West Valley Chapter 1043 in Sun City, Arizona: Living Up To The VVA Motto
BY BILLEE CULIN
The members of Chapter 1043 were very busy during the last quarter of 2012 living up to our motto, “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”
In November the members voted to provide funds to William A. Barnes, a World War II and Korean War veteran, to fly to Washington, D.C., on Honor Flight Arizona. We covered the cost of his flight, hotel room, meals, and a tour of the monuments in Washington from November 6-8.
Bill Barnes was so honored to be given this opportunity. He had never been to Washington, and he could finally see the World War II Memorial. He said that it felt good to be with fellow veterans. When we first told him what we were going to do for him, he did not know what to say and almost started crying.
Barnes is the oldest member of Chapter 1043. He joined AVVA and attends every meeting. When the group visited The Wall, he wore his white AVVA shirt. When he attended his first meeting, Barnes said: “I never knew there were so many Vietnam veterans with gray hair.”
In December our members “adopted” two young veterans and their families for the holidays. The men and women of the chapter raised $500 in gifts and cash for each family. This is our third year helping families for the holidays. In their thank-you notes, the families wrote that they would not have had Christmas without our chapter members’ donations.
Late last year we found out about a housing complex being built in Phoenix for veterans and their families. There are fifteen VASH units for needy and homeless veterans in the complex. Over the past two years our members raised more than $10,000 from fundraising outside of supermarkets. We decided to furnish at least one of the VASH units.
Our wish has come to fruition. We will start by furnishing a one-bedroom apartment for a 62-year-old Vietnam veteran. On the wall outside of the unit there will be a plaque that states: “This unit is furnished by Vietnam Veterans of America.”
We have helped three generations of veterans here in Arizona. We are not finished. We are helping with a memorial garden that’s being built at a Wounded Warriors Home for young veterans and their families.
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