The Vietnam Veterans of America National Chapter of the Year - 1999 & 2007
Newsletter of the Year 2007, 09, 11 & 15
|LTC. (Retired) Charles Kettles receiving the Medal of Honor - July 2016|
As many of you have already heard, one of our members is going to be receiving the Medal of Honor. On July 18, 2016 Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kettles will be presented with the Medal of Honor by the President of the United States. It has been five years in the making to upgrade his Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor. All of us at this Chapter are very proud of LTC Kettles and his accomplishments. There will be a celebration for him at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville on August 13 between 1400 and 1700. See more detailed information on our website about LTC Kettles and his heroic actions.
June has come and gone and we were certainly busy. Our Merchandising Team did a great job with sales at the VA Hospital. It looks like the VA merchandising events are becoming a great revenue source. Al Dieter and the Merchandising Team donated money to the Pig Roast and to our Independence Day Family Picnic. The Milan Fair had a little disappointing result in sales, because there were not as many fair goers this year. Thanks to Al Dieter and his team for the great job they are doing. It would be great to see more volunteers for setup, sales, and takedown.
Jane Kinzinger, on behalf of the Friends & AVVA, spearheaded scheduled meals for Doc and Sandy as Doc became ill in recent weeks. Many of us dropped off food and chatted with Doc and tried to make sure he was in good spirits. That does not take much effort because, even when he’s not feeling well, he seems to carry a positive attitude and Sandy’s spirit seems to stay high. We are all wishing them the best and we send Doc our prayers for healing and comfort. Thanks to everyone who took time to call, drop off food, and just chat with Doc. I’m sure he really appreciates it.
Several of us helped John and Jane with the annual Dexter – Ann Arbor Run as road guards. There seemed to be many more runners this year. Several of us got drenched, as we did last year. Fortunately, the rain was short in duration. There DID seem to be more crazies out driving as a couple of drivers tried driving through the run. This event brings in little bit of revenue for VVA as we (VVA 310) get a stipend for the duties we perform. And, it’s a lot of fun cheering on the runners!
I am always impressed with the spectator turnout for the Independence Day parade. This year seemed to be even better with more people attending, although we (VVA 310) did not have as many members show up to participate. Thanks to all who did show up. In general, a good share of the spectators stood up as our flag passed. I’m not sure that our children are being taught in school the proper respect and courtesy for our Nation’s flag. After seeing some of the children at the Saline event last month, I’m not even sure they are being taught the Pledge of Allegiance and when to place their hand over their heart! That said, the event was a lot of fun and the weather was great. I look forward to next year’s parade.
Following the parade, we had our VVA Family Picnic. Thanks to Al Merritt, Wendy Hibbitts and Jon Luker for performing much of the organizing of this event and thanks to our friends at Team Red, White & Blue for co-sponsoring this event. I know I had a lot of fun with my grandson playing many of the games that they provided: badminton, yard darts, volleyball, croquette, and tug-of-war were some of the games provided. Some of the kids were able to fire the 50 cal on the back of the Jeep provided by private collector Bob Schrock. It looked like they really had a lot of fun! Thanks go out to Ypsilanti Township for providing the grounds and for the labor to set out all of the flags along the driveway. They are always there for us at these special events. Several community partners were involved as well, such as Monroe RSVP who provided volunteers and 10 tables, and Target, who provided all of the tableware and much of the food. Also, many thanks go to Al Merritt and his team for getting the Memorial grounds in absolutely beautiful shape. The flowers, planters, mulch, and new bench looked great.
Lastly, and on a more serious note, I would like to put a reminder out there that there is an alarming rate of suicides amongst military veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released the results of a study in 2013 that showed “roughly 22 veterans were committing suicide per day.” Watch those around you. Some you know are still dealing with PTS. Try to be understanding and maybe learn to recognize the signs of someone thinking of harming themselves. According to the Veterans Crisis Line, some of the signs are “depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and/or hopelessness”. If you know someone that is showing these signs or has talked about harming themselves, have them contact (or make contact for them) the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 1 (800) 273-8255. They can also text message them at 838255. Let’s help our brothers and sisters who are still trying to cope with the effects of being in war.
SSgt Dave Draper