Manning County, South Carolina, Chapter 960 recently honored eleven local firefighters for their life-saving rescue efforts during the severe floods last October that cut the county off from the outside world. “These guys put their lives on the line each and every day,” said Chapter Treasurer Dennis Croft, who happens to be a firefighter. “But during the flood, they went above and beyond. They went days without sleep and they put themselves in danger constantly to save those who had put themselves in danger, either knowingly or unknowingly.” The chapter presented plaques and certificates to the firefighters for their service to the community. During the flood South Carolina transportation officials shut down a 75-mile stretch of Interstate 95 through Clarendon County.
Heavener, Oklahoma, Chapter 784 sponsored a rifle raffle to help raise funds to cover the costs of the local Children’s Easter Egg Hunt at Heavener Runestone Park. “Our Oklahoman veterans have always answered the call to help their fellow citizens, support our communities and preserve the liberties we all enjoy today,” Chapter Second Vice President Mike Kennerson said. The chapter used the funds to provide prizes and Easter candy, as well as hotdogs, chips, and sodas for the children and their families following the hunt.
In March Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers made a nearly $9,000 donation to South Metro Denver Chapter 1106 for the chapter’s programs that help veterans and their families. The money came from donations made by customers at Freddy’s. Amy Langrock, Director of Marketing, presented the donation to Chapter President Lee White and Board Member Milt Omoto. “It was quite an emotional experience,” Langrock said. “We were humbled to be there with such wonderful people and thank you all for your service.”
South Bay Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach, California, had a veterans health benefit and membership booth at the City of Carson’s Job Fair in January. About four hundred people attended. The chapter was among about a hundred vendors at the event. Many of the businesses at the fair hired veterans on the spot.
Elmira, New York, Chapter 803 recently received the 2016 Elmira Historic Preservation Award from the city’s historic preservation group, Historic Elmira. The award honored the chapter for adaptively reusing a historic building and creating its Vietnam Veterans War Museum on Davis Street. Chapter President Larry Sherman and Museum Director Dennis Wolfe, who conceived the idea for the facility, received the award at Elmira College.
Rod Phillips, 1st Vice President of Daytona Beach, Florida, Chapter 1048 and Second Vice President of the Florida State Council, took part in a Meet the Vietnam Veterans event at the Ormond Beach Library in April sponsored by the Ormond Strong Veterans Group. Phillips was part of a panel which discussed their war experiences. After the panel, Phillips helped honor a disabled Korean War veteran, who received a donated motorized scooter.
On March 29 Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 in Northern Virginia members Bill Shugarts (a volunteer guide at The Wall), Bob Clark, Don Northcutt, and John Burch represented the chapter at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vietnam veterans commemoration at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. VA Secretary Bob McDonald pinned Vietnam War veteran lapel pins on the chapter members and other veterans. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter distributed a DoD challenge coin to the veterans.
Joe Heil, Treasurer of Mike Voth Memorial Chapter 5 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, helped organize the sixth annual Vietnam Veterans Day commemoration at the Eagle Club in Lake Hallie. The event included an Agent Orange forum and a session on documenting Vietnam War KIA gravesites.
Several members of Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville, Kentucky, provided lunch at the Welcome Home program at the local Vet Center on March 29.
Carson, Nevada, Area Chapter 388 organized the Welcome Home program held April 2 at the Nevada State Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Mills Park in Carson City. More than a hundred Vietnam veterans, family members, and friends attended. Chapter member Terry Burt played “Taps.” “The main reason for holding events like this is to let our Vietnam brothers know they are not alone and are appreciated,” Chapter President Frank Reynolds, who led the Pledge of Allegiance, told a local newspaper.
Medina County, Ohio, Chapter 385 members, including President Jim Kulas, helped commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day in Ohio on March 29 by participating in a ceremony adding the name “Vietnam Veterans Memorial Way” to Northland Drive in Medina. The County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring thirty-three local service personnel who died in the war, is located on that street.
Members of Baltimore, Maryland, Chapter 451, including the chapter Honor Guard, took part in the second annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration March 30 at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel. “It’s important that after all these years, we get the recognition that we deserve,” said Chapter President Roy Brown. “We didn’t get any reception then.”
Washtenaw County, Michigan, Chapter 310 recently sponsored a fundraising event featuring an auction of donated items at Frenchie’s restaurant in Ypsilanti for Warriors and Caregivers United, a new veterans support group that will be working with multiple-tour veterans, primarily on post-traumatic stress issues. “With the help of VVA 310 and other personal donors, along with the auction and Frenchie’s proceeds, we raised enough money to plan and organize events throughout the year to reach out and help others,” said chapter member John Kinzinger, the director of the new organization.
Doug Sabo and Bruce Ellis, members of Lincoln-Ruidoso, New Mexico, Chapter 1062, donate their time (and money) to drive local veterans to and from medical and veterans services appointments in Alamogordo, El Paso, and Albuquerque. “We saw a need for transportation because there is no bus service here,” Sabo said. “In the county of Lincoln, you have more than three thousand veterans. There are no paid services by the [VA] or the New Mexico State Veterans Office. There is nothing here to help veterans.” The chapter members drive the veterans in a van donated by the Southeast New Mexico Transportation Network of Roswell. “We’re there twenty-four hours a day to take people where they need to go,” Sabo said.
Treasure Valley, Idaho, Chapter 1025 is spearheading the effort to build a new memorial honoring Vietnam veterans in Boise. The memorial will consist of a 5,000-pound black granite monument. It is expected to be dedicated on Memorial Day in the city’s Veterans Memorial Park. The park’s Memorial Plaza currently contains Pearl Harbor, POW/MIA, Wake Island, Korean War, and Combat Wounded Veterans memorials. The new Vietnam veterans memorial, modeled on the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors the 217 Idaho veterans who died in the Vietnam War. Working with the Boise Parks & Recreation Department, the chapter has raised most of the funds for the memorial by selling three sizes of engraved bricks that will be part of the memorial.
The Tennessee Memorial Wall, created and owned by Chattanooga Chapter 203, went on display for a week in early April at the Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga. The event was put together by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration Committee. Members of local Daughters of the American Revolution chapters presented lapel pins to veterans who visited the wall.
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