• Chuck and his wife Ann

  • President and Charlie heading to the East Room

  • Chuck and his son Mike

  • Chuck and his daughter Jeanna

  • Medal of Honor

  • East Room For The Medal of Honor Ceromony

Vietnam Veterans of America
Charles S. Kettles Chapter 310
The Vietnam Veterans of America National Chapter of the Year - 1999 & 2007
Newsletter of the Year 2007, 09, 11 & 15
E-Newsletter of the Year 2017
Chapter member LTC. (Retired) Chuck Kettles receved the Medal of Honor - July 2016
President’s Message
Dave Draper


I had a unique opportunity to be with Don Miller as he sent out pleas to help a Veteran who was homeless, but recently was accepted at Miller Manor. Of course, being formerly homeless, he did not have much with which to start his new venture in life—a permanent place with a roof over his head.  Don, I, and a few others were able to help this gentleman with a few things to make his new place a real home: We donated a bed, mattress, silverware, furniture, table, chairs, space heaters, and a few other things.  Through VVA310’s Food Pantry program, Don helped provide groceries a couple of times for him.  Don did a little inquiring and found out that there are twenty-two formerly homeless Veterans living at Miller Manor. Hmmm . . . There might be an opportunity for us here. What do you think?

Our Underwear Party at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center was, again, a success.  Eleven VVA 310 members and one VVA 528 member were present to assist with handing out tee shirts and underwear to the men and pajamas to the ladies that were patients there. A couple of the patients were especially grateful because they did not have time to think about packing those items before being hospitalized. Many told us stories of their service to their country. It is a great thing that we do there, and we have been doing it for many years. Thanks to John and Jane Kinzinger for their leadership in keeping this event relevant and active each year.

We fared well again at the VAMC merchandise sales. As expected during the Christmas downturn, results were not as great as last month but still pretty good, grossing over a thousand dollars. We also interfaced with many people—and I believe we made some of the patients’ days brighter by talking and reminiscing with them.  Again, I was impressed with the number of volunteers who showed up to help out.  By the way, we could use one or two more volunteers at 0700 to help unload vehicles and bring the merchandise to the third floor.  A special thanks to Al (Fredo) Merritt for helping unload vehicles and load the trailer after the event.  Thanks, my brother!

John Kinzinger’s WACU fundraiser on January 10 was a hit again this year. Many items were auctioned off and many donation checks were received. True to form, the food was excellent; the waitstaff donated their tips, and management gave a percentage of the sales to the fundraiser.  Almost $10,000 was raised.  Great job!  Thanks to everyone who participated, and especially those who made financial contributions.  

I am elated to announce that the Merchandise transition took place on January 13. We had a meeting at the VFW Post hall, and all the new members of the Merchandise Team participated in some hands-on training.  From seeing what it takes to restock merchandise to procedures for inputting data into our Excel database, we covered most of what it takes to run the operation.  Thank you so much again to all the new Team members: Larry St. Antoine, Scott Brooks-Miller, Marv Rivers, Tim and Kathy Driscoll, and Ann Dempsey-Pereira. The team has already made improvements to the way Meni and I did things, and they are looking to implement great sales ideas.

About membership,  our membership continues to grow.  We had four new members this month, with a couple more joining soon. Thanks to everyone who reaches out to the undecided out there and tries to get them to join our Chapter.

About a dozen of our Chapter members went to the Ford Library in Ann Arbor to listen to a lecture by Richard Camp (USMC Col. Ret.) titled “Ringed by fire, the Siege of Khe Sanh.” He talked about his experiences while serving in Vietnam during the 1968 TET Offensive.  We heard great minute-by-minute accounts of him on the base at Khe Sanh, interjected with a little humor. During refreshments after the event, participants had the opportunity to purchase a book by the presenter, called “Lima-6,” and he graciously signed copies and posed for picture. It was a great night out with my wife and several of my VVA310 friends.

Coming up in February we have our first round of nominations for Officers and Board Members at our regular meeting. We hope, also, to discuss our upcoming Appreciation Dinner. On the 13th we will have another Merchandise sales at the VA Medical Center.  On the 14th, a few of us will be serving lunch to the patients at the VA Medical Center.  Colonel Kettles will, again, be handing out our newly redesigned Chapter challenge coins to each of the patients, briefly talking to each one.  On the 19th, we celebrate President’s Day and the 76th birthday of the Coast Guard Reserve. I am also hoping for an early Spring.  I’ve had quite enough of the freezing temps!

Talk to you next month.

Dave Draper