|Vietnam Veterans of America|
Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 recently took two steps to help insure the chapter’s legacy. First, after several years of work gathering back issues of the chapter’s newsletters going back to 1981, the chapter has had all of them digitized. The award-winning newsletters (titled the Forward Observer from 1981-89 and since then Between the Lines) now live on the chapter’s website. Second, the chapter is donating the print copies of the newsletters to the Vietnam Veterans History section of the Rundle Library in downtown Rochester. “This is our history from 1981 to the present day,” said Joe Peck, the chapter’s POW/MIA Committee chair. Saving them online and in the library will allow “future generations to view and get an insight into the history of Chapter 20.”
The late John D. LeGates, a member of Central New Jersey Chapter 452, was honored during the annual Veterans of America Day on August 15 by the Somerset Patriots Double-A baseball team at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater Township. The team provided complimentary tickets to veterans for the game, which included a pre-game ceremony honoring LeGates and another local veteran, Frosty Lawson. Frank Prevete, Chapter 452’s president, spoke at the ceremony, which also included the New Brunswick, New Jersey, Chapter 233 color guard.
Two members of the American Gold Star Mothers of Tampa and Central Florida, Toni Gross and Maureen Miller, were the guest speakers at the annual Memorial Day service held at the Zephyrhills Correctional Institution by Zephyrhills, Florida, Incarcerated Chapter 195. During the service, veterans incarcerated remembered deceased Vietnam War veterans during the service by writing their names, date of birth, date of death, and branch of service on sheets of paper. The papers were ceremonially placed in a special bag and later burned in a solemn ceremony.
Sussex County, Delaware, Chapter 1105 held a big fundraiser at the popular Bottle & Cork concert venue in Dewey Beach, Del., on July 18. “The event was an absolute and total success for us and will allow [the chapter] to directly help our fellow Sussex County Vietnam veterans and their immediate families,” said Chapter President Rodger Rose. “We will also channel several significant donations to other charitable organizations which focus on initiatives benefiting Vietnam veterans’ interests and contribute to their welfare.” In addition to Rose, chapter members who worked the event were Tom Haslam, Dan Tidwell, Patrick Moonan, John Gossart, Jr., Joseph Forrester, Edward Haggerty, George Stone, Kenneth White, John Pauling, and Bruce Graber.
Members of Harrisonburg, Virginia, Chapter 1061 in the Central Shenandoah Valley recently participated in an outdoor fundraiser for Girl Scout Troop 1111 in Bridgewater, Virginia. “Chapter 1061 followed the current CDC guidelines for outdoor masking and social distancing,” said Chapter Secretary Tom Snook. “We were able to do some recruiting and some fundraising.” In addition to Snook, chapter members who helped out were Lenny Pannell, Richard Hopkins, Kenny Emerson, Danny Sanders, Fred Rhodes, Sonny Clutteur, Paul Clancey, Bruce Orebaugh, Bill Ludholtz, and Richard Rines.
After receiving a donation of aluminum storm shutters, St. Lucie County, Florida, Chapter 566 donated them to a local veteran in need. A group of chapter members came to the veteran’s house, measured the windows, cut the shutters to fit, and installed them. “This was an all-day job in the heat of July,” said chapter member Edward Cranford, “and the veteran is very thankful for those who helped.” The chapter Color Guard presented the colors on July 8 at the St. Lucie Mets’ third annual Military Appreciation Game. A 99-year-old World War II veteran threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Franklin, Tennessee, Chapter 1140 put on its first Car Show on Saturday, July 31, and it was a big success. Car enthusiasts entered 161 vehicles in the show, including Model T Roadsters, 1960s Volkswagen Beetles, and 1970s Ford Mustangs. The event raised more than $5,000, which the chapter will use to help local veterans and their families. “The number of people who came out blew my mind,” said Chapter President Rich Krejsa. “This was our first event, and I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for veterans. All the proceeds will help us help local veterans of all eras. We will have another, even bigger, show next year with even more support.”
Auburn, New York, Chapter 704 brought the Wreaths Across America Education Exhibit to Cayuga Community College on August 9. The 1,400-square-foot traveling museum honors veterans with interactive exhibits, short films, and family activities. The event also included a pinning ceremony for veterans. “The mission of Wreaths Across America is to remember, honor, and teach about veterans and their stories of service to our nation,” said chapter member Dr. Linda Townsend, who teaches at Dana L. West Junior/Senior High School. “Each year, a new theme is chosen to help volunteers and supporters focus their messaging and outreach. This year the theme is ‘Live Up to Their Legacy.’”
Members of York, Pennsylvania, Chapter 1032 had several tables at the York State Fair the last week of July. Proceeds from sales of tee shirts and other merchandise will go toward helping local veterans in need. The chapter also provided information on veterans benefits and services to attendees. The two most popular items were “the book we created that recognizes the service of 88 veterans from York County who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War,” said Chapter President Robert Gladfelter, “and a ten-by-sixteen-foot world map which veterans placed colored pins on to designate where they served. More than 900 veterans who served from World War II to the present placed pins in the map.”
Janesville, Wisconsin, Rock River Chapter 236 and its AVVA members presented a total of 56 scholarships this year to deserving graduating high school students and to graduated students from prior years who had never been awarded a scholarship from the chapter. Chapter members Mike Eggleston, Roger Manecke, and Garry Meister presented the scholarships at area high schools. They included 28 $300 scholarships: 24 Chapter Scholarships; two Tim Kettle Memorial Scholarships; one Max Perkins Memorial Scholarships; and one Albert Kath III Memorial Scholarship.
Hays, Kansas, Chapter 939 awarded four $1,000 scholarships to high school students who graduated in May. Graduating seniors who live in a county that has a Chapter 939 member are eligible for the awards, which go for post-secondary education or training. “Our focus is upon students who have been reasonably conscientious as students, though not necessarily distinguishing themselves in academics,” said chapter Scholarship Committee Co-Chair Terry Hanks. “We are interested in students who have been employed for pay during their high school careers. Employment illustrates reliability and a degree of self-discipline, but tends to detract from academic performance.”
Detroit Chapter 9, in conjunction with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, awarded three $2,500 scholarships in August. Rhyane Banks, a freshman at Wayne State University and a graduate of Renaissance High School, received the chapter’s ROTC Scholarship. Jaime Parker, also a graduate of Renaissance H.S. and a freshman at Michigan State University, and Wisdom Andino, a University of Michigan freshman who graduated from Cass Technical H.S., received Unsung Graduate Scholarships, which recognize those who confronted challenges and overcame them. “It is truly rewarding to be able to support the next generation by helping them further their education,” said Chapter 9 President Paul Palazzolo.
Alliance, Ohio, Thomas A. Mangino Chapter 157 dedicated its new $30,000 Vietnam War veterans monument on August 14 in Alliance’s Memorial Park. The monument honors “those who served during the Vietnam War era, 1959-75. It’s for all veterans who served during that time period,” said Chapter President Bob Akins. “We all are very excited to see it standing out there.”
The four-and-a-half-foot-tall monument includes a map of South Vietnam, logos of the five service branches, an illustration of The Three Servicemen Statue at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the following words: “To all who served our nation to give and preserve our freedom, independence and the right to govern ourselves. The citizens of Alliance thank you.”
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