|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Vice President’s Report, July/August 2021|
The Future Beyond COVID
For the first time in a long while the Officers met in Silver Spring in person during the Memorial Day weekend, staying for the entire following week. During our stay, we proudly represented VVA at The Wall during the May 31st ceremonies. President Rowan, Treasurer McManus, and I presented VVA’s wreath at The Wall. If you were streaming the ceremonies, you most likely saw us. Attendance at The Wall was limited, but it was a wonderful event.
As you can imagine, we had many meetings during the week in Silver Spring. We met with all the Directors, as well as the staff, and had individual meetings with the building maintenance people, security, and others. Wes Guidry was in town to talk with us about the Convention. It was a great pleasure to meet with our people after so much time.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
We have just experienced the largest public health crisis of our lifetimes. COVID is now winding down, and throughout the country we are starting to see the fruits of wearing masks and getting vaccinations. VVA was hit hard by COVID-19. It tested our resolve to continue VVA’s work for veterans.
Little did we suspect that it would take 15 months before we would be able to consider reopening to any great extent. More than 600,000 people perished during this period. For those who lost loved ones, we share your grief. We now look forward to a breath of normalcy. But I wonder if we will ever be the same again.
Much has changed in the past 15 months. Many of our headquarters people now work remotely from home. Some come to the office on a rotating basis to do essential business.
Business as usual is what we desire. But what is business as usual now? Your Officers are now working with Dr. Artie Shelton on a policy for the national office to bring the full staff back to the headquarters building. We proposed June 28 as the return date for all employees. We know that the membership has long waited to see this happen.
This has been a struggle for all involved. I know I can speak for all the staff when I say that we appreciate the patience of the membership with all this upheaval. Believe me when I say that they have done all within their power to see to it that our members were taken care of during this time.
We believe the return of people to headquarters will be a combination of staffers working at home and at the office. Consideration of the office staff, their families, and their health is paramount to the Officers. We will not do anything to bring back the staff without complete safety measures in place.
The National Convention will be held November 2-6 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The host North Carolina State Council has many activities planned for the Convention. SC President Rossie Nance believes that all state and local COVID restrictions will be gone by the time of our arrival.
This is good news. Dan Stenvold, Chair of the Convention Planning Committee, along with Meeting Planner Wes Guidry and committee members, have been busy putting together the Convention agenda and entertainment. The registration forms are on our website. We already have delegates registering. This could be a sign that our members want to get out and participate in the Convention in large numbers. We suggest that you get your room reservations in as soon as possible, as well as your registration package.
We have a good slate of individuals who have responded to our call for candidates. We have new people running for office, which is a good thing. You can review the slate of candidates here.
Some VVA regions have decided to meet before the Convention. At this time, we are aware of Pre-Convention Conferences of Regions 8 & 9 in Sparks, Nevada, and Region 5 in Columbus, Ohio, in September. State Councils will also meet during the summer. I encourage you to get involved with your organization.
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