Vietnam Veterans of America
The VVA Veteran® Online
homepipeAboutpipeArchivepipeSubscribepipeContactpipevva.orgVVA gifFacebookContact
Membership Notes, November/December 2018
Chapter 47 in Southern California
North Carolina State Council
Chapter 47 in Southern California
New Jersey Shore Area Chapter 12
Utah State Council
Southwest Florida Memorial Wall


Chapter 1036 in The Villages, Florida, recently announced that the two-year, chapter-led effort to find photographs of all 778 Floridians whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington has been completed. The photos are posted on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s website, and were to have been part of a display at the Vietnam Education Center at The Wall. “The people on our team worked wonders. They found some [photographs] that we thought might be impossible to find,” said chapter Secretary John Thomstatter. He thanked everyone who helped with the Wall of Faces photo search project, “especially VVA chapter members of the Advanced Photo Search Team: Beth Braun, Johnny Byard, James Davies, John DeCoste, Cathy Haynes, Paul Judd, and Gary McDaniels.”

Jim Covarrubias, a life member and the vice president of Phoenix, Arizona, Chapter 432, received the prestigious Professor Alberto “Tito” Rios Outstanding Literary/Arts Award from the Pete C. Garcia Victoria Foundation at the 9th Annual Arizona Higher Education Awards breakfast in September. “Jim is an artist, educator, film producer, and writer,” said chapter member Randy Schriver. “He is a tireless supporter of veterans’ issues, community involvement, and his culture. He gives back to his community at every juncture of his life. We are very proud to call him, ‘Brother.’ ”

Welcome Home to Chapter 1135 at the Jessup (Maryland) Correctional Institution, which received its VVA charter on August 8. President Harold Johnson accepted the document from Maryland State Council Incarcerated Committee Chair Roland Kauffman. It is the first incarcerated VVA chapter in Maryland and is an outgrowth of Incarcerated Veterans of JCI, which has seventy members. The group will soon dedicate a veterans memorial in the prison and has held fundraisers to benefit groups that support veterans, such as Fisher House and MCVETS in Baltimore. The chapter’s VVA sponsor is Silver Spring, Maryland, Chapter 641.

Four VVA members were inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame on October 26 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale: Charles (Chuck) Byers and Michael Ferguson of Mesa East Valley Chapter 1011, Simon Martinez of Yuma Chapter 835, and Sisto Sandoval of Mohave County Chapter 975 in Lake Havasu City.

Chicago Chapter 242, in partnership with the Irish American Heritage Center, held a Veterans Day Mass and program at the center on the city’s Far North Side on November 18. Rev. John McNalis, who celebrated the Mass, is a former longtime U.S. Air Force chaplain. After Mass, chapter members, including men with Irish roots, spoke about their heritage and their service in the Vietnam War: John Jennings, Bill Carr, Pat O’Brien, James Flynn (who was born in Ireland), Brian Mulcrone, John O’Neil, Dan Noon, and Chris O’Donnell. The event also included music by the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band.

In August, for the eighth consecutive year, the Dean K. Phillips Northern Virginia Chapter 227 donated sixty $75 gift cards to children of local veterans in the VA’s Supportive Housing (VASH) program. The gift cards helped pay for school supplies and other essentials for the upcoming school year. The chapter, which celebrated its 33rd anniversary in October, plans to provide holiday credit gift cards for needy VASH families during the Christmas season.

St. Joseph County, Indiana, Chapter 1027 has been working with a local Pokagon Band veterans group since members of both organizations took part in a Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony in South Bend in 2015. Earlier this year Chapter 1027 members pitched in at the flag-raising ceremony at the Pokagon Band’s new Four Winds Casino in Fort Bend. In September, Pokagon Band veterans and 1027 members marched together in the 33rd annual Kee-Boon-Mein-Kaa Pow Wow in Dowagiac, Michigan.

At its monthly meeting in October, the members of Harrisonburg, Virginia, Chapter 1061 heard from candidates from its congressional district and the county board of supervisors. “Chapter 1061 is always trying to get to know and talk with our government representatives, and we try to keep our voices and our concerns before our government officials,” said chapter Secretary Tom Snook. “The importance of getting to know and talk with our government officials cannot be stressed enough for the future of our benefits.” The VA “will be in the hands of those we send to Congress.”

At its monthly September meeting, Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter 862 members voted to donate some $800 to help a needy local veteran couple with a rent payment. The chapter’s AVVA members voted to pay for the couple’s car expenses. The chapter also approved donating $250 to support a chili cook-off fundraiser in honor of local veterans, $250 to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and $100 to the Pennsylvania AVVA State Council.


Many chapters around the county commemorated POW/MIA Recognition Day on September 21. That included Northwest New Jersey Robert E. Wheelock Memorial Chapter 327, which held its annual ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park in Lafayette Township. Chapter members and others formed a circle around the black granite monument and read the 167 names engraved on it. There also was a flag salute and the display of a POW/MIA table.

In Florida, six VVA chapters—Duval County Nicholas J. Cutinha Chapter 1046, Daytona Beach Chapter 1048, Clay County William G. Byrns Chapter 1059, St. Johns County Leo C. Chase, Jr., Chapter 1084, Nassau County Chapter 1088, and Baker County Chapter 1134—participated in the all-day “A Gathering of the Pines” event on POW/MIA Recognition Day on the grounds of the Cecil Commerce Center in Jacksonville. The event was held in support of the Cecil Field POW/MIA Memorial.


Cheatham County, Tennessee, Chapter 1129 formalized a lease agreement in September with the County Commission for a county-owned, 1.6-acre parcel in Ashland City that will become the Cheatham County Veterans Memorial Park. The chapter is leasing the site for ninety-nine years for a dollar a year. Chapter President Walter Weakley sealed the deal by delivering a hundred dollar bill to the Commission. The chapter will raise funds to build and maintain the park. Plans include monuments honoring local veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the wars in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.

Asheville, North Carolina, Chapter 124 was the moving force behind the recently installed five-by-six-foot black granite Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Charles George VA Medical Center. The chapter undertook the project after the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial visited Asheville. Chapter member Allen Kowalsky spoke up afterward at a chapter meeting, saying, “‘Gentlemen, we’re getting older and we’re having issues. It’s time for us to do something permanent,’ ” said Chapter Chaplain Ben Maultsby. “Kowalsky’s vision was the birth of this memorial.” A memorial committee made up of  Maultsby, Kowalsky, Carroll “Spider” Trantham, Ted Minnick, and James Stamey did the heavy lifting, including raising the funds for the memorial and designing it. The names of the 164 Western North Carolina service personnel who died in the Vietnam War are etched in the granite.





- Departments
University of Florida Smathers Libraries
- - -
- -
-Leaps & Bounds: Mt. Clemens, Michigan, Chapter 154   Photo ©Michael KeatingPlug Pulled on Wall
Education Center
- -
VVA logoThe VVA Veteran® is a publication of Vietnam Veterans of America. ©All rights reserved.
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring. MD 20910 | www.vva.org | contact us