|Vietnam Veterans of America|
VVA and AVVA members of Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 in Reno, Nevada, joined local Home Depot employees the first week of December for their annual decoration party at the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks. The volunteers decorated Christmas trees in all six of the Home’s residential units as well as two trees in the common area. They also set out wreaths, flags, stockings, bells, and Christmas lights throughout the facility. Earlier that week AVVA and VVA members decorated Christmas trees at the Veterans Guest House, which provides overnight lodging for veterans at the nearby VA Reno Medical Center. That same day, the chapter Signature Flag Trailer took part in the annual Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting, along with several classic vehicles driven by chapter members.
Blue-Gray Chapter 628 in Princeton, West Virginia, held its 15th annual live Christmas tree sale in November and December last year to raise funds for the chapter’s community service programs. “It’s a major fundraiser,” said chapter President Ed Taylor. “We usually make enough money to last us the rest of the year.”
For the 15th consecutive year, Sergeant Roy F. Correnti Chapter 908, in Lynn, Massachusetts, distributed food gift cards to local veterans for Thanksgiving.
Members of Schulenburg, Texas, Chapter 870, along with AVVA members, took part in the December early evening Lighted Christmas Parade sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. The Chapter 870 group prepared and distributed goodie bags to children following the parade at the town’s gazebo, giving a helping hand to Santa and Mrs. Claus. On hand for the event were Jo Ann Brown, Terry Brown, chapter Treasurer Louis Estrada, chapter President Andy Janda, Leonard Korenek, Eugene Krupala, Ray Urban, Daniel Kutac, Kathy Kutac, and Billie Urban.
Members of The Villages Florida, Chapter 1036 pitched in to help with the Christmas food program in December at the Heritage Community Church’s Beyond the Walls Food Pantry in Fruitland, Florida. Members packed hundreds of bags filled with holiday food, which went to deserving local families.
Memphis, Tennessee, Chapter 1113 held its annual celebration honoring past and present members during Veterans Day weekend. The event included a car show and a military stand down. “Overall, we’re trying to create a paradigm shift in terms of how people look at veterans,” chapter President Leonard Perkins told a local TV station. “Whether a veteran is a lawyer, a banker, or somebody pushing a shopping cart down Madison Avenue, when you’re looking at a veteran, you’re looking at a dignitary.”
Members of Daytona Beach, Florida, Chapter 1048 recently showed up at historic Oak Ridge Cemetery in nearby Ormand Beach, Fla., to replace the cemetery’s flagpole, which was destroyed when Hurricane Ian tore through the area in September. Removing debris and erecting a new flagpole “was a monumental task,” said Chapter 1st Vice President Rich Swicki. The chapter members accomplished those tasks and raised the “flagpole with an all-weather night light and a four-foot-by-six-foot new American-made American flag.”
St. Peters, Missouri, Chapter 458 once again last year took part in a grand re-opening of the O’Fallon Walmart, which was updated by adding delivery and express delivery services. The local Walmart has been a strong supporter of the chapter’s fundraising activities. South Metro Denver Chapter 1106 recently received a $9,000 contribution to fund its community service activities from ERC Management, which runs Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers in Colorado.
Chapter 1080 at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida, recently changed its name to the Ernest C. Brace Chapter 1080 to honor the Korean War U.S. Marine fighter pilot who, while working for the CIA in 1965, was captured in Laos and became the longest-held civilian POW in the Vietnam War. The chapter’s September Walk-a-Thon raised more than $6,000, which the chapter donated to Operation Barnabas, which supports at-risk veterans and first responders in Clay County, Fla.; Kid’s First of Florida, a community-based foster child care agency; and the Union County Florida High School Athletic Department.
Four days before Christmas, members of Morristown, Tennessee, Chapter 1073, with the help of Neal Whetsel of Knoxville, Tennessee, Capt. Bill Robinson Chapter 1078, held a wreath-laying at the historic Old Russellville Cemetery, which contains the graves of veterans of the Mexican War, the Civil War (from both sides), World War I, and World War II. Chapter members then drove to the Veterans Overlook Memorial at Clinch Mountain where they also laid a wreath. Chapter 1073 recently made a $1,000 donation to The Daily Bread Community Kitchen, a local faith-based nonprofit that provides lunch and dinner to less-fortunate and disabled men, women, and children, including veterans.
Lewis County, West Virginia, Chapter 906 and two other local veterans service organizations presented a total of $1,800 in late December to the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center and the West Virginia Nursing Facility’s Resident Benefit Fund. “We know that certain individuals at the [VAMC and Nursing Facility] don’t have any family or don’t have family that visit and it’s tough, especially this time of the year,” said Chapter 906 Vice President Marty Depersig. “It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling every year that I do this.”
On Veterans Day, six names were added to the Rutland County (Vermont) Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which was dedicated by Rutland, Vermont, Chapter One in 2000. The memorial honors Vietnam War veterans who lived in the county when they were inducted into the military. When dedicated, its plaque listed 126 names — it now contains 350. The chapter is also working with the local historical society to archive veterans’ records. “We’re trying to encourage Vietnam veterans to give pictures and maybe a story, something you would like history to know about you and your service to be preserved for future generations,” said chapter Board member Bill Elwood.
|The VVA Veteran® is a publication of Vietnam Veterans of America. ©All rights reserved.
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910 | www.vva.org | contact us