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VVA Committee Reports, September/October 2021 -   -  

It has been quiet in the area lately, but chapters are still out there working in their communities. Unfortunately, I’ve only received information from Massachusetts chapters.

In June Bruce Dobson, the vice president east of the Massachusetts State Council, was asked to go to the VA Medical Center in West Roxbury. Upon arrival he spotted a large trailer in the parking lot with a group of dignitaries standing around an odd-looking wheelchair. It was a new iBOT PMD by Mobius Mobility, developed in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The iBOT is a multi-modal personal mobility device that enables a patient to accomplish things previously thought impossible with only one device through five modes: Standard, 4-Wheel, Balance, Stair, and Remote.

The iBOT PMD can be driven up and down stairs, in the sand and snow, and climbs curbs up to five inches high. In Balance mode the driver can rise on two wheels, rather than four, to be at eye level. Each iBOT is custom fit to its user’s center of gravity.

Mobius Mobility is donating 25 iBOTs to VA hospitals treating spinal cord injuries. These machines cost about $40-45,000 and you need a prescription from the VA. You must be taught how to use them, kind of like driving a car. On behalf of VVA, Dobson thanked the manufacturer for its efforts to give veterans with severe spinal cord injuries a better chance at life with new mobility.

Westport, Massachusetts, Chapter 207 and New Bedford Chapter 499 sponsored their annual Vietnam Veterans Memorial car show on September 11, with proceeds going to the recently dedicated Wall in Fall River. As in past years, turnout was great.

On July 31 I attended the Massachusetts State Council meeting. President Gumersindo Gomez and I presented the VVA Achievement Medal to Justin Latini for his four years of hard work to make the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Fall River a reality.

At the meeting there was much discussion about the future of VVA and the upcoming Convention. It was unanimously voted to convey to the National Officers the state council’s desire to continue our mission of “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” Closing the doors is not an option, and we have no intention of abandoning our brothers and sisters.

The vote demonstrated the will of the Massachusetts members to continue VVA’s legacy in the form of a sister organization such as Veterans Voice of America. The Massachusetts VSO program is alive and well, and we want to continue to help veterans of all wars obtain the treatment and benefits they earned while serving in a combat theater.

The Region 1 Conference will be held October 16 at the Dante Club in West Springfield, Mass. President John Rowan and Vice President Tom Burke will be there to answer questions before we head to Convention in November.

Make sure all your paperwork is in order and filed, including Convention registration and hotel reservations. All chapter and state council Election and Financial Reports and 990s must be on file with national before delegates can be credentialed.

Hope to see everyone soon. Stay safe.

Gordie Lane, a former New York State Council president, died on February 23, and on August 12 the Chapel in the Veterans Cemetery in Upstate New York was dedicated to his memory. Gordie Lane was quite vocal and persuasive. Just one of his many accomplishments was to have the Chapel rebuilt and to provide free burials there to veterans.

The Western New York National Cemetery Memorial Council invites you to donate interment flags to its Avenue of Flags. They will fly to honor all deceased veterans. For more information, contact Mark Janik, 716-627-2919 or mark@lakesidefuneralhome.com

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Greensboro.

It is great to get back to living and doing things like we did before the pandemic. I hope all is well with everyone.

The next important thing for VVA is the National Convention in November. Many very important issues need to be addressed there. Uppermost perhaps is the future of VVA and the VSO program. Please discuss these issues in your chapters and state councils so you know how to go forward. Don’t forget to make your hotel reservations and to register for the Convention. Pay attention to cutoff dates.


Region 6 Director’s recent activities:

June 10 BOD e-vote on Minnesota chapters closing
June 14 Emails on Minnesota chapters and state council closing
June 25 Helped clear out Minnesota VVA VSO office
July 10 BOD e-vote on Insurance Clic-RX Agreement
July 16 Minnesota State Council meeting
July 21 BOD e-vote on One Digital HR Consulting Agreement
August 4 BOD e-Vote on DoubleTree Management Agreement
August 14 BOD meeting

Kansas: Roland Mayhew has 6,250 voluntary hours. A park was dedicated to Vietnam veteran Randy Whelpley. The Blue Angels had an air show July 3-4. Richard Brundage, author of the new Vietnam novel, The Five O’Clock Follies, was a speaker at the September State Council Meeting. The Vietnam Traveling Wall was at Feldhausen Field in Marysville August 26-29. The Second Annual Gage Park Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Car and Truck Show fundraiser was held September 19.

Minnesota: The VVA VSO office has closed. The national office has taken over supervising the operation with the state of Minnesota. The state council is in the process of shutting down and closing its office.

We are much closer to our National Convention in November. Right on schedule, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading with a vengeance. Please, if you are not vaccinated, consider doing so. If you can’t because of personal health concerns or religious reasons, please practice safe behaviors to protect yourself and your loved ones.

The Texas State Council held its meeting in Denton. I apologize to the Arkansas State Council for missing its convention in June. I was on my way, but was forced to turn back. An anticipated hurricane turned out to be nothing more than a bad rain storm.

I want to impress on all of the members in Region 7 that we have one of the most important decisions to make about the future of VVA in November. It is of vital importance that delegates make every effort to attend the Convention safely and have their voices heard about what they want to happen to our organization. If you choose not to attend and you don’t like the decision that was made, you have nobody to blame than yourself.

I will have to vote the way the State Council Presidents in Region 7 tell me to. I have no agenda; I only do the bidding of the members of Region 7 and vote accordingly.

So if you can’t make the Convention, tell your State Council Presidents your wishes and have them direct me how to cast my vote. Remember that the duty of a Region Director is to represent his members before the National Board and Officers. In fact, you should elect only directors who will do the bidding of the membership and not someone else’s.

Please stay safe and healthy, and with God’s graces, we will all make it through.

Alaska: On July 20 I met with SC President Craig Wade and Alaska State Council members at Wasilla. All is going well, especially their VSO program, which is helping more veterans than usual this time of year. The SC also held its annual fundraising event, which was quite successful, generating a considerable amount of funds to help veterans and their families.

Idaho: I will attend the Idaho State Council meeting on September 25. SC President Vern Peterson’s leadership is helping to increase membership and community services to veterans in need.

Montana: Bozeman Chapter 788 held its annual fundraising Veterans Outreach Golf Tournament. “The tournament included 128 participants, volunteers from the chapter, the community and a plethora of raffle prizes,” said SC President Chuck Renevier. “The tournament was for the outreach program, which takes care of veterans and active-duty military families in the Gallatin County area.”

Oregon: SC President Jim Fleming will be holding a state council meeting by Zoom during the fall and is planning a physical meeting during the spring. Oregon continues to keep active with its major projects, the Veterans Memorial Highway and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Washington: The Loss of Revenue Grant submitted by Mike Harris and Odis Warren resulted in the state council receiving a grant of nearly $60,000. These funds will provide some relief to our chapters, VSO program, and the state council. Bellingham Chapter 165 held its annual car show and raised nearly $20,000. On August 5 the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Wall in Enumclaw was well attended by Vietnam veterans and the general public. On August 8 Chapter 423 held a well-attended and successful Welcome Home Veterans barbeque. August 7 marked the annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans gathering at Andie Mitchell’s property in Sedro Woolley. This event gets bigger every year. Five hundred veterans and family members attended this year’s event, which included food, live entertainment, military vehicles, and presentations at no expense to veterans.

Region 8 and 9 members attended the joint Regional Conference September 14-16 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada.





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