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Committee Report


As many of you know, we have been working on a completely new VVA website as our main marketing tool and as a vital portal to our organization.

Various Vietnam-veteran foundations have reported increasing difficulty in fundraising for a declining Vietnam veteran population. This is not unexpected. We are now (like it or not) the older generation. Many donors are now looking to younger generations of veterans. We need to step up our game.

We must promote our position that we are helping all generations of veterans, as our founding principle suggests. If our donors do not see sufficient reasons to continue to support us, our organization will cease to exist.

The new website has been labor intensive. Staff and consultants have been working on bringing the new site up early this year. Reports have been made to the National Board of Directors on a regular basis during the transition. Our present website is being maintained by Director of Communications Mokie Porter and the Orange Factory while the new site is being developed. The transition date is fast approaching.

Other good news: We will probably come in under budget.


All you Navy men out there: The VA maintains a list of boats and U.S. Navy ships associated with service during the Vietnam era. The VA has published a new list of ships and boats that were part of the Mobile Riverine Force, inshore fire support, Division 93, and inland waterways of Vietnam. There is also an alphabetized list of Blue Water Navy ships.

This evolving list helps Brown and Blue Water Navy veterans find out if they qualify for presumption of herbicide exposure. You must meet the VA’s criteria for service in Vietnam, which includes being aboard a ship or boat on the inland waterways or brief visits ashore. Veterans who qualify for presumption of herbicide exposure are not required to prove they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides.

If you have not found your ship or boat listed, check again. The VA adds new ships regularly, so you should check every so often to see if yours has appeared. The VA will help determine qualifying service in Vietnam after you file a claim for compensation benefits.


We have lost another outstanding VVA advocate and friend, John Koprowski. He was a standup guy for veterans, one of the founding members of the Florida State Council, and a persistent advocate for his fellow veterans. My heart goes out to John’s wife, Joyce, and his family. Your war has finally come to an end, my friend. May you rest in peace.

New PSA Project 2015

Bill Black of Comcast and Keith King of Keith King & Associates, along with collaboration from VVA, have been working on a PSA project for this year. Comcast has requested that VVA to consider doing other projects in 2015. The PSAs will inform veterans on making the transition to civilian life from military; on searching for jobs after service; as well as how to make the most of the benefits that we have earned.  This project has moved along much faster than we had originally anticipated. Because of a request to have the PSAs ready for air dates in February of this year, we had to move up the schedule for the production shoot to January. Consequently, we will be shooting the PSAs in late January.  The editing of the footage will be expedient, so as to meet air dates. Comcast has stated that the air time currently scheduled for these PSAs would amount to three and one half million dollars of free air time to VVA.

New Web Site
The website construction is moving forward.  Our progress is on schedule.  To date, we have spent slightly more than $30,000 on the reconstruction. At the same time, we have maintained the current web site at the cost of slightly over $20,000.  We are closing in on the date when we will turn up the new face of VVA. At this time we anticipate the new web page will be launched in April or May.    

Real Estate Task Force
The Real Estate Task Force, chaired by Tom Owen, has been at work for about 10 months. We have been making progress in short leaps, but now we hope that we have found the avenue in which to make it all happen. The hang up has always been real estate law and how to find a way to legally submit monies from the real estate agents to the organization. Mr. Owen believes he may have found an avenue to do so. We want to make sure that this works, before we make the announcement of how we will move forward.  We will keep you updated.  

Government Affairs
HR 5484, The Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support Act of 2014, was introduced in Congress by Representatives Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Mike Honda (D-CA). VVA strongly supported this bill. Unfortunately it died in the last Congress. We have to start over. We are awaiting the new bill number to be assigned so that we will move forward with our battle to have this won during the 114th Congress. The legislation will provide a method whereby children of our servicemen and women will have an avenue by which their various forms of birth defects will be addressed. The nation needs to know the full effects of toxic exposures on our children. When the new bill number is known, please go to our Legislative Action Center (, and take action by entering your zip code. Then send the prepared letter to your U.S. Representatives, asking them to join their colleagues and cosponsor the new bill.  This bill will help to achieve a measure of justice for the innocent victims of their parents’ exposures to toxic substances while serving our nation. This bill will offer unlimited possibilities for scientific research into the effects of these toxic chemicals.   

Dan Stenvold, chair of the National Awards Subcommittee, reported that the members of the subcommittee have been very active reviewing submissions for VVA's Commendation and Achievement medals. The National Convention is not far off, so keep your nominations coming in. 

Last but certainly not least, the committee reviewed the upcoming budget process that will take place early this year. All officers, members of the board of directors, committee Chairs, department heads, and everyone else involved with budgets should be putting the finishing touches on them before submission to the VVA Finance Department. The deadline for budget submission is February 1, 2015.

--Respectfully Submitted by Tom Burke, Chair, VVA National Public Affairs Committee

Public Affairs Committee Veteran Article Mar-Apr 2014

January 31, 2014

As is required for compliance by Public Affairs Resolution P-7 we offer the following update concerning the efforts to advance the Committees 2013 Convention Resolutions.

P-1 Community Service The committee continues to encourage State Councils and Chapters to be involved in local events in their communities. Face time with Federal State and local officials in events sponsored by VVA do a great deal to enhance VVA's imagine. Achievements of our State Councils and Chapters are evident when you read the Veteran, looking at "Membership Notes"  and view on line events on face-book. Check out the accomplishments of our members by looking at out electronic version of the Veteran @

P-2 - Children's Welfare -Resolution encourages efforts to safeguard children and infants. This area although generally outside of VVA's legislative agenda, many members organize to provide programs that support the welfare of children. Nothing is more important than to secure the future of Vietnam Veteran children. Many State Council's are currently sponsoring "Town Hall Meetings" covering among other things, "Faces of Agent Orange"  that specifically target the off-springs of  Vietnam Veterans who have come down with ailments they have no business having.

P-3 Chapter Involvement with the Educational Institutions on Teaching the Vietnam War Story. Our chapters and members are committed  to the theory,  that those who walked the walk and talk the talk should be the individuals who teach our young people in this country about a war that no one wanted to know about. The VVA veteran has encouraged participation of our members work in this regard by highlighting stories of members at schools across the nation, talking to students about the war. Postings by our communications department on social media has also highlighted events related to student education of the war.  Tom Hall Educational Sub-Chair of the Public Affairs committee has completed an update of the Education Guideline that is available for chapter use.

P-4 Regulation of Activities at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Our D.C. memorial, and I feel it is well to include many outstanding memorial erected across the nation, has and always will be  hallowed ground. All VVA wishes this ground to remain unsoiled by politicians, hawkers, vendors or anyone else who wishes to use our memorial(s)  as a backdrop for partisan issues.

P- 5 - This resolution was born out of firsthand experience of Vietnam Veterans with environmental issues and damage caused by Agent Orange, among other items. It is technically outside the purview of VVA's legislative agenda. This issue is best handled at the Chapter Level.  It was recommended for retirement by the committee at our last convention, however the delegates at the convention was it differently and held on to this issue. We continue to encourage development at the Chapter level.

P-7 - Requirement to report progress on all currently approved convention resolutions by all standing committees at least once per year. This report fulfills the requirement for the Public Affairs Committee. Encouraging compliance the process for reporting by all committees has been formalized. Any committee may report in any issue of the Veteran, however every committee with resolutions, must report on the progress in advancing those resolutions at least once per year.

P- 8 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial - This is a constant reminder that our the commitment to conservation and legacy of the Wall be maintained. VVA encourages the active participation of VVA Members in the care and maintenance of "The Wall". One example is the monthly washing of the Wall by the Silver Spring, Maryland chapter 641.

P-12 - Public Awareness for Veteran Benefits Campaigns - Members of Public Affairs attend meetings of the Veterans Benefits Committee for the purpose of coordinating efforts of both committees. These joint meetings are to encourage the best of ideas for the further  support and procurement of  federal  veteran benefits.     

P-13 Gold Star Mothers National Monument - This supports the establishment of a memorial in Washington D.C. that will honor the singular sacrifices of America's Gold Star Mothers. VVA has and will continue to support those efforts.     

Tom Burke -Chair

The Public Affairs Committee - Tom Burke, Chair: Herb Worthington, Vice Chair, Awards Chair - Dan Stenvold, Members: Grant Coates, Ken Holybee, James Maddox, Tom Owen, Richard Delong, Bob Barry, Ronald Morgan, John Riling, Beverly Stewart, Charles Stapleton, Ron Zink, Staff: Wes Guidry, Mokie Porter, Michael Keating.   

Have you heard of the VVA Talk List?
This list is about sharing information that may help us as individuals or as an organization. It is a privilege extended to VVA and AVVA members in good standing only. It is about problem solving, again for individuals (seeking buddies; looking for help with the VA; etc.), chapters (where can we reach The Moving Wall; how can we raise funds; increase membership; etc.) and for the organization* (communication problems; organizational priorities; etc.). This is a forum where members can share their ideas and information. We all hope for and want the best for our organization, for our members and their families, and for all those who wore the uniform.

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