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july/august 2008

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Bob Keller and Eunice Akins, members of Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville, Kentucky, received Volunteer of the Year Awards at the 61st annual VA Voluntary Service dinner in April. Keller and Akins were recognized for putting in more than four thousand hours of voluntary service at the Louisville VA Medical Center

Members of the Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia took part in the May 12 kickoff activities of the 12th Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Run at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Chapter members helped with the start of the event, as a group of runners, motorcyclists, and vans began their journey to the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. Also on May 12: Chapter member Tom Murtha was among those who escorted the remains of Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Michael Crescenz from Philadelphia, his hometown, to Arlington National Cemetery.

Members of Central Minnesota Chapter 290 in St. Cloud held a Memorial Day program on May 31 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in downtown St. Cloud. Members of the local Vietnamese community also took part in the event, the fourth such program sponsored by the chapter. Those in attendance honored the seventeen young men from the St. Cloud area who perished in Southeast Asia, along with all those who have died in service to the nation.

South Bay, California, Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach successfully lobbied the California State Legislature to enact two pieces of important legislation. Through the efforts of Sen. Jenny Oropeza and Assembly member Ted Lieu, the Legislature approved a resolution requesting President Bush to support Assured Funding for veterans’ health care, and another resolution supporting the 20th anniversary celebration in December of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento.

The Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 Marching Unit had a busy May. The unit took part in the annual Rochester Lilac Parade on May 10. The Honor Guard conducted the closing ceremonies May 11 at the Moving Wall’s visit to Wellsville, New York. The Unit marched in the Irondequoit Memorial Day Parade on May 25 and in the Downtown Memorial Parade May 26. After that parade, came the annual Memorial Day Service at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park. The Unit’s final event of the month was taking part in the Mendon fireman’s parade on May 31.

The Honor Guard from Quad Cities Chapter 299 in Rock Island, Illinois, joined other veterans’ organizations’ ceremonial units from across the state to take part in the annual vigil held every May at the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Springfield, the state capital. The Chapter Honor Guard stood as silent sentinels to the fallen beginning at noon on May 3. The vigil went from Friday, May 2, to Sunday, May 4.

Dean K. Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 in Northern Virginia recently inaugurated a new program called Operation Jump Start. Under it, the Chapter is donating $25 to each new resident of Compassion House, a small transitional facility for homeless veterans that opened last year in Culpeper County, Virginia. The money will help new residents purchase personal items.

Members of Nassau County, New York, Chapter 82, working in conjunction with the Northport VA Medical Center, held a Health Expo at the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa on May 10. The event was co-sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Joseph Saladino.

Porter County, Indiana, Chapter 905 was instrumental in convincing the Portage, Indiana, City Council to proclaim May 7 as a day to honor Vietnam veterans and to designate the week of May 12-16 as Vietnam Veterans Recognition Week. Jim Lynch, the Chapter President, accepted the official Proclamation on behalf of the Chapter at the May 7 City Council meeting.

Graterford, Pennsylvania, Chapter 466, an incarcerated chapter, recently held its annual fund-raising drive to purchase underwear and socks that the Chapter then donates to the Philadelphia Multi-Service and Education Center, an outreach group that serves that city’s veterans in need. The items were purchased from Pennsylvania Correctional Industries, which contributed to the cause. The chapter raised just under $700. Pennsylvania State Council President Jeff White picked up the clothing and made the delivery to the outreach and education center.

Plymouth-Canton Chapter 528 in Plymouth, Michigan, holds many fund-raising events throughout the year. Here’s a list of the some of the most-recent recipients of the money raised by the chapter: Tomorrow’s Child, Sew Much Comfort, Indiana Vietnam Veterans Reunion, Michigan Military Mom’s Walk, Marine Corps Toys for Tots, American Diabetes Association Walk, POW/MIA Committee of Michigan, Marine Corps League Northwest Detachment 162, VVA Chapter 310’s annual Ann Arbor VA Hospital Christmas Party, Grand Rapids Veterans Home, Michigan Veterans Foundation, Wyandotte Purple Heart Memorial, U.S. Army National Museum, Salvation Army, Adopt-a-Road Program, and Girl Scouts.

The two-float entry put together by Lawton, Oklahoma, Chapter 751 came in first place for the second year in a row at the May 17 Lawton-Ft. Sill Armed Forces Day Parade, which is believed to be the oldest in the nation. “The streets were lined with hundreds of spectators on both sides of the three-mile parade route,” said Chapter Membership Chair Luis Cantu. As the VVA floats came down the parade route, he said, “you would have thought that the winning touchdown had just been scored in the final five seconds of the Super Bowl. The cheers from the crowd as they stood up to salute our members were very touching. You could read their lips as they were saying, ‘Thank you, Thank you.’”

Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Chapter 115 recently donated $500 to help with the restoration of the monument in Veterans Memorial Park on Stevens Point’s south side. The chapter became the first organization to purchase personalized bricks for the walkway surrounding the monument, which was dedicated in 1923. The bricks will be inscribed with the names of the sixteen Portage County men who perished in Vietnam. One brick will be inscribed with the Chapter’s name. Two chapter members, Phil Kallas and David Bigalke, are members of the Memorial Park Restoration Committee.

VETS CONNECT
Washtenaw County, Michigan, Chapter 310 held its second annual Frenchie’s Support the Troops fund-raiser in April. The chapter raised more than $2,000, which should cover the cost of mailing about 170 care packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The event at Frenchie’s restaurant in Ypsilanti included music, a raffle, and an auction.

A good number of members of Greater Hartford, Connecticut, Chapter 120, led by life member Mike Daugherty, took part in a trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington on April 21. The trip was part of Operation Gift Cards, in which many Connecticut veterans’ organizations present gift certificates and other items to boost morale of veteran patients at Walter Reed and nearby Bethesda Naval Hospital. Since 2005, Operation Gift Cards has delivered more than $95,000 worth of gift certificates to the patients at Walter Reed and Bethesda.

SCHOLARSHIPS
Six high school seniors each received $600 scholarships this spring to further their educations from Westchester County, New York, Chapter 49. The winners were: Michael Brill of Somers H.S., who received the Pete Lambert Memorial Scholarship; Jerry Battipaglia of Somers H.S., the Peter T. McCauley Memorial Scholarship; Alexandra Kaye of White Plains H.S., the William Sudderth Memorial Scholarship; Peter Spengeman of Hendrick Hudson H.S., the Hamilton Fish Memorial Scholarship; Kevin Blank of Sleepy Hollow H.S., the Anthony Shine Memorial Scholarship; and Eve Woogen of Somers H.S., the Jonathan Shine Memorial Scholarship.

Appleton Area, Wisconsin, Chapter 351 presented a $1,000 scholarship this year to Sarah Anderson of Hortonville High School. The program is funded by donations, including a grant from Impressive Roofing & Siding. Chapter members David Evans, Mike Weaver, Chuck Lewis, and Leon and Chris Meidam chose the winner.

San Jacinto Chapter 343 in Houston awarded a total of $2,000 this year in the Connally Scholarship Program to graduating high school seniors. Five hundred dollars went to Kayleigh M. Carter, who will attend Texas A&M in the fall. Two-hundred-fifty dollar scholarships went to Brittany A. Euresti (who also will attend Texas A&M), Kealey I. Parkin (Texas Tech), April N. Euresti (Texas A&M), Tyler Rutledge (Blinn College), Dustin Rutledge (Blinn College), and Blake Baker (Sam Houston State).

Tupelo, Mississippi, Chapter 842 awarded its annual Patriotic Grants this spring to Erica Logan and Zarchary Sheffield of Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi.

 

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