|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Directors’ Reports, May/June 2021|
Very quiet this period.
The Norwich, Connecticut, Chapter 270 Color Guard participated in the National Vietnam War Veterans Day ceremony at the Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Coventry. “It was a dignified and humble ceremony as we honored and remembered all Vietnam War veterans,” said Vietnam veteran Jamie DePaola, who organized the event.
In Massachusetts, the Fall River Vietnam Veterans Memorial—a replica of The Wall in Washington, D.C.—will be dedicated May 15. Invitations have been mailed and a large turnout is expected.
I have been in contact with state councils and chapters regarding the upcoming National Convention, and there is a lot of interest in attending.
The Region 1 Conference will be held October 16 at the Dante Club in West Springfield, Mass.
Life is getting back to normal. Chapters and state councils are starting to have in-person meetings, and we will hold the National Convention in person in November. It has been almost a year and a half since Region 2 state councils have conducted in-person meetings. But they are being planned, and candidates are welcome to attend, introduce themselves, and explain why they should be elected.
The Pennsylvania State Council will meet at the Ramada Inn in State College on Saturday, June 5. The board of directors will meet the day before. Contact SC President Larry Googans at 724-869-7090 for details.
The New York State Council will meet at Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols on Saturday, June 19. The board of directors will meet on June 18. Contact SC President Ned Foote at 518-338-8147.
The New Jersey State Council meets at VFW Post 2179 in Middletown on Sunday, June 27. Contact SC Secretary Carlton Rhodes at 908-803-1671
Delaware will host the Vietnam Dustoff Association again this year on September 20-25 in an event affectionately known as “A Gathering of Rusty Eagles.” Bus trips are planned to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and to Fort Miles in Lewes, Delaware. On September 25 VVA member and former Army nurse Rhona Prescott (see “Delaware Chapter 1105: Feeding Body & Soul” in this issue) will discuss her experiences caring for wounded troops in country during the Vietnam War, many of whom were transported by dustoff helicopters to the field and evac hospitals where she worked.
BY ROSSIE NANCE
Region 3 continues to recover from the past idle year. Governors are easing restrictions on meetings. As these improvements continue, we look forward to a brighter tomorrow. The seven states in Region 3 are active again, witnessed by Election and Finance Reports being received at the National Headquarters.
We look forward to fundraising golf tournaments, the Vietnam Traveling Wall in several states, a great showing and display of the field of flags, the distribution of used mobility equipment, and planning the 2022 Region 3 Conference. In addition, we will resume face-to-face meetings with Native Americans and work with state officials on veterans issues and passage of legislation.
Chapter meetings are starting to recover with a limited amount of attending members. State councils are still relying on virtual meetings. All are improving slowly, but at least there is a brighter tomorrow.
The Region 5 Pre-Convention Conference will be hosted by the Buckeye State Council at the Doubletree by Hilton in Columbus, Ohio, on September 24-26. For more information, call 614-228-0188.
This conference will be very important. Under discussion will be VVA’s legacy, proposed VVA resolutions and Constitutional amendments, and candidates for national office. More information will be sent to the Region 5 state council presidents as it becomes available.
Winter has ended in the Midwest. The birds are singing and the sun is warmer. It has been quite a year, but maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel. It looks like we are going to be able to get back on our feet and start moving forward once again. The future of Vietnam Veterans of America—as well as the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America—is the main topic on nearly everyone’s mind.
We will work hard this year to get answers to the many questions before us. With the help of both VVA and AVVA volunteers, we continue to offer programs, including Survivor Benefits, Paper Safe, POW/MIA, Toxic Exposure and Agent Orange, Secondary PTSD, Helping Hands Grants, and Scholarships. Keep in mind VVA’s founding principle, “Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another” and AVVA’s motto, “Together Always.”
We are committed to helping all veterans. I hope that the future of VVA and AVVA will be a successful one. All of us must be there for past, present, and future service members after they return home. There is freedom in the United States because of the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. It is our responsibility to remember this and provide them the respect and honor they deserve.
As a veterans service organization, we have a duty to educate as many people as we can. There is a great need for young people to understand where this country has been and the reason they have freedom. I would like to say a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who has served this great nation. Together, we won’t allow veterans to be forgotten.
Welcome to the new normal. We Vietnam veterans find ourselves more likely to contract COVID-19 because of our age and pre-existing health conditions. Consequently, VVA decided not to hold the April Board of Directors meeting in person in Silver Spring; we held it virtually instead.
Texas and Oklahoma have rescheduled their state conventions and elections. Louisiana and Arkansas have yet to make any changes to their convention scheduling.
We in Region 7 find ourselves sitting at home with a lot of time on our hands. You can only do so much housework, cleaning out the garage, and mowing the yard. It wouldn’t be a bad time to get your affairs in order. AVVA’s Paper Safe is an excellent tool for organizing your vital records. If you don’t have one, contact your AVVA State Council Rep or download a copy at www.avva.org Click on “Programs.”
Stay safe and healthy. Also follow all of the government guidelines during this health emergency.
Region 8 is slowly gaining momentum as we have more in-person meetings and activities. Several major events are planned for this summer.
Alaska: President Craig Wade held the Alaska State Council meeting on April 21. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend.
Idaho: President Vern Peterson has invited me to attend the Idaho State Council meeting in Meridian in June, and I will be joining them.
Oregon: President Jim Fleming held an Oregon State Council meeting via Zoom on April 17, and I participated.
Montana: President Chuck Renevier held the Montana State Council meeting April 24 in Bozeman. I attended.
Washington: The Washington State Council meeting was held May 1 at Snoqualmie Summit.
Despite pandemic restrictions, the Yakima Warriors Association’s Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event took place on March 27 at Sarg Hubbard Park. The event was well attended and quite moving as we honored the 737th Transportation Company (the Yakima Valley Apple Knockers), who served in Vietnam in 1968-69.
Two big events are planned: President David Loomis and Chapter 165 are preparing to hold the chapter’s car show, their major fundraiser, sometime in June or July. President Ande Mitchell and Chapter 1109 have scheduled its Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event for the first week in August. This free annual event is held on Ande’s property and draws the largest gathering of Vietnam veterans in the state.
We have met and are supporting Dany Park and the Korean veterans who served in the Vietnam War in their effort to gain health access at the VA, as addressed in H.R. 5590, The Korean American Valor Act. The VVA Minority Affairs Committee will introduce a resolution at the National Convention.
I am certain that as we move forward and this pandemic allows us to hold events and become more active in service to veterans that we will have a considerable amount of information to share with you. Please take care of yourselves and stay healthy.
Some good news for a change: The Veteran is back in print and the National Convention will be held in November. The VVA leadership and the Finance Committee are to be commended for bringing the organization through 2020 and taking us into 2021 in good financial shape.
State councils and chapters have adapted to COVID restrictions with different ways of taking care of business. Virtual platforms have been used, as have telephone calls and emails. Most adapted and overcame the obstacles. We survived 2020.
Region 8 and 9 will host the traditional pre-convention conference in September. The time and place will be announced as soon as details are in place. The pre-convention conference is where proposed amendments, resolutions, and national candidates are discussed. The discussion helps the attendees get a jump start on the items the delegates will vote on at the Convention in Greensboro, N.C.
State councils and chapters need to have their Election and Financial Reports in by July 15 with copies to national and, in the case of chapters, to both national and your state council.
If the reports are not in on time, your delegates will not be seated at the Convention.
I am looking forward to visiting each state council in Region 9 in the coming months.
I urge you all to stay safe and well and to check on your buddies. Wear a mask, keep a social distance, wash your hands often, and get vaccinated.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.
It continues to be an upside-down world. But we can still talk about the weather, or who caught the biggest fish. “How’s it going?” has been replaced with a quiet, “Did you get your shot yet?”
With much hesitation and fear of the ongoing pandemic, VVA has moved ahead with plans under the constitutional mandate to hold the 2021 Convention in November. Earlier fears of contracting COVID-19 appeared to have lifted after a final vote by the Board of Directors to lock in the date and begin planning the biennial Convention. Concerns about COVID-19 seemed to evaporate as those eligible and willing have been vaccinated.
VVA got a dose of what it takes to operate a once-vibrant corporation under extreme financial cuts and budget freezes during the fiscal year that ended on February 28. The Officers, Board, and others were forced to commit to this strange world and virtual meetings. One virtual meeting after another improved with quicker responses to logging in; learning that “mute” means the audience will not hear dog barks, coughing, or background chatter; and if you “disable” the camera, we cannot see you blow your nose. Step by step, we learned about order and recognizing those who wanted to speak, and wondered about those in leadership positions who typically contribute to the conversation but fell silent during virtual meetings.
As I look at the growing list of VVA candidates who will enter the realms of campaigns and caucuses—some of whom I know well and others I know second hand—I wonder who among them learned from the pandemic experience that the fat days of VVA may never return. Who among the candidates will rise to the level of looking at the totality of the organization and be able to make sound, clear-thinking decisions for the good of all VVA programs and to be cognizant that our mission has never changed? Who will put aside personal feelings and adopt an open mind and restore the focus on our mission, the looming legacy of VVA, and what we want to leave behind?
As we continue the task set out in GA Resolution-21, we need to keep in mind all of the people who have made VVA a leader in veterans’ advocacy from the bottom up. Those who served before us framed the organization so that those who serve now can have a solid understanding of what it takes to continue. Those on the support team and those who have partnered with us are often overlooked, and we need to shine a spotlight on them at times other than at Conventions and Leadership Conferences. They need to be acknowledged daily, so that we can continue with our volunteer work.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve, and to continue to serve, Vietnam Veterans of America. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me at email@example.com or 712-314-1808.
|The 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