|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Treasurer’s Report, January/February 2022|
Where Does the Time Go?
It seems hard to believe the VVA National Convention in Greensboro was over just 60 days ago. Where did the time go? Ah, yes, now I remember: Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
When I left Greensboro on November 7, I had a brief ground time at home in Connecticut before I was off to meetings, orientation, and onboarding at VVA’s Silver Spring offices. I also had the opportunity to meet staff and begin to acquaint myself with the current financial policies and procedures of our organization. There were several meetings with President Jack McManus, Vice President Tom Burke, and Secretary Bill Meeks.
Although I am the “new guy,” I have successfully worked with these gentlemen on projects and programs over the years and look forward to future endeavors. I am energized and enthusiastic about joining this team that is ready to go.
We also had the opportunity to represent VVA at several Veterans Day events. At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, I had the privilege of joining Jack McManus in placing memorial wreaths on behalf of VVA and AVVA at The Wall. Marsha Four (a Special Adviser to the VVA President) and Sandy Miller (Chair of the Homeless Veterans Committee) joined us for the day. The Keynote Speaker was well-known Army Gen. Barry McCaffery, a veteran of the wars in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.
We were especially proud that a longtime friend and VVA member from Bucks County, Pa., Grace Moore (a U.S. Army nurse at the 12th Evac. in Cu Chi in 1968), was the featured speaker at the Military Women’s Memorial. Moore brought back memories and captured many of the sentiments of the audience of veterans, families, and friends. I also had the unexpected surprise of talking with another speaker, a special friend and mentor, Gen. George Price.
Later that day, we were joined by Tom Burke and his wife Robin for a special presentation to Gen. Wilma Vaught at the Women’s Memorial (formerly known as the Women in Military Service for America). The pandemic and travel restrictions had delayed the presentation of the VVA Commendation Medal to Gen. Vaught. I was honored to read the citation while Tom Burke presented the medal. Gen. Vaught served in Vietnam and later became the driving force behind the creation of the first memorial in D.C. to honor the military service of women from the beginning of the nation to present day.
At this important juncture, I couldn’t help but reflect on my first VVA Board meeting. Back in the 1987, committee meetings were held in the hotel room of the chair. Rooms were shared; travel was often at your own expense. And some Committee meetings lasted way into the night. I came to the meeting to bring the issue of homeless veterans to the VVA Board and found that my concerns were shared by a majority. Thus began my engagement and faith in the power of Vietnam Veterans of America.
In the process, I tried to contribute as best I could to the organization. I started out as Secretary of Chapter 270 in Norwich, Conn., a position I held for seven years. Then I served as Region 1 Director from 1990-95. I’ve chaired VVA’s National Committees on Homeless Veterans, Women Veterans, PTSD and Substance Abuse, Veterans Benefits, Agent Orange, Health Care, Government Affairs, Credentials, and Resolutions. I also was the Founding President of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund (1990-97).
These experiences have renewed my conviction that VVA is a can-do organization. I see my role as Treasurer to be accountable, transparent, and responsible in the financial activities of VVA. Within that commitment is my promise to work with every echelon of leadership to maintain the viability, mission, and legacy of Vietnam Veterans of America.
At the end of this whirlwind agenda, I realized that serving seven years as a USAF flight nurse had prepared me for many of the rigors of my new position. However, I seem to remember it was a lot easier back then.
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