all information in the database is backed up and stored at a secure off

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/membaff.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Credentials Committee Report: Getting On The Floor
    the seating of said delegates in accordance with the VVA Constitution MEMBERSHIP The Credentials Committee shall consist of the nine VVA Regional Directors and a chair nominated by the VVA National President and approved by the VVA National Board of Directors The national staff liaison for this committee will be the Director of Membership CREDENTIALING 1 The VVA member strength as of February 28 of the Convention year shall determine both the chapter and state council delegate count for that year s Convention in accordance with Article I Section 6 paragraph E National Conventions of the VVA Constitution 2 No transfers of VVA members shall be authorized between 90 days prior to the start of the Convention and the end of Convention Transfers for the purpose of starting new VVA chapters or transfers into a different chapter when a member changes residence may continue 3 If VVA national has not received a copy of a state council s or a chapter s annual financial report that state council or chapter s delegates will not be credentialed They will not be allowed on the Convention floor until the annual financial report has been received Annual financial reports may be turned in at the Convention Suggestion Have a copy of your financial report with you in Louisville 4 If VVA national has not received a copy of a state council s or a chapter s annual election report that state council or chapter s delegates will not be credentialed They will not be allowed on the Convention floor until the annual election report has been received Annual election reports may be turned in at the Convention Suggestion Have a copy of your election report with you in Louisville 5 All chapters and state councils will have filed with the appropriate state agency or office in their state commonwealth or territory any report necessary to maintain their corporate status as a non profit corporation in good standing This will have been confirmed by the State Council President If there is any delinquency in any required filings that state council or chapter s delegates will not be credentialed until all required filings have been made current 6 New delegates who are attending their first VVA Convention must attach a copy of their DD Form 214 to their Convention registration form Delegates who attended VVA conventions in 1999 2001 2003 2005 and 2007 or are Life Members or State Council Presidents do not need to attach a copy of their DD Form 214 All delegates are encouraged to have a copy of their DD Form 214 with them at the Convention to help answer potential credentialing questions 7 When a chapter elects not to send delegates it may transfer the delegate votes to other eligible VVA members in good standing from any chapter in its state or to the state council If a state council elects not to send a delegate it may transfer the delegate vote to another eligible VVA member in good standing

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/credentials.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Annual Committee Report: Veteran's Health Care
    AVVA Report Calendar PAST ISSues 2010 Jan Feb 2009 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2008 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec March April 2009 ANNUAL COMMITTEE REPORT Veteran s Health Care BY PAT BESSIGANO CHAIR The Veterans Health Care Committee continues to identify issues and needs relevant to the well being of veterans and their families In accomplishing these goals we are educating veterans and their families to maintain medical records when they use private health care facilities Some veterans have had excellent insurance benefits while working Now that they have retired their benefits may not be as good or they may not have any benefits at all As a result many veterans are looking to the VA to see if they qualify for benefits or help with medication In some cases these veterans would have been or could be eligible for compensation but medical documentation is needed to complete an application for benefits If veterans have not maintained their private health care medical records they cannot show the progress of symptoms or illness since the completion of their military service In advising the newest generation of veterans we try to educate them so that they do not make the same mistakes our generation made We also are working on influencing the private health care sector to take complete military histories of patients so that documentation will be there for veterans as they progress through life Every day illnesses are added to the presumptive list and these medical histories will be vital to veterans if their illnesses are added later Education and communication will be facilitated through

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/vhc.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Annual Committee Report: PTSD & Substance Abuse
    initiate improve and expand the mental health and substance abuse resources and programs for our nation s veterans as directed by committee resolutions PTSD 1 95 PTSD 2 95 PTSD 3 95 PTSD 5 95 PTSD 4 99 PTSD 1 05 and PTSD 2 05 In doing so the committee also focused on raising awareness about PTSD TBI MST PTSD 6 03 and PTSD 10 07 suicide and related mental health and substance abuse issues through its testimony on the Hill public presentations educational outreach media interviews as well as through partnerships with other veterans service organizations such as the Veterans of Modern Warfare the Student Veterans of America and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America PTSD 7 01 Several of the resolutions were modified appropriately and adopted by the VVA Board of Directors for inclusion in VVA s 2009 Legislative Agenda The Committee sponsored two seminars by Dr Matt Freidman Director of the National Center for PTSD at the 2008 Leadership Conference and reprinted its PTSD and Suicide Risk and Prevention brochures thanks to the generosity of the Government Affairs Committee Two Committee members continued to represent VVA on the VA s Substance Abuse Quality Assurance and Research Initiative Executive Committee and the former Committee chair represented VVA on several other government and agency committees including the VA s Committee for the Care for the Severely Mentally Ill the VA s Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative Executive Committee and its Depression Subcommittee the VA s South Central Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center the National Leadership Forum on Behavioral Health Criminal Justice Services and the Steering Committee for the National Trauma Campaign of the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration None of the accomplishments noted above would have been possible without the support encouragement and help of PTSD SA Committee members and the cooperation of the VVA Women Veterans Homeless Veterans Health Care Government Affairs and Veterans Incarcerated Committees along with the VVA Government Relations staff the VVA Communications and IT Departments and the VVA officers board members and staff The PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee Dr Tom Berger former Chair Fr Phil Salois Vice Chair Members Randy Bane Pat Bessigano Liz Cannon Tony Catapano Bob Corsa Marsha Four Sandy Miller Dr Ed Ryan Jim Shott and Dan Stenvold Special Advisors Kathy Andras Kathleen Aylward Barnes Suzanne Blohm Weber Frances Cartier Donna Marie Crowell Felicea Catapano Dee Hagge Dr Paul Harrigan Diane Kuhn Nicholson Mary Miller and Nancy Switzer Members in Memoriam Randy Doc Barnes Steve Mason and Lynda Van Devanter Staff Liaison Mokie Pratt Porter FROM THE NEW COMMITTEE CHAIR Welcome Home My name is Tom C Hall I am a Vietnam veteran and founding life member of VVA Chapter 317 in Kansas City Missouri and the new Chair of VVA s PTSD Substance Abuse Committee Because PTSD is both a personal and family experience it s only right that I tell you a little about myself I began working on my own

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/ptsd.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Annual Committee Report: POW/MIA Affairs
    CHAIR All organizations pick time frames to measure their success We look at benchmarks and goals and try to measure how well we have done over some period of time VVA is no different and certainly owes its membership progress reports PM 3 95 Declassification of Information Work continues on this resolution The effects of this effort vary depending on administration policies security needs and the responsibility we use in working with DPMO and JPAC I believe our relationship with these organizations is excellent and this committee intends to preserve that PM 7 95 Possibility of Live POWs The committee has worked with JPAC and asks for updates on case files frequently Additionally we remind all Vietnamese veterans and government groups that we hold the issue of last known alive personnel to be of top priority Our Veterans Initiative Program keeps this as a top priority in its trips to Southeast Asia PM 8 95 Fullest Possible Accounting This is the real bread and butter of the committee The Veterans Initiative Program continues to be an active effort to recover the missing from both sides throughout Southeast Asia and in Ukraine with former Soviet SAM advisor witnesses The U S Department of Defense and the people of the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense and our counterparts the Veterans Association of Viet Nam all are working with us in this effort PM 9 95 Americans Missing in Laos and Cambodia The VI team has focused efforts on our Laotian mission this past two years The work continues there and in Cambodia satisfactorily PM 11 99 Honoring Returned POWs VVA supported S 848 and HR 1179 the Prisoner of War Benefits Act and improvements to existing legislation These have now passed and become law PM 13 01 POW MIA Flag Efforts continue to

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/powmia.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Annual Committee Report: Veteran's Benefits
    on legislation to refine rewrite or make changes in VA disability ratings VB 5 95 still needs work and will remain active VB 8 95 remains viable The committee is looking to combine resolutions VB 7 95 and VB 10 95 and VB 10 95 and VB 11 95 VB 13 95 deals with VVA making service representation our No 1 priority More work is required to accomplish this goal VB 1 95 Judicial Review Until the new law which only partially removed the fee limit and which created the U S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is further amended the resolution remains viable VB 2 95 Boards of Correction of Military Records We recommend that this resolution be retired It is a no win resolution that will never be accepted by Congress VVA would do better by putting together a simple brochure on how to correct military records and make it available for membership and for outreach VB 3 95 Less Than Honorable Administrative Discharges We recommend that this be retired This also is a no win resolution that will never be accepted by Congress VVA would do better in putting together a brochure on administrative upgrade discharges which are also covered in the Veterans Benefits Manual for service reps and have it available for membership and for outreach VB 4 95 DVA Overpayments This resolution should be retired because of the enactment of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1999 as well as the Debt Management Center on the VA web page which seems to be reaching out to veterans with information about their rights when a debt is owed to the federal government You can t hide from Uncle Sam VB 5 95 Civil Liberties of Active Duty Military Personnel This resolution should be retired or revised We do not know how many Vietnam veterans are still on active duty since this resolution was adopted in 1995 If it is not retired perhaps it can be rewritten and updated for current veterans on active duty VB 6 95 Just Compensation for Injuries Sustained by Active Duty Military Personnel This is perhaps an issue that can be brought to the attention of the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission which is studying disability compensation and will be making recommendations to Congress and the President However we need considerable research to shape and support our contention that this remains a significant problem for veterans VB 7 95 Class Actions at U S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Before the Veterans Judicial Review Act was enacted VVA was able to help veterans in the federal courts by filing class action lawsuits The Act is silent on such cases and the U S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims provides no rules for class action lawsuits Combine with VB 9 95 VB 8 95 VA Implementation of Decisions Rendered by the U S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims This resolution remains viable VB 9 95 Veterans Benefits and Services Combine

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/vetben.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Annual Committee Report: Agent Orange/Dioxin
    to claim a piece of the 180 million settlement with makers of the chemical in 1984 In 2006 the Supreme Court deadlocked 4 4 on whether those lawsuits could proceed The appeals court ultimately said no to both In one case the court said companies are shielded from lawsuits brought by U S military veterans or their relatives because the law protects government contractors in certain circumstances who provide defective products In the third suit the appeals court ruled that the companies could transfer claims from state to federal courts Gerson Smoger the attorney who has been working on this issue pro bono e mailed the following As many of you know I have been working on the Agent Orange issue since 1991 when I was first asked by Adm Zumwalt to assist the Agent Orange Coordinating Council The Council comprised of a broad array of veterans groups was established to do two things 1 to try to get benefits from the government for diseases caused by Agent Orange and 2 to try to get compensation from the chemical companies for exposing our veterans to the toxic dioxin that was in their 2 4 5 T As of January 1991 not a single disease was recognized for compensation by the U S government While not all of the diseases we believe were caused by the Agents are being compensated today I believe we have come a long way since 1991 in getting the U S government to provide compensation for many veterans and their families However we received very distressing news regarding the lawsuits we filed against the companies who were truly responsible for the Agent Orange tragedy The U S Supreme Court refused to take our request for certiorari in the Agent Orange cases To put the Supreme Court s refusal to review the case in perspective I will briefly detail below the extent of the companies malicious conduct 1 There is absolutely no question that the chemical companies used defective manufacturing processes They were aware that since the 1950s the German company Boehringer used a process that produced no detectable dioxin However that process was slower than the American companies wanted because the American chemical companies were aware that faster production meant greater profits Whereas the Germans slowly cooked their 2 4 5 T the chemical which contained the dioxin contaminant for 13 hours the American companies like Dow used extremely high temperatures to cook it in as few as twenty minutes However the higher the temperature the more dioxin that was produced Because of this the chemical manufacturers secretly tested their chemicals for dioxin They did not tell the government how they made it calling it proprietary They did not tell the government dioxin was even in the chemicals They did not tell the government that they secretly tested their product for levels of dioxin contamination They did not tell the government that hundreds of their production workers were sick due to dioxin contamination In fact 76

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/ao.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Annual Cmmittee Report: Women Veterans
    Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec March April 2009 ANNUAL COMMITTEE REPORT Women Veterans BY MARSHA FOUR CHAIR This was a busy year Driven by our resolutions we began the year by reviewing two pieces of legislation HR 4107 and S 2199 which dealt with women veterans health care The staff director of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health met with the full Women Veterans Committee once and with several members on a second occasion to discuss language and additional items for inclusion One of the items was a long term health study to include autoimmune disorders of in country Vietnam women veterans Neither bill passed in the 110th Congress However we were told that new legislation likely would be introduced And it was HR 1211 the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act was introduced on February 26 2009 by Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin D S D VVA was invited to provide testimony on this bill to which the committee contributed It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs Committee s Subcommittee on Health Check it out on www thomas loc gov On another legislative front the committee also contributed to VVA congressional testimonies and one state field hearing The committee is mailing a survey to our women veteran members on VA health care and benefits the return of which will be anonymous We will use this information to develop a thumbnail sketch of our women veteran members that can be used in congressional testimony when addressing issues of importance with the VA and in better understanding our membership base Please take the time to return this survey VVA and other VSOs received an invitation

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0409/women.html (2016-02-15)
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