Gateway Chapter 776 in Scott County, Iowa, recently teamed up with Operation Engage America, which works to provide education, support, and resources for veterans, first responders, and family members with PTSD and TBI, at a resources fair at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Several speakers offered information on PTSD, family reactions to deployments, and other topics. The speakers included Chapter 776 President Greg Paulline.
Kyle Orlemann, an AVVA member of South Bay Chapter 53 in Torrance, California, recently was appointed to the City of Hawthorne’s Veterans Affairs Commission, where she serves as Vice Chair. Chapter member Dennis Wild was chosen as Hawthorne’s 2017 Veteran of the Year, and the chapter’s Bob Chiota joined the City of Torrance’s Social Services Commission, which works with veterans, the homeless, adults with developmental disabilities, and children with special needs.
Welcome Home to newly chartered Chapter 1128 in Springfield, Tennessee. Barry Rice, the Tennessee State Council president, presented the chapter its VVA Charter after having hosted an organizing meeting in December. “When the Traveling Wall was up, I met quite a number of Vietnam vets, and a number of them asked if they could have a chapter in Robertson County,” Rice said. “And I said that I’d be more than tickled.” Robertson County Mayor Howard Bradley spoke at the Charter ceremony, telling the new chapter members: “With my office in the courthouse, every day I walk by a monument of the fourteen Robertson Countians who did not come home. I think about them every day, and I think about you and the sacrifices that you made.”
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Michael J. Novosel Medal of Honor Capital Chapter 542 organized the second annual Medal of Honor Day Ceremony at the Soldiers and Sailors Grove behind the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg on March 25. Chapter member Bob Goodman served as the bugler for the ceremony. The event featured several speakers, all of whom recognized the valor of MOH recipients.
Members of Geneva, Illinois, Chapter 693 recently took a group of veterans from the Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital to a Chicago Steel Hockey Game in Geneva. The group included Chapter President Stanley Herzog and Vice President James Wiora.
Tri-State Chapter 949 in Huntington, West Virginia, along with the chapter’s AVVA members, support the VA’s Homeless Veterans Resource Center in Huntington in many ways. Most recently, on February 14 the chapter provided a lunch at the center, which offers job assistance, counseling, housing referrals, and laundry and shower facilities to homeless veterans. On hand were members David Hager, Faye Neaves, Frema Wilson, Ann Buchanan, Tom Graybeal, Harry Diamond, Ed Peckham, Shelia and Bob Mullins, Larry Blackaby, Kenny Smith, Lloyd Shafer, and Cheryl and Ron Wroblewski, the chapter president.
Steve Mackey, the president of Riverside, California, Inland Empire Chapter 47, recently attended the annual Stater Bros. Charities Heroes Challenge Awards Banquet at the Riverside Convention Center, which honors Medal of Honor recipients and local men and women who have gone “above and beyond the call of duty” to help their communities. Mackey and his wife, and Chapter 47 Vice President Mike Kennedy and his wife, sat with two Vietnam War MOH recipients at the event. Mackey was one of five people honored at the banquet for their work with veterans. The honor includes a $15,000 donation to the charitable organization of the honoree’s choice. Mackey chose Chapter 47.
On March 29, Vietnam Veterans Day, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Pocono Chapter 678 dedicated a new $10,000 Vietnam Veterans memorial on the city’s Courthouse Square. The memorial honors ten service members from Monroe County, Pa., who died in the Vietnam War. The chapter raised the money for the memorial through fundraisers and donations. Chapter member John De Fazio led the effort to find family members of the veterans honored on the memorial, and invited them to attend the dedication ceremonies. “It’s been long overdue for them to have this recognition,” he said.
Tupelo, Mississippi, Chapter 842 President Rex Moody was on hand March 20 for the groundbreaking ceremonies for a replica of the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park in Tupelo. The $900,000 memorial, which will be about 60 percent of the size of The Wall in Washington, D.C., is expected to be dedicated this coming Veterans Day. The memorial will be “a healing wall,” said Moody, who also is Mississippi State Council president. “It means a lot to Vietnam veterans and it will mean a lot to the city. You can see it. You can touch it. So many veterans go there and come away feeling better. They can find a measure of peace. I stop by every time I go to Washington, but not all veterans can travel to D.C.”
James “Butch” Ford, an At-Large member from Mississippi and his wife Ruth Ford were honored March 9 by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in Jackson for their crucial role in the passage of a bill designating March 29 each year as Vietnam Veterans Day in the state. The Fords lobbied Rep. Doug McCloud for the measure, and the bill he drafted became law on March 9 in time for the first Vietnam Veterans Day commemoration this year. “I signed it surrounded by those who served in Vietnam and other military conflicts with the U.S. armed forces,” the governor said. “I thank them for their service and am proud these veterans will be remembered each year in March.”
Members of Henderson/Boulder City, Nevada, Chapter 1076 were on hand to receive a proclamation from the Henderson City Council March 21 declaring March 29 Vietnam Veterans Day in the county. “We didn’t receive such a fair welcome home from the country during our time in the service,” chapter member Bob Lough told a local newspaper, “so it’s very heartwarming to get this support from a local government entity.”
Utah State Council President Dennis Howland took part in the March 29 Vietnam Veterans Day ceremonies that included a wreath-laying at Utah’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial outside the State Capitol in Salt Lake City. In his remarks Howland pointed out that all those who served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War are considered Vietnam War veterans. “Although 2.7 million of us served in-country,” he said, “we did not fight alone. More than six million people supported our efforts and are considered our brothers and sisters in the Vietnam War.”
Dean K. Phillips Memorial Northern Virginia Chapter 227 President Bruce Waxman delivered the keynote speech at the March 29 Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Service at Quantico National Cemetery in Triangle, Virginia. Waxman and James Sanders, the cemetery’s director, placed a wreath in memory of fallen Vietnam veterans. Waxman also pinned Vietnam War Commemoration pins on all of the Vietnam War veterans who attended.
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