PRESIDENT JOHN ROWAN
I would like to
take this opportunity to thank Alan Cook for his service
over the last six years. While we will miss him, I know that
his wife Cindy and their sons will be glad to have him back.
Meanwhile we welcome Larry Frazee to the team.
When we took office
four years ago we realized that there was a need for a number
of administrative changes. It is just surprising how long
it has taken to get some of them done.
Some of the earliest
changes have been great successes. Carol Engle our Director
of Information Technology, has improved our ability to communicate
to our membership and the world. The VVA Veteran under
Mike Keating has undergone a magnificent transformation.
The advertising revenue for both of them has increased significantly
thanks to Public Affairs Chair Keith King and his friends
at Fox Associates.
of our product sales program has had a significant impact
on our finances. This program was begun to supply our members,
Chapters and State Councils with VVA items. Unfortunately,
this program lost money for years. In 2008 we became acquainted
with a wonderful, veteran-owned business, Medals of America,
who has taken over this program at no cost to us. We just
received our first residual check, putting us in the red
for the first time.
complete article ]
BY MICHAEL KEATING
work, for sure,” said Dave Simmons, VVA’s West
Virginia State Council President and host of the April 16-19
Region 3 Conference in Charleston. “But it’s
about family; it’s really a big family reunion.”
On Friday, April
17, the conference was gaveled into session. A banner declaring
it the George C. Duggins Conference was unveiled by Simmons
and Region 3 Director Bruce Whitaker. A letter from Duggins’ widow,
Blanche, expressed her pride and gratitude for the honor
bestowed on her husband, VVA’s president from 1997-2001,
and her regrets at being unable to attend due to the birth
of a grandchild.
The preceding day,
an All-Veterans Parade had marched down Charleston’s
Court Street in front of the Conference hotel. Organized
by Huntington Chapter 949’s Ron Wroblewski, Joe Wilson,
and Dave Graham, the parade featured ten of VVA’s eleven
West Virginia chapters, most of the other state VSOs, one
of the state’s oldest veterans, and the crack St. Albans
Marine Corps JROTC.
[ read complete article ]
BY MARK JURY
When Marsha Four
arrived at the 18th Surgical Hospital in Quang Tri as an
Army nurse in July of 1969, she bought an M-16 rifle. Nurses
weren’t issued weapons, but there was no way she was
going to be in a war zone without a way to protect herself. “One
of the nurses was leaving and she sold me her M-16, two magazines,
and her refrigerator,” Four recalled. “I paid
her twenty dollars, I think. I kept the rifle in my hooch.”
program director for Homeless Veterans Services with the
Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center
(PVMSEC)—a 501C (3) non-profit agency that exclusively
serves veterans in need. She oversees the largest program
in the country funded by the VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem
Grant Program designed specifically to help homeless women
veterans, along with a model transitional housing program
Four and the other advocates for
homeless veterans are facing new challenges as the newest
generation of veterans and a growing number of middle-aged
and elderly homeless veterans from Vietnam and other wars
threaten to overwhelm the systems set up to help them.
One of the most chilling statistics
for homeless veterans is that the percentage of women in
the homeless veteran population is rising while the overall
number of homeless veterans is decreasing. To understand
the women behind the statistics, I visited the Mary E. Walker
House (named after the Army doctor who served as a battlefield
surgeon during the Civil War, the only woman awarded the
Medal of Honor), which opened in 2005. It’s located
on the grounds of the sprawling VA Medical Center in Coatesville,
Pennsylvania, an hour’s train ride from Philadelphia.
BY KERRY MYERS
As the formation
of forty-two T-shirt and blue jean clad veterans came to
attention, the late afternoon sun reflected golden flares
off the flag’s red, white, and blue as the colors were
struck. Behind them was a recently operable Vietnam-era armored
personnel carrier, now sitting in place as the first permanent
monument to veterans on the Louisiana State Penitentiary
The formation was
simultaneously proud and pensive, but the veterans’ collective
countenance gave nothing away. The olive green war machine
was their doing and this spring Sunday afternoon marked the
monument’s official dedication. It was donated to the
Camp F Veterans Incarcerated club on Veterans Day 2008 by
Warden Burl Cain, a former Louisiana Army National Guardsman
who has a deep respect for the military service rendered
by the men under his care and control.
about all of our veterans, but our Vietnam veterans are pretty
special,” Cain said. “The Camp-F VETS have done
a lot to help their community. This Vietnam Veterans Memorial
is for them. They have earned it, and I want them to work
on it and turn it into a beautiful place.
Memorial Day we honor our fallen dead from every branch
of service and every war in which we have bravely fought.
As members of Vietnam Veterans of America who have committed
never to leave one of our own behind, we commemorate our
fellow VVA members who have died.
[view the memorial