Humphreys County (Tennessee) Chapter 1053 recently held a fundraiser for Dawson Phair, a young man who has been battling cancer. The Chapter raised $1,100, which it turned over to the Phair family. Leading the effort were Chapter Vice President Gary Turner, Sergeant at Arms Dallas Browning, Treasurer Gabby Wiygul, and President Darrel Palk.
Chapter 592 at the Lebanon Correctional Institution in Ohio was named Incarcerated Chapter of the Year by the Buckeye State Council. Chapter President Owen Hobbs received the Ohio Incarcerated Veteran of the Year award and the Chapter’s staff adviser, Jason Hall, was named Volunteer Veteran of the Year. Among other things, the Chapter was cited for purchasing toys for needy children during the holiday season. “It’s important to recognize all veterans, even those currently in prison, because they are still veterans,” Ed Brown, President of Cincinnati Chapter 10, said.
The Abe Acosta Chapter 530 in Durham, North Carolina, took part in the large third annual Bull City Stand Down, which took place on September 14 at the Durham County Memorial Stadium and the nearby National Guard Armory. The Chapter brought a small-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The event provided veterans with access to many services, including housing, haircuts, showers, and employment counseling.
Six members of Humphreys County (Tennessee) Chapter 1053 recently built and installed a ramp outside the home of Danny Armstrong, a local disabled Vietnam veteran. “It took around four days to build,” said Chapter President Darrel Palk. “The supplies were not donated; we held a fundraiser at Walmart and the Pilot gas station.” In addition to Palk, the other Chapter members who pitched in were Gabby Wiygul, Gary Thomas, Dallas Browning, Gary Turner, and Tom Haden. (See the photo on Facebook)
The Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 67 Honor Guard participated in ceremonies on September 30 honoring Gold Star Mothers Day at Arlington National Cemetery. Honor Guard members Fred Hofstaedter, Jack Mitch, Frank Roessner, and Ray Stankus took part in the event; Chapter members Tony D’Alterio and Mike Kalichak were on hand to provide support. After presenting the colors, the Honor Guard lined the steps leading to the Tomb of the Unknowns as the Gold Star Mothers presented their wreath. After the ceremony, Chapter members attended an open house at The Gold Star Mothers headquarters in Washington, D.C. “It was absolutely the right thing to do,” said Kalichak, the Chapter Secretary. “The Gold Star moms were very happy to have us visit. Among the mementos at their headquarters was a plaque Chapter 67 presented to them in 2000.”
Over the Labor Day weekend, Five Star (Kansas) Chapter 912 set up a welcome display at the Homewood rest stop on I-35 just south of Ottawa. Chapter members offered coffee, water, and orange drink, as well as cookies and other snacks, to travelers who stopped by. Nearly all of those who visited with Chapter members were veterans, including service members recently returned from Afghanistan and Vietnam veterans, along with family members of veterans. The Chapter also offered patches, magnets, bracelets and other veteran paraphernalia, which many people took for their cars and for veterans they knew.
Members of Quad Cities (Illinois) Chapter 299 pitched in once again this year to support the Rock Island Grand Prix, the largest kart racing event in the country. Chapter members joined more than two hundred other volunteers to help set up the event, which included moving hundreds of barrels into place along the city’s streets and setting up fencing. Chapter members have volunteered at the event for eight years.
The Southwest Iowa Chapter 798 Color Guard took part in the annual Celebrate CB parade in May. This traditional parade begins and ends in Downtown Council Bluffs. When the Color Guard arrived at the Pottawattamie County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Bayliss Park’s Veterans Memorial Plaza, the unit lowered the colors to honor those who perished in the Vietnam War. (See photo at facebook.vvaveteran.org)
Greater Hartford, Connecticut, Chapter 120 has been a long-time, strong supporter of the annual Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs Stand Down. And that was the case for the 20th annual event, which was held on September 21 at the State Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. Chapter member Mary Beaulieu presented a check from the Chapter to Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz to help underwrite the Stand Down, which drew more than a thousand Connecticut veterans. The event provided free services for veterans, along with assistance and information from federal and state agencies.
Fresno, California, Chapter 933 played a prominent role in the Welcome Home Parade for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that took place on September 8 in Clovis, California. The Chapter helped organize the event and Chapter members marched alongside the younger veterans. The event also included ceremonies honoring area residents who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as breakfast, lunch, and forty booths offering veterans help with job hunting, training and education, health, housing, and other needs. Former Chapter President Steve Doak and current President Charles Berberian helped organize and promote the event. Some three hundred veterans marched in the parade.
Gateway (Iowa) Chapter 776 recently donated $400 to the local Kirlin’s Hallmark Gold Crown Store to support its Storybooks for Soldiers program, which sends recordable storybooks to troops around the world who are spending the holidays away from their families. Using the books, the troops can record their own voices reading a story and send it back to their families. In August, the Chapter served a picnic lunch to seventy-two members of a local National Guard unit, A Co. 2/34 BSTB Engineers, and their families. That unit served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Dogwood Chapter 991 in Palestine, Texas, in October began an effort to collect donated items for care packages that the Chapter will send to active-duty service personnel overseas during the holiday season. “We want to do something to benefit those serving at patrol bases, combat outposts, observation sites, and forward operating bases,” Chapter member Debbie Wesson told the local newspaper. “A nice taste of something from home can be the biggest pick-me-up a soldier can have. We can make things a little nicer for these sites where they have very little.”
Chicago Northwest Suburban (Illinois) Chapter 311 hosted a POW/MIA recognition ceremony on September 21, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, at the Veterans Memorial in Merrimack Park in Chicago. “As we gathered in front of the memorial, we had in attendance the State Senator from that district and Chicago Alderman Timothy Cullerton, along with many veterans from all wars with their families,” said Chapter Vice President Gene Spanos. “Our color guard looked sharp with their crisp, clean, well-pressed, tiger-striped Chapter uniforms with black berets.”
In addition to a number of former POWs, members of the Indianapolis, Indiana, Sammy L. Davis Chapter 295 took part in the annual POW/MIA Ceremony held September 21 at the Indiana War Memorial. Chapter members Tom Madden and Larry Ward placed a wreath representing POW/MIAs of the Vietnam War during the ceremonies. Mike and Rosie Hamm and Billy Vaughn also represented the Chapter at the event.
Racine/Kenosha, Wisconsin, Chapter 767 was the moving force behind the June 14 dedication of the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Pritchard Park in Racine. The Chapter conceived of the memorial and worked for more than two years to have it built. The memorial, which is adjacent to the Racine County Veterans Memorial Park, consists of a black granite stone upon which are inscribed the names of all the Racine County service personnel who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. A computer chip will be installed on the memorial containing a link to the online Virtual Wall so that visitors can find more information about the names on the memorial.
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