|Vietnam Veterans of America|
The U.S. Navy officially commissioned its latest guided missile destroyer, the U.S.S. Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG-124), on July 29. The ship is named in honor of Northern Virginia Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 member Harvey Barnum, a U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran who received the Medal of Honor in February 1967. Barnum received the MOH in recognition of his exceptional courage in Vietnam on December 18, 1965, when, under withering fire, he assumed command of his 3rd Marine Division company and led them through a vicious fight. “Harvey Barnum continued to serve the Navy after the war as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs,” said longtime Chapter 227 member Len Ignatowski, “and he has supported the chapter in many ways over the years.”
At the June meeting of Rochester, New York, Chapter 20, Rich Stewart, the president of Honor Flight Rochester, presented a plaque to the chapter, recognizing its continuing support of the organization. Since 2008, Honor Flight Rochester has flown nearly 3,900 veterans to Washington, D.C. Five chapter members were on this year’s flight, on Father’s Day.
Chapter President Charles Klauck presented a $1,000 check at the June meeting to the War on Terror Memorial of Monroe County for its endowment fund. The memorial, dedicated on September 11, 2021, is adjacent to the Greater Rochester Memorial in Gary Beikirch Memorial Park, named after the late Chapter 20 member and Medal of Honor recipient.
Fresno, California, Chapter 933 held its first Veterans GameFest in July, drawing a huge crowd at the nearby Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building. The three-day event featured card games, family, fantasy, and military board games, Dungeons & Dragons, and more. The event raised funds for the chapter’s JROTC program, its program that supports veterans at Fresno State University, and other chapter endeavors, including underwriting veterans’ rehabilitation programs. Local JROTC cadets pitched in as volunteers on all three days.
At its June meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Charles S. Kettles Chapter 310 welcomed six members of the local Sarah Caswell Angell DAR chapter. The DAR members read a proclamation from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, recognizing the chapter as a DoD Honorary Vietnam War Commemoration Partner, and presented a commemorative flag and certificate to the chapter. The ceremony also included the presentation of Vietnam War veteran and Surviving Spouse lapel pins. Following the ceremony came the announcement that longtime active chapter member John Kinzinger would receive the DAR’s 2023 Outstanding Veteran Award at its annual Continental Congress in Washington, D.C., in July. Standish, Michigan, Chapter 390 also held a Vietnam War Veterans and Surviving Spouse pinning and Honorary Partner ceremony at its June meeting. Chapter President Kenneth Adrian accepted the DoD commemorative flag and certificate from members of the Midland, Michigan, John Alden DAR Chapter.
Finger Lakes, New York, Chapter 377, held its 16th annual Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway of Valor Tribute Ride on July 15. The 100-mile ride along Route 38 honors all New York State Vietnam War veterans, as well as Medal of Honor recipients Terrence Graves and Robert F. Stryker, who grew up along the route. The Chapter 377 color guard and AVVA color guard saluted those who drove cars, trucks, and motorcycles along the route. Owego, New York, Chapter 480 and Auburn, New York, Chapter 704 co-sponsored the event.
Reno, Nevada, Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 members James Hanson, one of the chapter’s founding members, and William Grey were named Veterans of the Month for July and August in a June ceremony at the Nevada State Capitol’s old Assembly Chambers in Carson City. Hanson was honored for his volunteer work at the Reno VA hospital, especially during the pandemic, and his fundraising for Honor Flight Nevada and volunteer work at the Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks. Gray, the chapter vice president, was cited for his extensive chapter activities, including being a member of the color guard and volunteering at the state Department of Correction’s Silver State Industries, which trains and employees inmates, and the Veterans Guest House near the Reno VA Medical Center.
Members of Daytona Beach, Florida, Chapter 1048 played a prominent role in the flag-raising ceremony on July 4th at Paradise Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care in Ormond Beach, Fla. The chapter Honor Guard presented the flag and performed a rifle salute, followed by the playing of “Taps.” “One of the most heartwarming occurrences was when the residents went off program and started singing ‘God Bless America’ while the flag was being raised,’ said Paradise Pointe CEO Darlinda Copeland. “One lady started it, and by the end, all 100 guests in attendance were singing in unison. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.”
On Flag Day, June 14, Jackson, Michigan, Chapter 109 held a flag retirement ceremony and cookout at the chapter’s headquarters building on West Franklin Street. The chapter Color Guard solemnly burned worn-out American flags in a ceremony that included a tribute to the flag, a prayer, and a 21-gun salute.
Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, Chapter 942 hosted the Independence Celebration at Soddy Lake Park on the Fourth of July. The event included food trucks, kids’ games, a big car show, live music, and family-friendly activities — topped off with a big fireworks display.
Phil Milio, a photographer and member of New York City’s Angel Almedina Memorial Chapter 126, exhibited his work as part of the “Journeys Onward: Military Veterans’ Experiences” art exhibit at the Salmagundi Club of New York on Fifth Avenue. The exhibit, which ran from June 26 to July 28, consisted of about 100 artistic works in different media from 40 veteran artists. Milio served in Vietnam in 1968-69 as a U.S. Army photographic laboratory technician with the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion’s Air Reconnaissance Support group.
Northern New Mexico Chapter 996 has been the driving force for the effort to build a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the Angel Fire Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Northern New Mexico. Construction on the Angel Fire replica wall was slated to begin this summer. The chapter began working with the New Mexico State Department of Veterans Services, which operates Angel Fire, in 2018 to raise funds for the replica, which is expected to cost around $1.5 million. Funds have come from the New Mexico State Government, the Governor’s office, and Chapter 996 fundraisers. “It will be something very personal to family members and friends of those who lost their lives in Vietnam to go to Angel Fire and see the names of those loved ones on the wall,” said Chapter 996 President Jerry Martinez.
Member of Racine, Wisconsin, Chapter 767 participated in the dedication of the Gold Star and Blue Star Mothers markers along Veterans Memorial Walk in Racine's Pritchard Park on May 13. Chapter President Tom Banner and past president Jim Michel, among others, took part in the event, along with U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil. The chapter raised the funds for the Gold Star and Blue Star markers, which are embedded in two large boulders in the park. The chapter raised most of the funds for the two markers.
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