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President’s Report, November/December 2018

Looking to the Future

I hope everyone had a wonderful Veterans Day. This year is the 100th anniversary of the first Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I. Mariann’s grandfather and my grandfather’s brother served in that war. Mariann’s grandfather, Guiseppe Onorato, went on to live a good life, using his veteran status to get a city job and prosper. Unfortunately, my great-uncle, Thomas McLaughlin, having been wounded in the war, came home to a deceased wife, and after getting his son established in college, committed suicide. We remember them all.

As we enter the holidays, on behalf of the Officers and Board of Directors and their families, Mariann and I wish all VVA members and their families a peaceful, safe, and happy holiday season.
For those who use this time of the year to make donations, please remember those still serving who will not be with their families this season.


During this summer’s Leadership Conference we heard from the two working groups reporting on the future of VVA. Working Group I will formulate a strategic plan to transition at some time in the future to be determined by the working group and communicated to the general membership for approval at a Convention. Working Group II will determine the feasibility of forming, chartering, funding, or empowering a new veterans organization to perpetuate our legacy and assure the tomorrow of all veterans, which will be communicated to the membership for approval at a Convention.

VVA still has a lot of work to do. If anything, we have our best years ahead of us as we continue to grow our membership despite the adverse health effects of Agent Orange and PTSD. The real issue is how do we work with the newer vets to create an entity that can pick up where we leave off.

Working Group II is planning to bring in representatives from the new veterans for a conference early next year. I am collecting information on any organizations run by the new veterans. If you are working with a group in your community, please send an email to jrowan@vva.org detailing their contact information, including their leaders’ names.


We had been concerned about the dwindling number of veterans serving in Congress. I am pleased to report that the number increased with this year’s election, as both parties found veterans to run for office.

The Democrats won control of the House. So we will have a new House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair to work with (I think this will be my sixth). This will not be a problem, as we have always maintained good relationships with both parties.





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