|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|VVA Committee Reports, September/October 2022|
VVA chapter memberships vary widely, from about 15 to several hundred, and there are wide variations in attendance at chapter meetings. But on average, attendance at most regular VVA chapter meetings ranges from 20-25, even as chapter membership numbers increase.
A limit must be considered when determining the quorum in chapter bylaws. Based on this average attendance, bylaws should set the quorum at about 15-20, the number of members expected to attend meetings except in very adverse conditions.
If chapter bylaws set the quorum at a percentage of the membership, the chapter will, as the recruitment of members continues, reach a point in which it can no longer meet its quorum. The quorum is the minimum number of chapter members who must be present at a meeting in order to have business validly conducted.
A chapter quorum of 25 percent will reach the above limits with 80-100 members. A chapter quorum of 20 percent would reach the limits with 100-125 members. If chapter bylaws prescribe a percentage as the quorum, it is important that the chapter amend the bylaws to prescribe a number between 15 and 20 before the stated limits are exceeded.
If there is no quorum at a chapter meeting, the chapter cannot validly receive reports, nominate candidates, hold elections, adopt a budget, authorize expenditures, adopt motions, give notice, or fill vacancies.
If such business is conducted at a chapter meeting, those members present would be personally and financially responsible for those acts because they would not be validly conducting business at a regular or properly called meeting at which a quorum is present.
Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 12th edition, Section 40, paragraphs 1, 3, and 11, states that a quorum “is the number of members who must be present in order that business can be validly transacted. The quorum should be as large a number of members as can reasonably be depended upon to be present at any meeting, except in very bad weather or other exceptionally unfavorable conditions.
“Before the presiding officer calls a meeting to order, it is his duty to determine, although he need not announce, that a quorum is present. If a quorum cannot be obtained, the chair calls the meeting to order, announces the absence of a quorum, and entertains a motion to adjourn…”
Traveling home to California from the August National Leadership & Education Conference took thirteen hours, which gave me time to review another outstanding group of seminars. The Women Veterans Committee hosted Collecting Oral Histories. Andrew Huber of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project presented a concise review of use of the oral history toolkit. For more information, go to www.loc.gov/vets or email Ahub@loc.gov
Sheryl Shaffer, the producer of Veterans Helping Veterans TV, shared techniques for short video interviews. A great link is: https://vhvtv.org/vhvtv-digital-production-creating-short-form-content We need to tell our stories and get them saved for our families and future generations. Starting this at our chapter levels is not that difficult. Leanne Weldin, Executive Director of the San Juan VA Regional Office presented a seminar on updated Military Sexual Trauma claims.
We are looking forward to the Military Women’s Memorial 25th Anniversary Celebration October 14-16 in Arlington, Virginia. Many of us were there for the original dedication. This celebration is designed, in part, to help make younger women aware of the memorial and its programs and build camaraderie.
Diane Carlson Evans, who served as an Army nurse in Vietnam in 1968-69, was honored with the VVA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Saturday night Awards Banquet. She thanked VVA for our the support during the ten-year fight to build the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, which dedicated in November 1993.
About 30 women veteran lapel pins are left. We plan to order more women honor coins before November. We still need photos of women during their time in service so that we can make a new women veteran information card. Please send your photos to Mporter@vva.org
Veterans Incarcerated & In the Justice System
BY DOMINICK YEZZO, CHAIR
The Leadership Conference in Greenville, South Carolina, gave us an opportunity to offer a seminar on the purpose and direction of the VINJUS Committee. Gary Newman, Tony Di Leo, and I spoke for 90 minutes to an audience of 60 people.
Newman is a retired police officer who serves veterans incarcerated in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. He talked about the success of veteran inmates when they are housed together in a separate ward designated for veterans, including a program at the Union Correctional Facility that allows incarcerated veterans to train service dogs.
Tony Di Leo, a Marine and Army veteran, spoke of the effects of PTSD and TBI. Both men are involved in the County Veteran Treatment Court.
I spoke about the committee’s work with Veteran Treatment Courts and the Getting Ahead While Getting Out program. My goal was to try to inspire VVA members to serve veterans incarcerated and to understand the effects of PTSD and TBI on veterans who return to our communities with those silent and deadly disorders of war.
VA Voluntary Service
BY KEN ROSE, CHAIR
I have written in the past about the VA’s Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission to keep you informed about its progress because it was supposed to institute a major change in the VA system. The Senate had to act on the nominations of the commissioners and then send them to the President.
Well, the Senate did something unusual. It reacted quickly by rejecting the process and letting it expire. For now, the AIR Commission is dead, and while it could be resuscitated, it would have to start again from the beginning. That is not likely to happen soon.
The VA has many things that could be—need to be—changed or updated. The AIR, if it comes around again, must be reviewed carefully.
For now, each VAMC and CBOC will continue with plans that they were working on to renovate their campuses and go ahead with maintaining their facilities for the next few years.
The PACT Act is now law. To check on eligibility, go to https://www.va.gov/resources/the-pact-act-and-your-va-benefits This affects the Burn Pit problems, as well as Agent Orange, so check the site.
Throughout the VA system things are slowly opening up and restrictions are being relaxed based on local rules. Access to some wards may be limited and populations at the VA are still down. Some things are always needed: drivers, ambassadors (to meet and greet visitors), and donations. Check locally to see what is needed.
Some Representatives have stopped attending VAVS meetings. After missing three meeting in a row, you will be suspended from the committee. Remember, the VAVS/CDCE Office should provide a virtual meeting if there is no face-to-face meeting. Attendance is not always checked carefully, so be sure they know you have attended a meeting, both virtual and in-person.
If you have any problems or questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Affairs Committee
BY DENNIS HOWLAND , CHAIR
In our Public Affairs Committee meetings I’ve said many times that am a firm believer that Public Affairs and community involvement have a direct impact on nearly every part of our organization. That includes recruiting, fundraising, and working with community agencies. The more visible we are in our communities, the more successful our programs will be.
With a new school year beginning and pandemic rules being less stringent, it is a great time to make contacts for your Vets In Classrooms programs and, for those who have units in your areas, the VVA JROTC Medal program.
I appreciate everyone who attended the Medals and Awards seminar at the National Leadership Conference in Greenville. All the Conference’s presentations were incredible and the presenters were outstanding and professional. It was a tremendous learning experience.
Please remember the many awards programs available from Vietnam Veterans of America. These are programs that give you opportunities to honor the work of your members, thank the support of special partners in your communities, and recognize the great work of students, cadets, and Eagle Scouts.
We are working on the details for VVA’s participation in Veterans Day ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.. Those plans should be completed soon, and the information will be sent to state councils and chapters. I hope many of you will be able to participate. I believe it will certainly be a rewarding experience that you will cherish.
Speaking of November, some of you will be coming to Silver Spring for the first time for the Board and committee meetings. I invite you to attend the Public Affairs Committee meeting and become a member of the committee and bring your input. It is always welcome. Even if you decide not to be a member of the Committee, your input is still welcome. Please email me at email@example.com with your ideas.
To obtain medals, submit nominations for awards, or receive information about the awards programs, email Mokie Pratt-Porter at firstname.lastname@example.orgHave a great rest of this year and recruit, recruit, recruit!
BY RICHARD W. LINDBECK, CHAIR
I attended the 2022 National Leadership & Education Conference in Greenville, South Carolina, in August. We had 318 registered attendees with a good number of first timers.
The Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday was quite interesting. We discussed the Camp Lejeune water contamination legislation and how it is handled outside of the VA. We also discussed the future of VVA.
Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. General Walter Gaskin was the Keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday and made some very interesting comments.
The seminars were interesting and informative. I found the POW/MIA session to be especially informative. Grant Coates and Mokie Porter gave an excellent presentation on the POW/MIA issue from World War I to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also had an interesting discussion about how POWs were treated in captivity.
Much of the information that was provided during the week will be distributed to members whenever we have the opportunity to do so.
As of August 24, 2022, the number of Americans listed as Missing and Unaccounted for from the Vietnam War is 1,584. The locations are:
Vietnam - 1,244 (North Vietnam - 442, Vietnam South - 802)
Laos - 285
Cambodia - 48
Peoples Republic of China territorial waters - 7
VVA’s Veterans Initiative Program needs your help. Objects taken from the battlefields of Vietnam are more than souvenirs or war trophies. Maps, stories, after-action reports, pictures, and military items may have a story that could result in finding the location of missing war dead.
Contact the Veterans Initiative at:
Veterans Initiative Program
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