Veterans of America (Courtesy of Vietnam Veterans of America E-Mail Communication)
December 23, 2016
The 114th Congress has recessed for the year.
On behalf of John Rowan, VVA National President and the Board of Directors we would like to thank you for all of your grassroots advocacy support over the past year.
With that said, on December 16, 2016, the President of the United States provides VVA with a tremendous victory when he signed into law H.R. 6416, the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016.
The new law in Subtitle C-Toxic Exposure, includes S.901 the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015 an issue that VVA has been working on for the past eight years. Go to Congress.gov and type in H.R. 6416 to view the new law.
The bill would not have passed into law without your grassroots support and VVA shares this victory with you.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday and VVA look forward to working with you in the upcoming 115th Congress on legislative issues that will enhance the lives of veterans and their families.
The Government Affairs Team
Rick, Bernie, Sharon, Kris, Tom, Carl, Jim, and Joe
“Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation’s only congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA’s founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”
A Veterans Job Fair hosted by the Delaware Congressional Delegation, Senator Thomas Carper, Senator Chris Coons, and Representative John Carney, on Monday, August 22, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Wilmington University’s Dover Campus. Another Job Fair is also scheduled for September 1st, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Middletown Fire Hall in Middletown, DE. View Senator Carpers Newsletter below.
(Posted with permission from Delaware State News)
Dover home a remedy for homeless veterans
By Craig Anderson
Delaware State News
DOVER – As Michael Angeline determines how to move his life forward, he’ll do it from a comfortable living space while contemplating the next moves.
The 53-year- old former member of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” is thankful for the support of a longtime Dover family connected to Mayor Robin Chris tiansen’s 2015 Mayor’s Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness campaign.
After losing his family and HVAC business of 30 years, Mr. Angeline was in a homeless situation seemingly unimaginable in better times.
“I lost everything,” he said.
Enter Vietnam veteran Brandt Tue, a former United States Marine machine gunner and mechanic from Dover who was raised to always extend a helping hand. Mr. Tue and his aunt Olivia Tue Smith followed the family precedent and helped a person in need.
During a three-month stay at the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing, Mr. Angeline’s life path intersected with Mr. Tue, who was committed to providing struggling veterans housing and a support system designed to further aid those attempting to re- stabilize themselves.
Mr. Tue was involved in the “Mayor’s Challenge” and determined to find three veterans to share Ms. Smith’s recently renovated family home in the 100 block of South Queen Street.
The search was tailored to veterans “trying to achieve something for themselves.” he said. “This is not a halfway house.
“Whoever comes here must be already clean and have an honorable discharge from the military.”
A tenant since November 2015, Mr. Angeline – who said he’s had two open-heart surgeries – receives daily visits from Mr. Tue to monitor his physical and mental well being. During a get-together earlier this week, a transport to Christiana Hospital ensued as the tenant appeared to be struggling with pneumonia.
Before heading north, Mr. Angeline said, “The Tue family is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
While Mr. Angeline does pay rent, he isn’t charged the going rate for an immaculately kept, furnished home that feels new in the downstairs area and includes roughly a quarter acre of land out back, Mr. Tue said.
Any interested veteran in need of housing can call 734-1286 or email email@example.com for further information.
“All anyone needs to bring here is their clothes,” Mr. Tue said. “Everything else is here for them.”
Ms. Smith, who was born in the at least 100-year- old home’s upstairs bedroom, said her parents believed in caring for those in difficult situations, as Mr. Angeline found himself in.
“This is making him happy in heaven,” she said. “Mother supported his vision of always reaching out to help someone.
“I’m sure they’re both smiling as much as they can right now.”
On Jan. 20, the Veterans Welcome Home Team celebrated the placement of 50 homeless veterans, including some families, in stable residential environments, including 21 who were chronically homeless.
Bill Farley, vice chairman of the Commission of Veterans Affairs who oversaw the endeavor, credited a gathering of federal, state and local agencies for joining to address homelessness among veterans, along with various nonprofit and charity organizations.
“We feel this is the template not only for the Dover area but it might be the best way to address homelessness as best we can,” Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said.
According to Mr. Farley, the state housed 198 veterans during its own concurrent push in 2015.
The issue is hardly solved, however, and Mr. Farley described the homeless population as a “moving target” due to constantly changing life circumstances. Each week, a couple veterans seek help from the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund designed to be a bridge for financial emergencies, he said.
“Today there might be a vet who loses his job for whatever reason,” Mr. Farley said. “The number of homeless can also be affected by how the economy is going at the time.”
Mr. Tue believes there are still 50 or so homeless veterans in the Dover area, some living near railroad tracks that cut through the city, others bunking down under a bridge over the St. Jones River.
The mission to assist the residentially placed veterans with a support system to receive benefits, care, and capacity to re- establish a work history continues, Mr. Christiansen said.
“These efforts were not meant to just warehouse the veterans who now have homes,” he said. “The plan is to coordinate services, help them find jobs so that they will not remain chronically homeless.”
The guiding force of the collaborative group was simple, Mr. Christiansen said.
“We felt it was unconscionable for veterans who served and protected our country to be out on the street when they left the military,” he said.
Understanding the plight
The first time he attended a group meeting, Mr. Tue said he wanted to be the “grunt, the person out in the field reaching the real-life stories and making a difference.”
While surrounded with organizations and “acronyms,” Mr. Tue said he brought a realistic perspective to what everyone aimed to improve.
“I wanted them to have a flavor of what veterans feel and what they are going through,” he said. “I wanted them to understand that veterans are more than just a number.”
Mr. Tue said he needed at least 11 years to “get his feet on the ground” after receiving help from the Veterans Affairs branch in Wilmington, after going roughly three decades without a diagnosis. He graduated from Delaware State College during the time and worked many years for the Mobile Oil Corporation, but something never felt quite right about his emotional existence.
Thus, Mr. Tue said he knows turmoil in a veteran when he sees it, and is committed to helping find solutions after identify.
“I can tell whether they have something they need to take care of just a short time after meeting them,” he said.
Chapter 83’s Treasurer, Tom Slater, performed in “The Frog Prince” at the Everett Theater in Middletown, DE.
His role as “King Glum the Mediocre” was well acted and happily received by the audience.
He is pictured here with fellow actors and in another photo with Chapter President, Tom Daws, and Julianna Stape
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 8, 2015
Contact Dave Skocik 736-8500 cell
Vietnam Dog Handler to keynote War Dog Memorial Dedication on Aug. 22
DOVER – The keynote speaker for the Saturday, August 22, 10 a.m., dedication of the War Dog Memorial at the Kent County Memorial Park on S. Little Creek Road, Dover, will speak from experience and be joined by current handlers and their dogs.
Wilmington native Bob Biss will forever remember King, the German Shepherd who protected him during three tours in Vietnam between 1968 and 1970. They served with the Army’s 212th Military Police Sentry Dog Company in Long Binh and Vinh Long.
“This is not only a tribute to the highly trained K9s that have saved so many lives, but it is also a recognition of their handlers from all branches and in all conflicts,” said Kent County Chapter 850 president Joe Startt Jr., whose chapter built and maintains the memorial park.
The memorial will feature the image of active duty Air Force dog handler SSgt. Jason Spangenberg and War Dog Rico, a German Shepherd. “We couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate for the memorial than a current handler,” said Mr. Davis, vice president of chapter 850 and state council VVA president. Mr. Davis also had a K9 partner during his career as a police officer.
SSgt Spangenberg and Rico served in Afghanistan and were awarded the Bronze Star for detecting IEDs, Improvised Explosive Devices.
The unique, 5-foot black granite stone has arrived from India and will be installed several days prior to the ceremony. It will be sited near the Huey Helicopter that was dedicated on Memorial Day 2014. More than 5,000 dogs have served the US Military in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas of the Middle East. “Max,” a current film, highlights the interest in these highly-trained, loyal animals.
In addition to Dover AFB, the ceremony will include Dover Police Department’s Private First Class Joe Bauer and K9 Gunner; New Castle County Police Department’s Officer First Class Cory Best, and K9 Diesel; Milford Police Department’s Private First Class Timothy Webb, and K9 Henk; Wilmington Police Department’s Officer Robert Steele, and K9 Neo, and possibly others. The dogs and their handlers will stand separately from the audience and be acknowledged.
Contributions for the War Dog memorial are still being accepted at VVA Chapter 850, PO Box 1718, Dover, DE 19904 with “war dog” in the memo section.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2015
Contact: Dave Skocik 302-736-8500 cell
DOVER – Colonel Daniel F. Merry will serve as keynote speaker at the Monday, May 25, 2 p.m. Memorial Day ceremony of Kent County Chapter 850, Vietnam Veterans of America, at the Kent County Veterans Park on S. Little Creek Road, Dover.
Col. Merry is the Commander of Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover Air Force Base. AFMAO is a Field Operating Agency under Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters Air Force. AFMAO has global responsibility for all Air Force mortuary matters for current and past conflicts, operates the nation’s sole port mortuary and provides global contingency mortuary response teams in support of Air Force and combatant command requirements.
“We are fortunate to have Col. Merry available to speak and cannot think of a more appropriate representative, not only of the Air Force but of the duties that Mortuary Affairs performs for all branches, especially as we reflect on this day,” said Joe Startt Jr., chapter 850 president.
Chapter 850 built the Kent County Veterans memorial Park situated on the north end of the County Administration Building property. The 1 ½ acre site is home to a Vietnam memorial; a Gold Star Mother and Families memorial; a Korean War memorial, a future Middle East Conflicts memorial, and a planned War Dog memorial.
The park also features a “Dustoff” Huey helicopter, dedicated in 2014. Click on www.DelawareVVA.com for more information or call 302-697-8384.
“The public is invited and encouraged to participate in this day of remembrance of those who ensured our freedom,” said Mr. Startt.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 17, 2015
Contact Dave Skocik 736-8500 cell
Chapter 850 Vietnam Veterans Create Honor Guard
Bedecked in their new uniforms that include jackets, charcoal grey slacks, chapter caps and ascots, Kent County Chapter 850, Vietnam Veterans of America, sat for a photo at their monthly meeting on April 16.
The unit, composed of a dozen members, was created by chapter secretary Don Coffman to provide a presence at funerals, presentations, and other chapter events.
“This team will honor all fallen Vietnam Veterans so that they are never forgotten,” said Mr. Coffman.
“We applaud Don’s initiative and work in making this happen. It took a lot of planning, practice, and coordination,” said Joe Startt Jr., chapter president and group member. “Chapter members were happy to allocate the funds for this worthy effort.”
Chapter 850 has nearly 200 members and 39 associate members. All Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans are invited to join. Associate membership is available to family and friends from the community.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 16, 2015
Contact: Dave Skocik 302-736-8500 cell
WWII Veteran Belatedly Recognized
REHOBOTH — Rehoboth VFW Post 7447 was the site of an April 11 ceremony for World War II veteran Bayard Horn. Mr. Horn of Rehoboth was belatedly awarded a Purple Heart more than seven decades after being wounded in France enroute to a prison camp in 1944. The problem was that his wounds were the result of an Allied attack on the train he was riding to the prison camp. Under previous rules Mr. Horn was ineligible for a Purple Heart because he wasn’t injured by enemy fire. His neighbor, and fellow veteran, Denny Aylor decided to appeal the decision while his 91-year-old friend was still able to appreciate it. He persisted through seven years and three turndowns before the award was approved with the assistance of Delaware’s Congressman John Carney. Mr. Horn was also presented with a coin from Kent County Chapter 850 of the Vietnam Veterans of America by Paul Davis, State VVA Council President. “We are proud of you and want to thank you for all you’ve done to defend our generation,” said Mr. Davis.