|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Directors’ Reports, March/April 2023|
The January Board of Directors meeting in Silver Spring was one of the better meetings in a long time. The meetings were held at the new venue, the Doubletree Hotel, which I found to be a great improvement over the prior location.
The National Convention is in August in Orlando, Florida. Only a handful of chapters in Region 1 are under suspension for failing to file financial reports. These reports must be filed to get out of suspension and to have chapter members attend the Convention, so please get to it.
VVA membership has hit 88,000, and we are eager to reach the 90,000 milestone. You can help by recruiting a new member.
The POW/MIA Committee announced the recovery of the remains of CWO Larry Zich, who was lost over Marble Mountain in 1970. Also recovered was Army PFC Thomas Green, lost in 1971. This leaves the number of unaccounted for at 1,580. The VVA Veterans Initiative program has proposed a mission to Vietnam in October.
The VVA Veterans Benefits program announced the number of grants of benefits issued from October 2021 to September 2022. Veterans in Massachusetts received more than $35 million.
The Vietnam War Commemoration announced plans for a Vietnam War veterans Welcome Home event on the National Mall May 11-13.
The BOD signed an MOU with B&M law firm to represent VVA members with Camp Lejeune claims. Contact information can be found at www.CampLejeuneLitigationTeam.com/vva/ or by calling 800-898-9450.
In Region 1, this past holiday season the Berkshire County Veterans Coalition of Massachusetts came together to distribute gifts to veterans in local nursing homes and assisted living centers. This coalition consists of veterans with memberships in VVA Chapter 65 and other local VSOs. These groups have come together for the past several years to distribute these gifts.
The Rhode Island State Council is involved in the fundraising for the construction of the Seabee Museum and Memorial Park in North Kingstown. More info at www.seabeesmuseum.com.
The Massachusetts State council held a meeting on January 7, and President Gumersindo Gomez announced the construction of a new SC website. The web designer, Dave Markey, is an Afghanistan War veteran who has helped us in the past and has promised to deliver an award-winning website.
Please remember to forward your local events to me so I can get them out to membership.
A chapter is placed in suspended status by the National Corporation for failure to submit an annual financial report to both its state council and the VVA Finance Department by July 15 of each year, as required by the VVA Constitution.
A chapter also will be placed in a suspended status by the National Corporation for failure to submit an annual or biennial chapter election report to both its State Council and the VVA Membership Department no later than July 15 of the year in which the election takes place.
VVA National held off sending out suspensions until January 23 this year. Even with more than six months of grace, there were 103 suspensions, 95 chapters and eight state councils. Region 2 consists of four state councils and 78 chapters, and ten chapters were put on suspension for not sending in yearly reports. Delaware had one chapter suspended, New York had two, and Pennsylvania had seven.
The finance and election reports are simple forms to fill out, so please make these reports in a timely fashion. Finance reports can be done any time after March 1 and election reports right after a chapter’s April elections. Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial walls will be making their way through region 2 in 2023. Here’s the schedule:
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will be in Roscoe, Pa., from June 15-19, in W. Brownsville, Pa., from September 8-12, and Long Valley, N.J., from September 27-October 2.
The Wall that Heals will be in Auburn, N.Y., from September 14-17, in Kutztown, Pa., from September 21-24, in New York City from September 28-October 1, in Lindenhurst, N.J., from October 5-8, in Lemont Furnace, Pa., from October 12-15, and in Phoenixville, Pa., from October 26-29.
For information on names, go to https://virtualwall.org/index.html
Region 3 is preparing for the new fiscal year. Our priority is making sure that all the chapters and state councils turn in their Election Reports and Financial Reports by the July 15 deadline. This is important so that their delegates can be seated at the 2023 National Convention in Orlando.
As with other Regions, we are seeking solutions to the problem of how to keep our chapters strong and viable. We must continue to advocate for our fellow Vietnam War veterans and their families and maintain the good work we do in our communities.
We are all looking forward to the Convention in Orlando.
Thanks to George Dahlke for his assistance in producing this report.
Thanks to our Region 4 state and chapter presidents, we anticipate reaching VVA’s highest membership. 90,000-plusthis year. Sadly, though, we continue to lose members due to age and sickness.
As an organization, we have agreed to remain until the last man is standing, but there are still things to be done to prepare for the future. The Board will be making recommendations to for the delegates to consider at this year’s National Convention in Orlando, Florida. I encourage everyone to attend and express your thoughts. Now is the time to begin planning.
Looking back over the past few months makes me proud to be VVA. We may be getting older, but we are still moving forward. We continue to fight for our veterans’ benefits, and we are winning. Sometimes it takes longer than we would like, but we never give up. The Veterans Day ceremonies at The Wall in D.C., which included VVA color guards from 33 states, was a sight to behold and was well attended.
This is an election year for some of our chapters in Region 4. Town hall meetings are once again being planned. Fundraisers are taking place. We are still working on a get-together for the region. And our National Convention will be here before we know it. I hope that it is well attended as there are still many decisions to be made about our organization.
By the time you read this, the total number of delegates will be verified, and each state council and chapter will know how many delegates they are authorized to have at the Convention. More than 700 delegates attended the last Convention in 2021 and this year there should be more.
Just the chance to come together makes it worth the time. Please plan to attend; your input is needed. May God bless each of you and keep you safe.
I have chosen to hold the Region 6 Conference on May 19-21 in the Greater Des Moines, Iowa, area.
We are looking for a good venue near hotels and other amenities for the event. It looks like the 19th will be an informal evening and the 20th will be a full day for conference activates. When we have things firmed up, I will e-mail everyone.
I plan to invite VVA’s National Officers to the conference and lead a discussion on the future of VVA. The AVVA Region 6 Director will have offer thoughts on that subject, as well, and we will then have a good idea who is running for the National offices and can have an informal candidate discussion.
I would appreciate it if the Region 6 state council presidents provide us with an accurate estimate of how many people from their states will attend. This will help with the planning.
If your state and chapters have not already done so, get your Election and Financial reports into National. If they are not on file, your delegates will not be seated at the Convention.
Region 9 continues to see increasing membership numbers every month. I believe this trend will continue.
I am looking to get more Region 9 councils, along with their chapters, to attend all VVA events and functions. The big event coming in August is the VVA National Convention in Orlando, Florida. Since it’s a convention, the delegates will vote for the Officers and Board members and consider constitutional amendments and resolutions to take VVA into the next two years.
One of my goals for the future is to have each state in Region 9 increase the number of its chapters. Stronger state councils insure that VVA will continue to help veterans and their families get benefits they deserve. Higher numbers of members also help influence Congress to pass legislation that benefits veterans and their families.
I will continue to advocate for Region 9 veterans and their families as I visit state council and chapter meetings throughout the region, and as I take part in National meetings and activities.
I pray that you all stay safe and well and check on your buddies. Get back in the habit of attending meetings and renewing efforts to recruit new members.
Contact me at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
In January I attended the BOD meeting in Silver Spring and felt that it was a great meeting that focused on addressing our future. This means that we are looking at how we will be operating in the next several years.
A topic of discussion was whether we should continue holding the Leadership Conferences. The answer is yes; however, there could be some changes in how we structure them.
The discussion centered on how to make all the seminars available to the attendees since we hold them concurrently. We also looked at shortening the seminars and presenting them virtually online.
The National Convention in Orlando, Florida, is rapidly approaching. Among other things, that means that chapter and state council Election and Finance Reports need to be sent to National by the July 15 deadline. Make sure that these are done ASAP. It makes the job of the staff easier when reports are in on time.
Remember: This is an election year for the four National Officers, At-Large Directors, and Region Directors. The candidates’ bios will be in The Veteran’s May/June issue for your review. Also, proposed constitutional amendments and resolutions will be reported for consideration at the Convention.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the National Convention.
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