Vice-President

Thomas R. Burke

Vice-President

When I took the oath of office two years ago, my reason for seeking a leadership role was that I wished to be a part of any decision that would affect VVA’s future. Little did I know how much I would be tested in moving our organization forward.

 

Events have taken place across our country, which no one would have ever believed. Our plans were being assembled to move into the future. COVID 19 struck, worming its way into just about every facet of our lives. For some, disruptions to everyday life were overwhelming. The functions of VVA were dramatically impacted.

 

The officers were forced to take drastic action. My role as Vice President took on a perspective that I could not have foreseen. During these last two years, I have been looking after the administrative side of the house–Veterans Benefits, IT, HR, and staff. Changes were made, and we brought on new people. The entire staff has performed well for our membership.

 

Also, I addressed the downsizing situation, unemployment, insurance problems, 401K distributions, and State Council and Chapter problems that were brought to my attention; I negotiated a couple of contracts for services to our members, as well as discipline situations, and much more.

 

I believe the officers reacted in the best way that we could have, given the circumstances. VVA’s major revenue sources disappeared in a matter of 48 hours. The business of our household goods program shuttered almost 100 percent. Most were forced to shut down, and 4,400 employees were laid off by our buyers.

 

All of us (officers) brought different backgrounds and talents to the forefront in dealing with this crisis. These talents/backgrounds proved to be a major factor in dealing with what had to be done in a short period of time. Many reports were made to the membership during these difficult times.

 

The officers were in constant contact and responded accordingly. As a member of VVA, I would expect nothing less. I can tell you I spent many sleepless nights rolling over in my head details of what could be or what might be or what should be. Ultimately, we made decisions that were incredibly difficult but in keeping with what we felt was best for both the organization and the membership. Decisions had to be made. At times we had no idea where these events might leave us. In the end, as it turned out, we made more right decisions than wrong. We reacted quickly and decisively. We changed our minds about some decisions, when that need arose. These efforts allowed VVA to see another day. We survived an unprecedented event to live again!

 

As we look back over what we have been through, I trust that we all have learned some lessons from events of the immediate past, that prepare us to better meet the future needs of our organization head on. I believe we are all concerned with our legacy efforts, as we begin to see ourselves aging out, but a bright future is sure to follow us. I am still of the belief that we should carry on as long as possible. As always, there is a never-ending agenda for Vietnam Veterans of America. We always have projects and legislation that we want to get passed.

 

At our upcoming convention, many topics that have the potential to impact our future will be discussed. As most of you know, plans are being developed to take on VVA’s legacy. We still have much to do in the immediate future. Decisions will be made, and you all need to be part of it. I urge you to come to the convention and to make your thoughts known. I have said it before, and I will say it again. As a member of the National Board of Directors, I pledge to listen to you, the members, and hear your desires regarding the future direction of VVA. We all need to have our opinions heard. I am here for one reason, you, the Vietnam Veteran, your spouse, and your children. Most of you know I have been around VVA a long time. I am a proud life member. I have served VVA in many capacities at the local, state and National levels.

 

Leadership is important, no matter where our task may take us. I truly appreciate that the membership has put their trust in me over the last 25 years as a leader of this organization in various capacities at the local, state, and national level. Today, I ask for your support to reelect me as your National Vice President. This position is so much more than a title. I consider it a privilege to serve our organization. It is also my passion, my commitment, and my dedication to VVA. I hope that you will agree to help me to continue my efforts for a second term on your behalf as your National Vice President.

When I took the oath of office two years ago, my reason for seeking a leadership role was that I wished to be a part of any decision that would affect VVA’s future. Little did I know how much I would be tested in moving our organization forward.

 

Events have taken place across our country, which no one would have ever believed. Our plans were being assembled to move into the future. COVID 19 struck, worming its way into just about every facet of our lives. For some, disruptions to everyday life were overwhelming. The functions of VVA were dramatically impacted.

 

The officers were forced to take drastic action. My role as Vice President took on a perspective that I could not have foreseen. During these last two years, I have been looking after the administrative side of the house–Veterans Benefits, IT, HR, and staff. Changes were made, and we brought on new people. The entire staff has performed well for our membership.

 

Also, I addressed the downsizing situation, unemployment, insurance problems, 401K distributions, and State Council and Chapter problems that were brought to my attention; I negotiated a couple of contracts for services to our members, as well as discipline situations, and much more.

 

I believe the officers reacted in the best way that we could have, given the circumstances. VVA’s major revenue sources disappeared in a matter of 48 hours. The business of our household goods program shuttered almost 100 percent. Most were forced to shut down, and 4,400 employees were laid off by our buyers.

 

All of us (officers) brought different backgrounds and talents to the forefront in dealing with this crisis. These talents/backgrounds proved to be a major factor in dealing with what had to be done in a short period of time. Many reports were made to the membership during these difficult times.

 

The officers were in constant contact and responded accordingly. As a member of VVA, I would expect nothing less. I can tell you I spent many sleepless nights rolling over in my head details of what could be or what might be or what should be. Ultimately, we made decisions that were incredibly difficult but in keeping with what we felt was best for both the organization and the membership. Decisions had to be made. At times we had no idea where these events might leave us. In the end, as it turned out, we made more right decisions than wrong. We reacted quickly and decisively. We changed our minds about some decisions, when that need arose. These efforts allowed VVA to see another day. We survived an unprecedented event to live again!

 

As we look back over what we have been through, I trust that we all have learned some lessons from events of the immediate past, that prepare us to better meet the future needs of our organization head on. I believe we are all concerned with our legacy efforts, as we begin to see ourselves aging out, but a bright future is sure to follow us. I am still of the belief that we should carry on as long as possible. As always, there is a never-ending agenda for Vietnam Veterans of America. We always have projects and legislation that we want to get passed.

 

At our upcoming convention, many topics that have the potential to impact our future will be discussed. As most of you know, plans are being developed to take on VVA’s legacy. We still have much to do in the immediate future. Decisions will be made, and you all need to be part of it. I urge you to come to the convention and to make your thoughts known. I have said it before, and I will say it again. As a member of the National Board of Directors, I pledge to listen to you, the members, and hear your desires regarding the future direction of VVA. We all need to have our opinions heard. I am here for one reason, you, the Vietnam Veteran, your spouse, and your children. Most of you know I have been around VVA a long time. I am a proud life member. I have served VVA in many capacities at the local, state and National levels.

 

Leadership is important, no matter where our task may take us. I truly appreciate that the membership has put their trust in me over the last 25 years as a leader of this organization in various capacities at the local, state, and national level. Today, I ask for your support to reelect me as your National Vice President. This position is so much more than a title. I consider it a privilege to serve our organization. It is also my passion, my commitment, and my dedication to VVA. I hope that you will agree to help me to continue my efforts for a second term on your behalf as your National Vice President.