|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Vice President’s Report, May/June 2023|
Thanks for the Support
Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the great Commonwealth of Virginia at the invitation of the Virginia State Council President Charlie Montgomery and Lynchburg, Va., Chapter 196 President David Stokes. This turned out to be a highly motivating and educational trip.
I attended the Virginia State Council meeting in Virginia Beach, where Charlie Montgomery ran a wonderful meeting. Close to 90 people attended.
One of the highlights was meeting with Rep. Jennifer Kiggans (R-Va.), who represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and chairs its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. A former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, she is highly supportive of active duty military personnel and veterans. Her discussion at the state council meeting on the VA and U.S. military objectives was extremely informative. It was an honor to meet and get to know her.
The next weekend, VVA President Jack McManus, Communications Director Mokie Porter, and I traveled to Lynchburg. We took part in the chapter’s long-running weekly Rally for the Troops event in downtown Lynchburg, a tribute to the troops and veterans in the heart of the city. Comradery abounded among everyone at the event.
In the afternoon we visited the National Center for Healthy Veterans, a 368-acre plot of land that is being turned into refuge for troubled veterans. Suicide, homelessness, trauma recovery, metal health and more will be addressed, all funded by donations. Eventually, the facility will contain a community center, a Healthy Veteran family lodge and counseling center, and veterans’ mini housing.
On Saturday we attended Operation Homecoming 2023, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of the POWs in Hanoi and recognizing the service of all Vietnam War veterans. During the ceremonies, Jack and I both spoke to the crowd of some 200 people.
American Gold Star families were also recognized at the event, as well as every veteran in the audience. The three of us were proud to represent VVA at the event, and be a part of such a great program of recognition and comradery. Our thanks to the kind and gracious people of Virginia Beach and Lynchburg.
What we do with the Money
Michael Brady of Chapter 196 asked me what VVA does with our donations. The answer is that most of the donated money is deposited into our general fund. From there, the funds are dispersed to the National office’s departments to finance their efforts in helping veterans.
Funds go to the Veterans Benefits Department, for example, to support claims filed by VVA VSOs and attorneys. Funds also go to VVA’s national committees to support their work on issues such as Agent Orange, veterans incarcerated, membership, communications, and POW/MIAs.
VVA National occasionally receives requests from state councils and committee chairs to donate to charitable causes. The Board, for example, recently authorized funding a Boy Scout program after a request from the Public Affairs Committee.
We are very diligent and careful about how we spend our donated funds. And we are very grateful that people generously donate to us. We take all precautions possible to make sure that the money we receive is put where it will do the best for Vietnam War veterans and their families.
So, here’s a big thank you to all who support VVA with your donations.
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