|Vietnam Veterans of America|
Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 continued its longtime support for Richards House, a multifaceted housing program for homeless veterans, by collecting clothing, personal items, and jars of coffee at the February membership meeting. Following the meeting, chapter member Ken Allocco delivered everything to Richards House, one of two homeless veterans facilities run by Rochester’s Veterans Outreach Center. Richards House provides emergency, transitional housing for male veterans who are drug and alcohol free. The facility also offers job training and computer training, as well as mental health services, including addiction treatment.
Brooklyn, New York, Thomas P. Coughlin Memorial Chapter 72 raised some $3,700, which it donated in January to the Kentucky State Council to help VVA members in Western Kentucky who were hit by the deadly tornado outbreak in December. “I am very proud of our chapter for stepping up after those horrific tornadoes,” said Chapter President Danny Friedman. “We will continue to provide as much support as possible to our fellow veterans.”
Tucson Chapter 106 and the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services are co-sponsoring a National Vietnam War Remembrance Day Ceremony on March 26. The event will include lunch, door prizes, and an awards ceremony.
Daytona Beach, Florida, Chapter 1048 held its first golf tournament fundraiser on January 8 at the Venetian Bay Golf Club in New Smyrna Beach, and it was a success. “We wish to thank the businesses and community leaders, individuals, and organizations that contributed to this worthwhile fundraising event,” said chapter 2nd Vice President Gabe Sanchez, who also thanked the many chapter and AVVA volunteers who worked the tournament. “You were the key, making this one of Volusia County’s most successful veterans golf tournaments. We are looking forward to making this an annual event.” The chapter’s cemetery detail recently repaired a broken headstone of a World War II veteran and solidified several sinking gravestones at Oakridge Cemetery in Ormond Beach. That historic Black cemetery was in bad condition when the chapter adopted it in 2020 and began cleaning it up and making much-needed repairs.
Lebanon, Tennessee, Chapter 1004, in conjunction with the city of Lebanon, provided a free breakfast to all local veterans on Saturday, January 8, at the local Tennessee National Guard Armory. Each veteran was invited to bring a guest for breakfast.
Clay County, Florida, William G. Byrns Chapter 1059 celebrated the tenth anniversary of its founding at the January chapter meeting, which was held outside at a local American Legion post. In addition to chapter founder Gary Newman, 28 other current members were among the founders: Darline Teel-Williams, Chapter Chaplain Jim Barlow, George Blouir, Stephen Chance, Rich Chattaway, David Chidester, Frank Denny, Vince Gomez, Mack Gooding, Ronald Goodman, Paul Haws, Jr., Herb Hilderbrand, Rudett Johnson, Charles Linn, Bubba McCaffrey, Thomas McKeen, Paul Padgett, Albert Painter, Robert Phillips, Lillie Pratt, Don Rodely, Penelope Sanders, JJ Thomas, Bob Turknett, Jesse Vaughn, Fred Wainwright, Donald Walsh, and Harry Whitehead.
St. Lucie County, Florida, Chapter 566 gave an $11,000 check to the local County Commissioners on January 11. The money will go to support the St. Lucie County Homeless Veterans Assistance Center. Later in the month, the chapter’s Color Guard presented the colors at the seventh annual City of Fort Pierce Job Fair at which veterans were permitted to enter the building a half hour before the doors opened to the general public through the county’s “Priority of Service” policy.
In early February Leominster, Massachusetts, Chapter 116 took part in the eleventh annual Ice Out veterans fundraiser. The chapter, in conjunction with three other local VSOs, set up a mannequin dubbed “Private Rocky” atop a lifeguard stand in the middle of a local pond, and local residents paid a few dollars to guess the date that Rocky would fall through the ice. Each VSO contributed $100 for the prizewinner, and they would split the profits if more than $500 was raised. “Sometimes we don’t make any money,” Chapter 116 Vice President Ralph Sacramone told a local newspaper, but the popular contest puts the spotlight on the chapter and veterans and any proceeds support chapter programs such as its Honor Guard and scholarship fund. “Rocky is more popular than the mayor,” Sacramone added. “It’s good awareness for veterans.”
Northern Virginia Chapter 227, working with Somers, Montana, Chapter 1087, recently arranged for a disabled, post-Vietnam War Navy veteran, Philip Dintruff, to move from Virginia to Montana and into an assisted living facility. The move was necessitated after Dintruff’s sister in Montana agreed to serve as his legal guardian following his divorce. Chapter 227 covered the cost of Dintruff’s airfare. Chapter 1087 members and its AVVA members met Dintruff at Glacier Park International Airport and arranged for the Northwest Montana Veterans Food Pantry to provide furniture and food items for his new apartment. Chapter 1087 member John Anderson arranged for Dintruff’s medications to be provided by the Montana VA medical system, and a chapter member who lives at the facility helped orient Dintruff to his new surroundings. “This combined team outreach fulfills the VVA founding principle, ‘Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another,’ ” said Chapter 227 President Jay Kalner.
Members of Texarkana, Texas, Chapter 278 recently built and installed two wheelchair ramps at the homes of local disabled veterans and the chapter donated $250 to the widow of an AVVA member and $800 to the Arkansas High School Air Force JROTC program. Back in November the chapter covered the costs of the turkeys that went into the local Elks Lodge’s Thanksgiving baskets provided to local families, and in December the chapter donated Christmas gifts to 41 veterans in local nursing homes.
Howard Maninga, a member of Fargo, North Dakota, Chapter 942, and his wife Trudy hosted their 16th annual Vietnam and All Veterans Memorial Flag Raising Ceremony last August at the memorial they built on their property in Ponsford, N.D. The memorial consists of replicas of a Vietnam War bunker and a ship’s deck, as well as a bronze statue of a soldier and a display of the Stars and Stripes, the POW/MIA flag, and the flags of all the armed services. At the ceremony veterans changed the flags as a bugler played “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the crowd sung along and then recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The Maningas’ daughter Kalyn recited a poem she wrote for the occasion.
Detroit Chapter 9, in conjunction with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, presented $3,000 college scholarships in January to three college students whose fathers or grandfathers served in the Vietnam War: Max Vreman, Katarina Moore, and Shaylin Cota. Vreman, a junior at Western Michigan University studying chemical engineering, received his first Chapter 9 scholarship. Cota, who attends Grand Valley State University, and Moore, a student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, received scholarships for a second time. “We are honored to continue our partnership with” Chapter 9, said Mariam Noland, the president of the Community Foundation. “We congratulate VVA for supporting youth whose families gave of themselves to support our country.”
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