Public Affairs Committee
Leadership and Education
BY TOM BURKE, CHAIR
The Leadership & Education Conference will be held in Wichita, Kansas, August 5-9. There will be many presentations of interest. The Public Affairs Committee is sponsoring seminars on electronic media, PSAs, interview techniques, and flag protocol. We encourage you to attend this event. You will not be disappointed.
With the approval of the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors, the Public Affairs Committee has been authorized to move ahead with a complete re-design of the VVA website. The onsite manager for the project is Business Director Quentin Butcher. While the design is in progress our present website is being maintained by Communications Director Mokie Porter. We expect the new, fresh, and exciting site to be up and running by the end of the year.
In recent weeks there have been wide-ranging opinions expressed by VVA members concerning the state of VA health care. VVA National President John Rowan wrote to President Obama on May 28 expressing his concern about the seemingly unending problems concerning the VA medical system.
President Rowan wrote: “We believe there are immediate actions that you, as Commander in Chief, could take that will contribute to restoring the faith of our veterans and fellow citizens in the efficacy of the VA medical system. The problems encountered throughout the VA system boil down to the number of available clinicians and the effective/efficient use of clinical resources.”
Recent media reports claim Congress is considering additional monies to hire new doctors and nurses at VA facilities. I would like to think that President Rowan’s letter to President Obama prompted some action. The Public Affairs Committee urges all members to continue contacting their congressional representatives to express their concern and outrage at the current state of affairs at the VA.
We reported in the January/February issue about problems with current VA ID cards. The cards encode personal information such as Social Security numbers in the strip on the back. The problem is that the information contained in the card strip can be easily stolen—even if it remains in your pocket.
The VA advised veterans to leave their cards at home when not using them, and said a new card would be forthcoming soon. “Soon” in this instance was 2015. The VA received many complaints, and now the ID cards are being distributed immediately. New enrollees should receive the new cards when they register. Current enrollees should have the cards by the end of July. The new Health Identification Card features better identify theft protection and is personalized with the veteran’s military branch emblem. Get yours as soon as possible, and destroy the old card.
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 @ www.vvaveteran.org.
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?