For Michael J Novosel Capital Area Chapter 542 in Harrisburg, PA 2016 was another busy year. Membership grew by nearly 8 percent to more than 230, along with more than 80 AVVA members.
Chapter 542 marched in ten parades, including the New York City Veterans Day Parade for the sixth straight year. VVA and AVVA members visited the Lebanon, Pa., VA Medical Center four times, hosted bingo three times, and held a luncheon on July 4.
In March the chapter organized the first-ever ceremony to honor Pennsylvania’s 378 Medal of Honor recipients. Over the Memorial Day weekend, it ran the Michael McLaughlin Memorial Golf Tourney, which raised more than $4,000, and members marched in the Annville Parade, where they distributed three thousand American flags. In June members worked on a golf tournament with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission that raised $9,000 for Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors.
For the fourth year, chapter members helped run the Central Pennsylvania Vietnam Round Table, the only Vietnam War oral history project in the U.S. in which Vietnam veterans meet monthly to discuss their experiences before, during, and after the war. In 2016 Chapter 542 donated $12,000 to support veterans and veterans’ activities. Regular bingo games and a gun raffle help raise the funds.
The chapter’s associates support the Dauphin County Veterans Court by managing the disbursements of funds donated by other organizations. Chapter 542 members visited schools in three school districts to talk about their experiences during and after the Vietnam War.
For the 26th year, VVA and AVVA members helped run the 1st Air Cavalry Division Field Cross Detail. In 2016 members of the Field Cross Detail placed the Field Cross fifteen times, posted the Colors, and presented the POW/MIA ceremony many times.
Also in 2016 the chapter worked with Feed My Sheep Food Bank in Halifax, Pa. In November chapter members attended the world premiere of the movie, All Were Forgotten … and Then Came John, which depicts the life and times of VVA member John Travers.
“I could not be prouder of our VVA and AVVA members in how they take the initiative in community service,” said Chapter 542 President Allen Welch. This year the chapter will work with the Widener Law School to provide free legal advice for veterans.
By Richard Burton for The VVA Veteran