Region 9 REPORT
BY DARROL BROWN
Greetings from sunny western Nevada. On March 30, VVA members from throughout the west met in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico, to refresh our reasons for joining VVA and hatch ideas that will keep us focused on who we are and why we do what we do as veterans. Led by New Mexico State Council President Ken Daby and Albuquerque Chapter 318 President Bob Ulibarri, we had a great time.
After most everyone arrived on Friday night and enjoyed some of the local hospitality, we met on Saturday to get reacquainted and down to business. Each state except Colorado was there, including both chapters from Utah and two members from Hawaii. California sent its State Council officers, as did Arizona. Nevada had a distinguished delegate, the Nevada Veteran Service Officer P.J. Cantrell. Angeles City Chapter 887’s delegate was there at the front of the room. Dick Southern and I were really pleased at the turn-out, which included three BOD members and three national Committee chairs. Region 9 has four BOD members and four national Committee chairs.
To say the meeting was lively, interactive, and enlightening would be a tremendous understatement. We ran the gamut of topics, from health care to legislation, to bylaws, to benefits, and back to our favorite topic—raggin’ on the VA. It was a great six hours, and I hope each of us took home a good reason to come back later this year for the next Region 9 meeting. Terry Nolan took some great minutes, which I’ll share with anyone who wants a copy.
One topic for the day was the 2006 Leadership Conference. Ken Holybee, Bill Messer, Dick Southern, Bob Johnston, Jerry Yamamoto, and others gave good updates on the conference and what the seminars will be in Tucson. From a quick show of hands, 25 Region 9 members will be at the Leadership Conference. Dick talked about the Mike Nash Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament and how Region 9 always buys holes to support the scholarship fund. If we can carry over the excitement from Albuquerque, Tucson will be a rocking event for VVA.
One unfinished bit of business from Albuquerque is figuring out where to have the next meeting. I’ve heard suggestions of Albuquerque, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and somewhere in California. I was hoping Hawaii would offer to host, but nothing yet. After some deep discussion, Laughlin, Nevada’s, Ramada Inn Express was picked. Details to follow. A huge thank-you to Dick Southern for doing the planning for the conference. He did an excellent job pulling everything together.