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  • The VVA Veteran: REUNIONS
    PUBLICATIONS January February 2008 The Veteran Departments Featured Stories President s Message Government Affairs Membership Notes Ask The Parliamentarian Veterans Incarcerated Taps AVVA Report AVVA Election AVVA Scholarship Project Friendship ETABO Report Public Affairs Report VVAF Veterans Against Drugs National Secretary s Report Women Veterans Letters Arts of War Book Review The Locator Reunions 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 REUNIONS 5th Marine Division Association Aug 27 31 Washington D C Crystal City Marriott at Reagan Airport Trip to National Museum of the Marine Corps planned Vietnam veterans welcome Contact Ken Watterson 214 808 7144 kenwatterson msn com 3rd Bn 11th Marines Battery Adjust Aug 7 9 Will have a hospitality room at the Marine Corps League National Convention in Orlando so please join us Contact Ken Watterson 214 808 7144 kenwatterson msn com 26th Annual Tet Party Reunion sponsored by V V W C Westmoreland County Pa March 1 at Hempfield Hunt Club New Stanton Pa Contact Vince Kosker 800 798 0294 or Bill Hudson 724 238 5481 3rd Med Bn 3rd Mar Div 1967 69 Charleston S C May 2008 Contact Al Naar naarman msn com 14th Trans Bn Nashville Nov 7 9 Contact Douglas H Muenzhuber 5648 Yates Ave North Crystal MN 55429 muenz comcast net U S S Cogswell DD 651 Association Boise Idaho October 9 11 Contact George H Overman P O Box 6098 Oceanside CA 92052 6098 708 889 2216 uss cogswell cox net or go to destroyers org uss cogswell Army OCS Class 4 65 Fort Benning Drury

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0208/reunions.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: The First Thirty
    Chapter as more and more chapters were created by spin offs from Chapter Nine Although some friction was inevitable many activities became joint ventures in which all participated Under the VVA motto In Service to America Chapter Nine spearheaded countless community based programs throughout the Detroit area They hosted counseling sessions to help homeless veterans find jobs and reintegrate into society The result was the establishment of the Michigan Veterans Foundation which now serves hundreds of veterans in need The center also has been used as a community center a Job Corps center a Red Cross Blood Bank a banquet hall for local charitable events and much more In the 1990s holding true to the VVA s founding principle Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another Chapter Nine began organizing rallies to support troops in the first Persian Gulf War beginning with a parade down Woodward Avenue As the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continue our troops will not be forgotten or mistreated as long as one Chapter Nine member is standing Today the chapter continues to be involved in many community service endeavors That includes working to establish an all veterans park in the heart of downtown Detroit to be named The Arsenal of Democracy Park This park will recognize all Detroit area veterans past present and future and honor them for their service to America For years the Chapter Honor Guard has proudly led the annual Detroit Labor Day Parade which passes in front of chapter headquarters Chapter Nine is well recognized by the Vietnamese American community for its support and understanding of their cause for freedom and human rights Recently Chapter Nine members served as color guard for the Vietnamese Heritage Flag of Freedom Recognition Parade at the State Capitol in Lansing L Z Motown has provided food warmth and refreshments for the annual Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade audience for over 25 years The chapter also supports the Detroit area Veterans Stand Down and the Armed Forces Day and Annual Detroit Veterans Parade which honor our military personnel and veterans The chapter continues to provide free use of its facility for community organizations The chapter also serves as a collection point and toy distribution center for the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program sponsors a room at the Lions Club International Penrickton Center for blind children with multiple handicaps and supports veterans housed at the local VA Medical Center through donations and visitation of patients confined to the facility As Vietnam veterans enter their golden years Chapter Nine veterans and associates their families and friends can rest assured that the job of serving America has been done well Mike Sand is on the Chapter Nine Board of Directors and edits Aftermath the chapter s newsletter Keith King chairs VVA s Public Affairs Committee and is the president of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund He has served as Chapter Nine secretary Portions of this article appeared in the May June 2005 issue of The VVA Veteran Cincinnati Chapter 10 Staying Focused By EDWARD BROWN In 1978 a group of Vietnam veterans announced that they were forming a national organization for Vietnam era veterans that would directly address some of the issues and concerns that had been neglected or ignored Two years later a small group of Vietnam veterans met in the stockroom of a small café in downtown Cincinnati and immediately started making plans to become part of the national organization Chapter 10 was chartered in 1981 and became the first VVA chapter in Ohio The first president was charter member Tim Culbertson The chapter grew quickly in membership and in purpose The chapter was named after Eddie Ulhmansiek an MIA from the Cincinnati area Soon after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington D C in 1982 a group of Chapter 10 members decided that Cincinnati should have its own Vietnam Veterans Memorial This was the chapter s first major undertaking and on April 8 1984 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Eden Park It was the fifth such memorial in the country In 1985 Chapter 56 merged with Chapter 10 to create one of the largest VVA chapters A Color Guard was formed and under the leadership of Color Guard Commander Gary Henson VVA visibility skyrocketed as the Color Guard led parades and participated in memorial services funerals and other community activities In 1990 under the leadership of then President Steve Taylor the chapter established six goals They had no idea that those six goals would remain the foundation for chapter activities seventeen years later Each year the goals are reviewed The goals are Form a scholarship fund and offer academic scholarships to veterans and their family members Lobby for veterans issues at the local and national levels Be actively involved in civic issues and educate the general public on patriotism and veterans issues Provide a comfortable gathering place for veterans and their families Develop a program in schools to educate students on history patriotism and the issues of the Vietnam War era Preserve promote and perpetuate the history traditions and outstanding contributions of Vietnam era veterans toward the development and defense of the United States of America Chapter 10 was one of the first VVA chapters to establish a Homeless Veterans program The chapter bought a house and Project Transition opened its doors in 1990 The facility housed up to six veterans at a time at no cost to them for a period of up to six months The next year a second building with four small apartments was purchased The apartments were rented at a token cost to veterans who had made it through the initial phase of Project Transition Over a five year period Chapter 10 helped more than 150 veterans get back on their feet Today Chapter 10 continues its homeless veterans advocacy through its support of Joseph House the home for homeless veterans Also in 1990 the chapter established its Adopt a Family program which is still a major program in our commitment to community service In 2006 the chapter provided Christmas food baskets for more than thirty five needy families of veterans In 1998 the chapter established an Adopt a Child program Teachers and other community service organizations refer children in dire need to the chapter The program is budgeted each year and the committee is responsible for buying the referred child school supplies and clothes In 1999 the chapter formally established its scholarship program In 2005 the chapter awarded a record five 800 scholarships In the eight year period since the inception of the program the chapter has awarded more than thirty scholarships totaling over 25 000 The chapter has an annual golf outing to help raise funds for these programs In the years 2003 through 2007 Chapter 10 helped sponsor the American Cancer Society s Relay for Life as well as the Susan B Komen Race for the Cure In 2003 Chapter 10 fell short of its goal but in 2004 the goal was achieved Chapter 10 made the Gold Team by raising 2 500 for the ACS Relay for Life The Chapter House is made available to other community organizations upon request Currently AA uses the house for its weekly meetings In 2003 after successfully leading the chapter for four years longer than any previous chapter president Joe Amann stepped down and John Erby was elected the chapter s fifteenth president In addition to the traditional annual goals Erby set two immediate goals make the Chapter House handicapped accessible and execute a successful program commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Eden Park Vietnam Veterans Memorial The Board of Directors allocated the funds and the volunteers went above and beyond the call of duty A lift was added for those who are wheelchair bound and doors were widened and the bathroom was remodeled to accommodate wheelchairs The 20th anniversary ceremony was highlighted by a Parade of Colors which consisted of 20 color guards Three other VVA chapters participated in the ceremony In 2005 Chapter 10 established itself as the place to call if you wanted a Vietnam veteran to participate in an educational program regarding the Vietnam War The chapter took the responsibility of directing the educational process for two Moving Wall presentations This included scheduling and arranging veterans visits to school classrooms as well as hosting the classes during their visits to The Moving Wall Chapter 10 also was called upon to lecture at a community project called Vietnam History Up Close and Personal a class for adults at the Evendale Community Center The success of Chapter 10 is due entirely to the dedicated and committed members of the Board of Directors who volunteer their time and services to insure the continued success of the chapter Chapter 10 is also fortunate and extremely grateful to have a small core of family members and friends who volunteer their time and efforts We continue to stay focused on our creed and mission Service to America and Service to our Community Ed Brown served in Vietnam in 1966 68 as a combat engineer A lifetime member of Chapter 10 he is the chapter s treasurer and regularly functions as a delegate Suffolk County Chapter 11 Vets Helping Vets By TONY RAIONA Vets Helping Vets That s both the motto and philosophy of VVA s Suffolk County N Y Chapter 11 And just as there are events in one s life that cause a person to start an endeavor so it is with organizations The catalyst for the creation of this chapter took place in another country In the late 1970s several local Vietnam veterans began talking among themselves about the lack of respect and care that veterans of the Vietnam War had been receiving since their return to The World This group led by Bobby Muller first called the Council of Vietnam Veterans and later Vietnam Veterans of America was put together to lobby Congress This group also was the root of what exists today for Vietnam veterans in Suffolk County New York They never anticipated going national as a membership organization They began their lobbying around the issue of creating Readjustment Counseling Centers which became the Vet Centers Then in 1979 employees of the U S State Department in Iran were taken hostage Their release in 1981 and the show of support by the American people during this difficult period were noted by this group of veterans They felt that the same respect support and honor given to these former hostages also should be given to those who when called by their country to fight answered the call and did their duty many making the supreme sacrifice One night in the summer of 1980 they decided to take this task upon themselves Meeting at the East Farmingdale Fire House Jerry Klein Gary Doc McKnight Jack O Brien Ken Mitchko and several others began to put together a local organization for Vietnam veterans They had been receiving encouragement from Muller s fledgling national organization They realized quickly that there were many issues involving Vietnam veterans that needed to be addressed Thus began the Suffolk Nassau Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America They recruited members by a very simple method advertising posters The group had 8x12 posters printed with their phone numbers They were placed in stores and other public areas in Suffolk and Nassau Counties They also ran a one time ad on a local radio station They soon received more responses and applications for membership than they had expected They made a very informal collection among themselves each threw a 20 bill into an old shoe box and used those funds for additional mailings The first official meeting took place on April 3 1981 As in any large organization there were some initial problems including philosophical differences about the conduct of business and regular meetings Additionally the geography of the two counties provided obstacles Eventually around 1982 the chapter split into two with Suffolk County being incorporated as VVA Chapter 11 on April 11 1983 Nassau County became Chapter 82 Chapter 11 met some resistance from the VVA national office probably stemming from a misinterpretation of the purpose for forming the chapter Once that hurdle was cleared the chapter formed Its officers were Jerry Klein president Arthur Kruse first vice president Kim Windsor second vice president Ken Mitchko treasurer John Catterson secretary and Tom Pasqua assistant secretary The directors were Duncan Forbes Paul Kelly Gaspar Falzone Gary Doc McKnight Ferdinand Rodriguez Albert Ginnaro Albert Marcotte and John O Brien The chapter then began helping and advocating for veterans There was a march on the VAMC Northport that highlighted the unmet needs and the lack of medical care for Vietnam veterans Chapter 11 also was deeply involved in the creation of outreach counseling projects such as the Veterans Center in Babylon N Y which exists today To celebrate its national charter the chapter held a National Charter Dinner Dance in April 1987 Chapter 11 undertook the establishment of a monument to recognize the service and sacrifice of Suffolk County s Vietnam veterans After a protracted search in which eleven sites were considered the location on Bald Hill Farmingville N Y was chosen This site had many unique qualities It was among the highest in Suffolk County it provided an outstanding view of the surrounding area and its unusual terrain features would tend to stimulate the creative talent of the designers A 50 member volunteer commission was formed to launch a nationwide design competition in September 1987 Over 1 400 entries were received including responses from 34 foreign countries The winning entry was designed by Rev Charles R Fink who had become a priest after serving in Vietnam The design was unveiled on May 25 1989 Groundbreaking took place on Veterans Day 1990 The monument was dedicated on Veterans Day 1991 Chapter 11 also was sensitive to Gold Star Mothers Reaching out to them in 1991 the chapter held its First Annual Gold Star Mothers Breakfast in May As its name implies it s now an annual event called the Gold Star Family Breakfast This is a well attended event which now sad to say also includes the families of other veterans who have perished in Afghanistan Grenada and Iraq All families who have lost a loved one in military service to our country are invited It is a day to be with those who care and share their loss in a family type environment There are no political speeches just a gathering of friends who care spending a Sunday morning together over breakfast The philosophies and principles established by our founding members still prevail Chapter 11 does not participate in parades with two exceptions the St Patrick s Day Parade in East Islip and the Fourth of July Parade in Southampton N Y On Memorial Day when most other veterans organizations are marching the chapter attends a Mass at St Ann s Church in Sayville N Y Then at 5 o clock we gather at the Suffolk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial to pray and to recite the names of the 258 local members of the U S Armed Forces who lost their lives in Vietnam Current and future projects of the chapter include establishing a VAMC Clinic in the east end of the county for veterans who live too far away to travel easily to VAMC Northport helping find housing for Suffolk s nearly 1 300 homeless veterans and continuing the chapter s Benevolent Fund This fund provides fuel oil and food vouchers to veterans in need In 2006 more than 7 000 in food and fuel oil vouchers were issued Chapter 11 s Incarcerated Vets Committee members regularly visit veterans who are in the county s correctional facilities and who may not be aware of the benefits available to them In April 2008 the chapter will again participate in a Veterans Stand down in which homeless veterans are given food clean clothes and the opportunity to tend to personal hygiene The wonder of the passage of time is that the clock comes full circle and wisdom comes with it as well The machine gunner is now the mailman the mortar man is now the postmaster the mechanics airmen grunts and clerks are now doctors teachers police officers county legislators and nurses Vietnam Say the word and it evokes strong emotions both good and bad For those of us who served there whether draftees or volunteers we are proud to have the distinction and honor to call ourselves Vietnam Veterans of America Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another The motto of Chapter 11 will always be Vets Helping Vets Tony Raiona served as Spc 5 with the U S Army Marine Maintenance Activity Detachment 4 of the 4th Transportation Command stationed at Camp Davies Saigon from April 1969 70 He is a retired Suffolk County deputy sheriff and is secretary of VVA Chapter 11 Doc McKnight and Ken Mitchko helped in writing this article Without their patience and historical knowledge it would not have been possible Oakhurst N J Chapter 12 Continuity And A Plan Of Direction By BOB HOPKINS Bobby Muller to be sure was a veteran activist with an idea and little else He wanted to transform the way veterans business was conducted in the halls of Congress and in the wards and offices of the Veterans Administration On April 10 1979 the Internal Revenue Service recognized the Council of Vietnam Veterans as a war veterans organization Later that year on November 15 the fledgling organization was renamed Vietnam Veterans of America Muller knew little about how the organization would evolve He didn t even know what to call the various loosely defined veterans groups that contacted him Finally the term chapter was selected and general guidelines were set up to form them Vic Cicconetti was a veteran with the same fire in his belly as Muller He was instrumental in bringing together a group of veterans at the YMCA in Asbury Park New Jersey in 1981 One vet came because he wanted to play softball Another showed up because his wife saw an article in the newspaper and made him go Some came out of anger at how they had been treated when they came home A couple wanted to push for legislation to address the unfilled needs of their brothers and sisters Several wanted to bring home the POWs they believed we left behind No matter why they arrived at the meetings all for the first time felt a sense of belonging Looking for direction they contacted Muller and he met with a group of them They voted to go with this charismatic yet controversial leader and they were assigned the number 12 for their chapter Cicconetti Sam Siciliano and Tom Scalzo signed on as one year trustees to the Articles of Incorporation On May 3 1982 N J Secretary of State Jane Burgio filed the papers necessary to give birth to Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12 in Asbury Park A new era of veterans advocacy was born in New Jersey The early days of the chapter were exciting and at times confrontational Some members left while others stayed and worked through the problems that most new organizations have At one point in 1983 fewer than thirty five active members remained The early euphoria of marching in the November 1982 parade in Washington to dedicate The Wall was tempered by controversy in setting the direction for Chapter 12 The growing pains of the chapter were symptomatic of the organization as a whole It wasn t until the Founding Convention in 1983 that the direction for both the chapter and the national organization was set It was there that Bob Hopkins and Vic Cicconetti the only delegates from New Jersey got their baptism by fire in veterans advocacy In early 1984 the chapter bid farewell to the YMCA and moved into its new quarters courtesy of VFW Gimbel Lehy Quirk Post 2226 in Oakhurst where it remains to this day It moved there only on the condition that it retain its identity and that there were no strings attached That promise has been kept In 1984 Art O Keefe involved the chapter in a controversy over the failure of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to bestow citizenship posthumously on Wladyslaw Scotty Staniszewski a Scottish born veteran who had emigrated to this country in 1964 and joined the Marine Corps in 1965 He told his mother A country worth living in is a country worth fighting for On July 7 1967 he was killed in Vietnam What neither he nor his parents ever imagined was that under immigration laws he was not entitled to citizenship because he did not show up at an immigration office to pledge allegiance to the United States His death in service to his new country did not automatically qualify him for citizenship Enraged chapter members teamed with Charles Fisk of Massachusetts and pushed for passage of H R 960 introduced in Congress by Rep Brian Donnelly D Mass Due to tireless efforts led by O Keefe the bill was passed and Scotty was given his citizenship President Reagan ordered a search of all existing records Over two hundred other emigrees who also had died in service to this country in Vietnam were awarded posthumous citizenship In 1985 VVA had grown to four chapters in New Jersey with a State Council Chapter 12 members Cicconetti and Jim Monahan lent their expertise to help the forming chapters incorporate Final incorporation of the State Council took place in February 1986 and Chapter 12 members Bob Hopkins and Jim Burdge were elected officers The chapter took point for the State Council in May and June 1987 during heated debate over the refunding of the New Jersey Agent Orange Commission In emotional testimony before several committees of the State Assembly in Trenton chapter members in conjunction with other VVA chapters and veterans groups forced the passage of the refunding bill VVA for the second time in less than four years was credited with saving the Agent Orange Commission Chapter 12 expanded its PTSD Substance Abuse Committee and applied for a grant to train professionals who come in contact with Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD and substance abuse Chapter member Frank Lieb prevailed on Dr Thomas Lozinski to conduct professional counseling sessions for Vietnam veterans under the auspices of Chapter 12 Dr Lozinski joined the chapter as an Associate member and remains part of the Chapter 12 family today In 1991 the Monmouth County Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse awarded the first of its kind grant to Chapter 12 to provide training for professionals The chapter fulfilled the grant and continued training using other funds The Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse uses the Chapter 12 experience as a model for grassroots prevention and treatment programs The chapter always has taken on new projects Many of its members have been recognized for outstanding contributions to the veterans community Henry Rossi was the first State Service Officer from VVA in New Jersey accredited by the VA George Kauffmann an Associate member swam around Manhattan Island to push the POW MIA issue The late Sen Richard Van Wagner D N J helped push through needed veterans legislation in the state Wayne Wilson served as the Director of the Agent Orange Commission and Paul Sutton took point on homeless veterans issues In the mid 90s the chapter experienced a drop in membership amid controversey within the chapter The focus was lost and egos took over Membership had dropped from 240 to 135 and dwindling The chapter was at a crossroads Fortunately for the chapter there were core members who persisted and convinced some newer members to become more actively involved A meeting was held and several members some old some new agreed to take officer and BOD positions with the proviso that none of them would abandon the chapter and that they would remain involved even if they were no longer in leadership positions Egos were to be checked at the door The needs of the veterans were to be paramount This pact led to the election of Dennis Beauregard Jim Monahan Ernie Diorio Paul Bausch and Matt Rogalski along with a Board of Directors that had new and old chapter members Rogalski upon moving to Florida was replaced by Rich Brandon The leadership has remained in place continually being re elected based on their accomplishments and dedication Two additional positions were added to the Board of Directors This continuity of service has been beneficial to the health and vitality of the chapter Bob Hopkins has served as Membership Chair for all but two of the past twenty five years Mike Berman has provided legal counsel to the chapter since the 1980s The Officers have all served for more than eight continuous years Of the original chapter members Jim Monahan Bob Hopkins Don Davison and Bucky Grimm still serve in leadership positions Thirteen original members still participate in various events during the year Membership roles have steadily risen and this resurgence has led to more projects some new others resurrected The School Speakers Program today is ably led by Dennis Beauregard Don Davison and Ernie Diorio Several chapter members participate in these well received educational programs The chapter also participates in the New Jersey Adopt a Highway Program and has established a Food Pantry for Veterans in conjunction with the letter carriers of the Middletown Post Office and members of the Oakhurst VFW post Remembering and supporting veterans and active duty personnel is a top priority Teaming with various organizations the chapter has recognized the service of our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and participates in a yearly barbeque that honors these soldiers Several members visit hospitalized veterans The chapter provides turkey and food baskets for needy families and participates in a yearly Christmas toy drive with VFW Post 2226 The chapter raised funds to defray the costs of sending the adult child of a Chapter 12 member to Germany for radical medical treatment to combat the crippling effects of reflex sympathetic dystrophy For these and other community and veteran related projects the chapter was honored by the Chapel of Four Chaplains Indicative of the dedication to the pact is Rich Brandon the chapter treasurer who relocated to New York some 85 miles away Instead of resigning he has been re elected twice since then He commutes to chapter meetings BOD member Tony Ponzo relocated to Pennsylvania He made arrangements to go from his job in North Jersey directly to the chapter meetings His wife Linda continues to publish the chapter newsletter done ably for many years by Jim Jimmy and Maureen Monahan from her Pennsylvania home Back in the World has been published monthly since 1983 The story of Chapter 12 would be quite different were it not for the support of the families Without the encouragement and emotional backing of the parents wives husbands and children none of what the chapter has accomplished would have come to fruition Even in the darkest hours both individually and collectively they were there to console cajole buttress reinforce and support their loved ones allowing the members the time needed often at a cost to the family to continue the healing process Continuity dedication and a plan of direction has kept Chapter 12 viable and involved in the civilian and veterans communities for over 25 years The chapter has weathered growing pains occasional internal dissent and the normal challenges associated with any organization It has kept focused on issues affecting veterans and their families We look forward to another 25 years Bob Hopkins was the original editor of the Forward Observer New Jersey s VVA newspaper Cleveland Chapter 15 We Proudly Served By DAN ENGEL Veterans are the very backbone of America and many of them continue to serve each and every day long after returning home I m quite proud of the men and women in Chapter 15 in Cleveland Ohio I ll stand beside each and every one of them When I first joined Chapter 15 I wanted to know what they were all about but I never anticipated being president of the chapter I became quite proud of the group however and figured it was the right place to be While we re not out for glory people should know how much we have been doing in our community for the past 25 years Our membership consists of veterans from all walks of life including the clergy a federal judge chapter presidents and vice presidents commanders and managers of many businesses and organizations This diversity helps us organize and maintain a professional image and approach Father Joe Piskura is always there to pitch in and help Ordained in 1954 he entered the Army as a chaplain in 1963 serving 18 months in Vietnam and continued on active duty for 27 years followed by 13 years in the Reserves We have many other retired servicemembers some with much deserved awards Tim Doc Anderson recipient of the Navy Cross is a true American hero Now he works daily for veterans and serves as the Chapter 15 Homeless Veterans Rep Many of our members are recipients of Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars Our chapter has three inductees in the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame James Quisenberry in 2005 Ken Milenovic in 2006 and Robert Gutzky in 2007 Our fundraisers help Vietnam veterans and many others in need We have annual picnics and parties for veterans in hospitals and retirement homes Working with the DAV we brought nineteen patients from the Ohio Veterans Home to the Air Show where we provided each one with spending money We award scholarships and help the disabled We made a recent 500 donation to a participant in the Special Olympics held in China last October We were exceptionally proud when Todd Eisinger our sponsored athlete won four medals Last June we helped Chapter 34 in Akron with the Soap Box Derby for children with disabilities The car we sponsored won a big race Bill Becker and Rich Oehlstrom have worked hard to organize car shows Joe Benedict Oehlstrom and Quisenberry do an incredible job with our annual dance which is very popular We recently donated 1 000 to Honor Flight for WWII veterans and 1 500 to help fly veterans to Washington D C Sean Ennis and Benedict are working to help bring more WWII veterans to see their memorial We donated 600 to the USO in Northern Ohio for postage to send packages to the troops for the holidays Recently we participated in a Homeless Veterans Stand Down We considered it a tremendous success although it s sad to see America s veterans in such desperate need David Budzik the military and veterans liaison in the Mayor s office asked us to plan for two stand downs a year Meetings are planned to explore options to get homeless veterans proper rehabilitation and off the streets As of November we had donated more than 12 000 in 2007 We always try to improve the public perception and awareness of Vietnam veterans We recently had the VVA and the Chapter 15 logos placed on the Wall of Honor at two veterans hospitals in Wade Park and Brecksville The VA is very happy with our professional approach and with the help that we provide their patients They welcome us back and we plan to be there quite often We ve also made applications available at the local Vet Centers the Coast Guard Exchange and many other places Vietnam Veterans of America is fast becoming a well recognized organization in our town We take great pride in presenting Military Honors for fallen warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for other veterans who pass on Chapter 15 participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery and in a joint project with Chapter 249 placed a stone on the Memorial path The image on the face of the stone shows the chapters logos on the jackets of members who are paying their respects at The Wall In cooperation with active duty military Chapter 15 works with the Joint Veterans Honor Guard in funeral services providing full Military Honors folding and presenting of the flag Presentation of the Colors and a Rifle Detail with a 21 gun salute Our buglers play Taps We provide pallbearers when necessary and the family is presented with framed documents the Patriot s Prayer and the Battlefield Cross Chapter 15 s Harold Steinhauser manages the Honor Guard Detail Memorial dedications and community events are a regular part of our busy schedule We did more than 52 funeral details and 27 community services in 2007 During Memorial Day preparations we help put out many of the 120 000 flags on veterans graves throughout Cuyahoga County We are encouraging the participation of the Boy Scouts Chapter 15 was the first VVA chapter in the country to go into the schools to educate students about the Vietnam War We still visit schools Robert Gutzky specializes in teaching flag etiquette Question and answer sessions are conducted in many of classrooms Ray Saikus and Jim Quisenberry work closely with the WWI Liberty Row Memorial and the Liberty Veterans Memorial Gardens supporting restoration of 833 trees and medallions Our goal is to honor our country our veterans our flag those who passed and those who currently serve During the chapter s first year we established a memorial in Cleveland for Vietnam veterans Chapter 15 also helped fund the Cleveland VA Medical Centers Transitional Residency Program and we were the only veterans group asked to help develop the PTSD ward in the Brecksville VA Medical Center We also established and developed a library program about the Vietnam War Our Founding Fathers Bob Jackson Phil Surace Fred Krish Glen Sinclair and Dave Mairer among others are very pleased with all the help Chapter 15 continues to give to veterans active duty troops and the community We were Buckeye State Council Chapter of the Year in 2003 Our members make a great team We have a special appreciation for past officers We use their experiences to build upon but we re proud of all of our members who have their own skills and abilities We all have a significant connection We proudly served our nation Chapter 15 stands By VVA s Founding Principle Never Again Will One Generation Of Veterans Abandon Another Nor will we abandon each other Dan Engel was elected Chapter 15 president in April after having served as vice president He works as the sales manager for an insurance company His military career ended abruptly when he was badly wounded by a buddy Las Vegas Chapter 17 Carrying The Torch By STEVE SAWCHUK AND KENNETH BRAKER In the late months of 1988 several Vietnam veterans began forming a chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America by attending swap meets and gun shows After gathering the required 25 members they were issued a charter by President Mary Stout The date of the charter was March 15 1989 The first officers were Ron Hienan president Mel Hadfield vice president Ken Braker treasurer and Greg Freed secretary The first Board of Directors consisted of Mike Mgority Walt Eggert Tim Sands Bob Fregeau Bruce Earl and Connie Hienin One of the first places Chapter 17 met was at an American Legion post in Las Vegas This did not work out The hall had a bar and there was a lot of drinking going on The meetings were moved around town to different locations but always ended up in bars The first semi permanent home was in a rented storefront in the middle of a shady part of town The chapter held fundraisers by throwing BBQs and beer parties at various locations But Chapter 17 did nothing

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0208/first30.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Woman on a Mission
    And the guy says They re a bunch of radicals we don t want them involved That to Mary Stout was like waving a red flag at a bull Immediately she said the hair was standing up on the back of my head She decided to contact that group The next morning she said after the kids were off at school I called this number I explained the whole thing and the guy I talked to Parker Lee Hargrove said to me We d be interested in that And when did you serve in Vietnam It wasn t like I m not asking you if you served it was like he knew And now I m in shock sitting on the kitchen floor So I talked to him for a little bit Mary Stout paid a visit to Columbus Chapter 16 a few days later They had an office in a very seedy part of town she said VVA in the early years was in very seedy places So I drove downtown I walked into that office and I knew that I was in exactly the right place She joined the chapter which later disbanded on the spot She found a home She rose in the organization and was named executive director of the Ohio State Council The issues certainly were the things that kept me active and kept me interested she said I saw VVA as an organization that actually could do something about them The other VSOs weren t much interested One day in the spring of 1983 Bobby Muller VVA s founder and first president came to Columbus to meet with the Ohio State Council It was the first time I ever met Bobby Stout said He d been there before and people kind of seemed enamored with him but I had never seen him or heard him speak And the first time I met him I didn t like him at all That soon changed When Carl Stout came back from Korea the family moved to Maryland Mary Stout who had had experience doing membership data entry for the Ohio State Council contacted the VVA national office in Washington about the possibility of a job with the Maryland State Council I asked Rick Weidman VVA s current director of Government Relations if VVA had something like a State Council in Maryland where I could work He laughed and said Mary the national office is the only place in VVA that has any paid staff Within days she was offered and accepted the job of national Membership Director replacing Weidman who took over VVA s Government Relations Department We lived up north of Baltimore and I commuted down to Capitol Hill and sat in the garage of the little town house that was VVA s national headquarters with the mice running across my feet doing data entry for membership she said I had a lot of experience in talking to veterans thinking about joining a chapter and

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0208/stout.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Veterans Initiative Trip to Vietnam And Laos
    every opportunity we brought up the issue of support from both sides in achieving our mission of the fullest possible accounting for MIAs It is not taboo to mention POWs around the Vietnamese A priority at all our meetings is a discussion of those Last Known Alive LKA It is our impression that the Vietnamese particularly on the veteran and local levels fully intend to do whatever they can to help us identify American MIA remains This is good news The Vietnamese did in fact provide information to us about possible American MIAs which we have forwarded to the Pentagon s Joint POW MIA Accounting Command JPAC for investigation We arrived in Hanoi on October 11 and the first order of business was to recuperate from thirty hours of travel and to organize our itinerary for the mission Our first stop was with our sponsors the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations Vietnam USA Society Since VVA began the VI program in 1994 there has been an evolution in the attitude on all sides from entitlement to humanitarian and now to what can only be called spiritual That is reflected in the relationship between the American veterans and the country of Vietnam Our relationship with them is now founded more on trust and less on economics This gives the Veterans Initiative an advantage that other groups do not have We found this to be true throughout our trip from the northern reaches of Vietnam to the Delta Every group of veterans and government officials we met assured us that they would encourage cooperation in our effort to recover missing American soldiers sailors airmen and Marines At each stop we were impressed by the rapidity and depth of change in Vietnam The people and the government are a study in the rapid development of international relations Our requests to them have been positively received and not ignored We are confident that a lot of what s behind this is the trust we have built as a veterans organization in our mission to help families both American and Vietnamese The American Embassy and JPAC report similar observations The working relationship between the Americans and Vietnamese on this and many issues improves every year Bob Maras s work with Bill Nelson the Vietnam veteran who is the head of HBO is one example We have proposed that HBO develop a documentary on the Veterans Initiative and its impact on the growing positive relationship between our governments At each stop Jack Devine and Bob Maras brought up the proposed documentary and it met with promises from the Vietnamese to participate and cooperate In Hanoi we visited the Ministry of Defense We were invited to go to a museum and school on ordinance disposal In the course of locating investigating and recovering remains a very serious threat is unexploded ordinance UXO which has saturated the country from the French wars World War II and the American war Children are particularly vulnerable This became a talking point

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0208/vi_trip.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: A VIETNAM WAR HUEY FLIES IN ENGLAND
    dec A VIETNAM WAR HUEY FLIES IN ENGLAND By Bruce McWilliams On a quiet January afternoon in Lancashire England American Vietnam veterans Mark Jackson Fred Alvis and Ron Paye were surprised to hear a familiar whoomp whoomp coming over the trees They looked up and saw a Huey UH 1H coming in for a landing The Huey like Fred and Ron was a veteran of the 129th Helicopter Assault Company in Vietnam This was the first time the three veterans had seen a Huey in 30 years Phil Connolly the man responsible for the restoration of the Huey said the veterans were invited to come to Lancashire to see the restored Huey 72 21509 which they thought they would see at the airfield but we decided to surprise them So we sent them off to see an historic house at nearby Lytham and while they were being interviewed by BBC television there we flew the Huey over the trees and landed it right in front of them on the lawn The BBC shot the whole scene and the story ran on both national and international programs on February 7 2007 Mark Jackson tells about the reunion on the 129th website Fred and Ron s heads snap towards the direction of the sound just like yours would too and then I look Over the tree line the 509 appears in the distance and is making a direct final to the front yard of the Lytham Hall Emotions are running reckless at this time and the interviewer became silent All eyes through mist in them were glued on the 509 and all ears were tuned to the beautiful song she was singing to us Gang I cry as I write this just replaying it in my mind of that sight and sound and feelings and well just everything that was churning at that moment The Lytham Hall the BBC the crew the ladies just about everyone around had kept this secret from us that this is the way we would be introduced to the 509 Gang what a beautiful bird she is Even Phil Connolly had tears in his eyes Connolly a Lancashire businessman whose firm makes commercial diving equipment is also an aviation enthusiast who has collected and flown helicopters for decades He wanted to find a Huey to replace an old RAF helicopter he had been using He said that with the general public becoming more aware of the Vietnam War and because there were no Hueys in the U K except one taken from the Argentinians in the Falkland War I decided to try to find one in the U S His search took him first to the Mojave Desert but the owner didn t want to get involved in the problems of exporting military equipment He then found out through Bell Helicopters that there were some Hueys at the Museum of Flight in Olympia Washington Connolly went to Olympia and met Brian Reynolds who owns the museum and

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0208/huey.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
    Affairs Veterans Benefit Update Conference of State Council Veterans Incarcerated Homeless Veterans Veterans of Modern Warfare Ask The Parliamentarian Region 3 Region 4 Region 8 Region 9 Women Veterans Public Affairs PTSD POW MIA ETABO National Secretary ND State Council Chapter 172 TAPS Reunions The Locator Letters Arts of War Book Review In Memory Plaque Armed With Toys Join A Database Erie County Fueled By The Fallen Grading VVAF Inside The Vietnam War Band Of Gold 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 PRESIDENT S MESSAGE The Give And Take BY JOHN ROWAN This winter has been busy as usual Congress is back in session and we have been testifying at various House and Senate committees and subcommittees on a myriad of issues Often the give and take between legislators and witnesses results in new ideas While testifying before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee I got into a dialogue with Sen Richard Burr R N C the ranking committee member He described a conversation he had had with veterans on a college campus who discussed some of the problems they had in trying to fit in This brought to mind my experience after Vietnam working with the Veterans Office while attending Queens College This program was funded by a federal grant intended to increase the numbers of veterans in school I suggested that a new program be created enhanced with counseling for PTSD which we were unaware of at the time Serendipitously Sen Sherrod Brown D Ohio introduced the SERV Act which would accomplish the goals

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0408/presidents_message.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Government Affairs COMMITTEEREPORT
    for Vet Center services No bills remotely similar are being considered in Congress The recommended course is to propose one bill to cover all generations of veterans G 7 99 VVA urges Congress to pass legislation to establish hepatitis C as a presumptive disability Hepatitis C guidelines should be based on existing guidelines as defined by the American Liver Foundation VVA likely will provide a link on its website Connie Christensen VVA Government Affairs Committee member submitted a detailed report in January on emergency room conditions in Vietnam that might have caused patients to contract hepatitis C Unfortunately there is no obvious culprit here despite questions about the use of air guns for inoculations and exposure to the blood of combat It will be challenging to make a solid case on these environmental conditions alone G 9 03 VVA supports the efforts of veterans and veterans service organizations that seek to change the regulations that have prevented the issuance of the Combat Medevac Badge to those who served as aero medical crewmembers during and after the Vietnam War Alaska State Council President Ric Davidge is gathering information on the number of aero medic crewmembers that would be affected and he is actively looking for congressional sponsorship G 10 07 Endorsement of legislation to create minimum private sector health care coverage for uninsured and underinsured veterans and their families Board member Joe Jenkins is investigating how to move this Resolution forward As many as 45 million Americans may be uninsured or underinsured including 1 5 to 1 8 million veterans Currently nine legislative proposals are being considered that would have a positive impact on health care for veterans and their families In the private sector the U S Chamber of Commerce AARP and many Fortune 500 companies are working to get the more than 45 million Americans who lack insurance covered VVA is an active participant in the health care initiative committee of the U S Chamber of Commerce is providing input to the insurance efforts of the USCC and is an active member of the Executive Committee of the Small Business Council of the USCC G 11 07 Philippine Veterans Issue Individual members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines who served with the active or guerrilla forces in support of U S military operations against hostile forces in World War II are not currently considered veterans for purposes of VA disability benefits VVA supports legislation that would recognize service in the military organizations and forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines during the liberation of the Philippines in the same manner as if the veterans had served in U S forces thereby making them eligible for benefits administered by the VA Jerry Yamamoto VVA Board of Directors reports that this issue will not find congressional support because it would validate the benefits claims of South Vietnamese who served in their government s armed forces during the Vietnam War G 12 07 Establishment of a new National

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0408/govt_affairs.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: VA Budget Request: $5.24 Billion Short
    our understanding Rowan said that data collecting on the maladies and diseases of returning troops is not happening It s almost as if our government does not want to know about these ailments so that it won t be burdened with Dependency Indemnity Compensation payments REACHING OUT Last November VVA sponsored a parade in Washington D C to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Wall One component of the parade consisted of informational tents on issues most of them health related of concern to veterans Shortly after the parade ended two young women and their father a Vietnam veteran visited VVA s Agent Orange Awareness exhibit There they spoke with a VVA employee from our Veterans Benefits Department The father suffered from both diabetes type II and prostate cancer Both girls were born with spina bifida Neither father nor daughters were aware that they were eligible for VA benefits because of presumptive service connection for exposure to Agent Orange We ask How many other families like this are out there Part of the problem exists because VA honchos are not committed to effective outreach After all the more veterans and their families know about what is available to them what the veteran has earned by virtue of his or her service in uniform the more claims the VA will have to rate and the more money it will have to pay out To help remedy this we recommend S 1314 introduced by Sens Russ Feingold D Wisc and Richard Burr R N C The Veterans Outreach Improvement Act would help the VA achieve real outreach reaching out in a systematic manner to provide proactively information services and benefits counseling to veterans and to the spouses children and parents of veterans who may be eligible to receive benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure that such individuals are fully informed about and assisted in applying for any benefits and programs under such laws If enacted S 1314 would mandate that the VA Secretary establish a separate account for the funding of the outreach activities of his department and to establish a separate sub account for funding the outreach activities for the Veterans Health Administration the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Cemetery Administration Such a provision would establish and maintain procedures for ensuring the effective coordination of outreach activities of the various facets within the VA and with state veterans agencies Passage of such a measure surely is needed Left to their own devices VA managers will continue to do very little ONE UP AND AT EM The new Secretary of Veterans Affairs General James Peake M D has one year to make his mark on the VA VVA National President John Rowan and Rick Weidman executive director for policy and government affairs have met with Dr Peake and have been favorably impressed The big questions are Can he light a fire under a torpid bureaucracy Will he be the true veterans advocate that his

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0408/govt_affairs2.html (2016-02-15)
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