Vietnam Veterans of America present a bronze plaque to Millsboro Veterans Cemetery

Delaware VVA Presents Bronze PlaqueDelaware Vietnam Veterans of America Council President Paul Davis presents a bronze plaque to Millsboro Veterans Cemetery Administrator Greg Bee on December 7. They are framed by Sussex County VVA Chap. 546 President Joe Valentine, left, and Delaware Veterans Affairs Commissioner Bob Corsa.

The plaque will join others in the facility’s chapel that overlooks the grounds. “This plaque, presented on behalf of all three VVA chapters, will provide a presence for Vietnam-era families in addition to showing our support for the outstanding work of the Commission of Veterans Affairs and others who keep the Millboro and Bear Veterans cemeteries in such wonderful condition,” said Mr. Davis.

Gold Star Memorial unveiled

The following article was reprinted, courtesy of the Delaware State News

Delaware State News

Monday, Nov. 13, 2012, Page A1
Gold Star Memorial unveiled
Kent County Vietnam veterans introduce marker at ceremony
Delaware State News/ Dave Chambers Delaware Gold Star Mothers president Pauline Anderson, left, and Gold Star Families outreach coordinator Judy Campbell, both of Wilmington, proudly unveil the Gold Star Mothers and Families memorial Monday afternoon at Kent County Veterans Memorial Park as part of the Kent County Vietnam Veterans of America Veterans Day ceremony. More photos on Pages 45 and see a gallery and video at delaware. newszap. com.
By Jen Rini

Delaware State News

DOVER — The periods of war may have spanned generations, but the stories of sacrifice served as the connection.

The Kent County Chapter 850 Vietnam Veterans of America un­veiled the Gold Star Memorial on Monday as part of Veterans Day cer­emonies, as a tribute to Delaware’s families and veterans who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.

Master of Ceremonies Dave Skocik, president of the Delaware Veterans Coalition and Vietnam vet­eran, recited the mantra of the Viet­nam Veterans of America during his opening statements. The mantra emphasized the organization’s drive to create a memorial to commemo­rate veterans, both young and old, who have fought in all conflicts from World War II to Afghanistan.

“Never again will one generation abandon another,” Mr. Skocik said.

Joining the gathering were legisla­tors including Sen. Thomas R. Carp­er, D-Del., Delaware Attorney Gen­eral Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, Lt. Gov. Matthew Denn and Rep. Har­vey R. Kenton, R-Milford, expressed their gratitude to the veterans and families present.

“I feel a special kinship with every one of you,” said Sen. Carper, a re­tired captain in the U.S. Navy.  He served three tours of duty in Southeast Asia and his grandmother is a Gold Star mother.

Pauline Anderson, president of Gold Star Mothers, reiterated her appreciation for the community of Gold Star mothers that inspired the memorial.

Mothers from all states honor the memory of their sons and daughters, she said, by volunteering and healing together.

“And after all these years I still get help,” Ms. Anderson said.

Keynote Speaker Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, Delaware’s adjutant general, delivered an emotional speech. He commended the men and women in service for their courage and commitment to America as well as the strength of the families whose loved ones didn’t return home.

“It’s a sacrifice that only they can understand,” Maj. Gen. Vavala said, flanked by his two granddaughters.

Maj. Gen. Vavala was also honored for his sacrifices in the service. He first joined the Delaware Army National Guard in 1967 as a private.

He was presented with proclamations from Delaware’s House of Represenatives and Senate which celebrated his leadership in more than 45 years of military service.

“I’m at a loss for words. I am truly honored,” he said.

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 850 president Joseph G. Startt Jr. shared the story of his friend Wayne, who never made it home from Vietnam. He could never get in touch with Wayne’s family, so for years he had been looking for a way to memorialize his friend’s sacrifi ce for America.

“I’ve been thinking about him for 40 years,” Mr. Startt said. This memorial will be a form of closure, he said.

In front of the newly unveiled Indian granite memorial, Terri and Rich Clifton, of Milford, placed a brick in memory of their son Chad who was killed in Iraq.

The Abraham Lincoln quote inscribed the memorial reads: “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifi ce upon the alter of freedom.”

Mrs. Clifton softly touched the memorial before her and her husband were comforted by the crowd.

The ceremony came to a close with Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 850 bagpiper Bill Frantz playing a strong, but solemn, rendition of Amazing Grace as the crowd stood, hands over their hearts.

As the crowd dispersed, Vietnam veteran Danny Seeman chatted with fellow vets, tears welling in his eyes. He also said he sees the unveiling of the memorial as an opportunity to gain closure.

Mr. Seeman, First Vice Commander, served in the second half of the Vietnam conflict and his father served through the first. His two sons are also involved with the military. His oldest son served in the marine corp and his second son just returned home from his third deployment in Afghanistan.

“They paid the ultimate sacrifce,” Mr. Seeman said of the Gold Star families. “I can’t imagine what it is like to lose a son or daughter.”

Staff writer Jen Rini can be reached at 741-8250 or jrini@newszap.com. Follow her on Twitter@DSNJen_Rini.

Korean War veteran Sgt. William Richardson of Dover salutes during the national anthem before he recites the pledge of allegiance.
Delaware State News/ Dave Chambers Parker Jones, 4 of Elizabeth City, NC, grandson of Chapter 850 member Peter Senft of Dover, rings the ceremonial bell as each name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is read as Chapter 850 member Woody Postle of Dover assists.
Members of the Dover Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol post the colors at the beginning of the ceremony.

 

Video – 3rd Annual Nam Jam 2012

The 3rd Annual Nam Jam rocked its way into VVA Chap. 850 history in Dover, Del., on Saturday, August 25.

Alhough the day was partly rainy, spirits were high and dry as chapter members and friends enjoyed the music, food, drink and camaderie as evidenced by the remarks on the attached video.

Kent County Chapter 850, with the aid of its Associate chapter, hosts a number of events every year and is well-known in the community. Activities include three annual ceremonies at its county memorial park; fundraisers, including beef & beer and an annual dinner; parade participation; and community  support activities, including scholarship awards.

Chapter members also support an outreach ministry to veterans of all conflicts with a 35-foot information trailer and have also recently purchased a food trailer for community events.

Kent County Vietnam Veterans to Create a Gold Star Memorial

Contact: David Skocik
302-736-8500

Kent Co. Vietnam Veterans to Create a Gold Star Memorial

Kent Co. Chapter 850 of the Vietnam Veterans of America has voted to create a memorial to Gold Star Mothers and Families of all conflicts.

The memorial will be built in a place of honor in the circle surrounding the Kent Co. Vietnam Memorial.

“We cannot think of a more appropriate memorial to acknowledge and honor the sacrifices of mothers and families who have lost someone in defense of our great nation, said Joe Startt Jr., Chap. 850 president.

The memorial will be made of the same granite as the existing structure and will include a gold star and a timeless inscription.

The chapter will begin a fundraising drive to supplement its own efforts to make the project a reality. Donors of $100 or more will be named by a brick at the memorial that identifies them as a Gold Star donor.

“Because of the anticipated interest, no individual donor may have more than one brick at the site,” said Delaware VVA Council President Paul Davis. “To our knowledge there is no other such memorial in the state.”

The memorial will cost approximately $9,500 and once that goal is reached no more bricks will be placed at the Gold Star Memorial. However, contributors after that time would be given an inscribed brick or an official, framed certificate for display in their home or business. Any additional funds donated would be used to maintain the memorial site.

Click on www.DelawareVVA.com to order a Gold Star brick or call Paul Davis at 302-632-3103 for more information.

Because this project includes all generations of Gold Star families it will also be supported by the Delaware Veterans Coalition and included on its website at www.DelawareVeteransCoalition.com.

The target date for the unveiling is Veterans Day, 2012. Checks should be made payable to VVA Chap. 850, with ‘G/S Memorial’ in the memo line and mailed to G/S Memorial, 5233 S. DuPont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901.

Gold Star Mothers and Families Memorial Brick Order Form

Voter Message and Deadline Information

The following voter information was obtained from the Delaware Department of Elections.

  1. To vote in a primary you must be registered by Aug 18th 2012.
  2. To vote in the General election you must be registered by Oct 13th 2012.
  3. To change your party affiliation you must change by Oct 13th 2012.

You may register to vote via the internet, for the application www.elections.delaware.gov and then mail it to the Election Department.

You can also find additional information and links for voters on the Delaware Veterans Coalition website at http://delawareveteranscoalition.com/voter-registration/

Gov. Markell Marks 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2012
Contact: David Skocik
302-736-8500

Photo: L to R: John DiEleuterio; Major General Frank Vavala; Corrections Secretary Carl Danberg; Delaware Vietnam Veterans of America President Paul Davis; Gov. Markell; VVA State Public Affairs Officer Dave Skocik; and Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee.

Photo: L to R: John DiEleuterio; Major General Frank Vavala; Corrections Secretary Carl Danberg; Delaware Vietnam Veterans of America President Paul Davis; Gov. Markell; VVA State Public Affairs Officer Dave Skocik; and Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee.


Gov. Jack Markell invited Vietnam and Vietnam era veterans to Legislative Hall on June 19 to present a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the US involvement in that conflict.

The statement marked the American spirit of recognition and gratitude to honor their service, valor, and sacrifice. It also thanked their families and loved ones for the sacrifices they made in defense of freedom.

It recognized Delaware’s loss of “168 gallant service members during one of the longest wars in our nation’s history, including more than 58,000 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Merchant Marines, and civilian government employees; the loss of many other friends and allies; men and women who together, served with courage and valor as part of an International force.”

Attending the ceremony were John DiEleuterio; Major General Frank Vavala; Corrections Secretary Carl Danberg; Delaware Vietnam Veterans of America President Paul Davis; VVA State Public Affairs Officer Dave Skocik; and Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee.

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Attention All Bikers – Motorcycle Ride

The 8th Annual Miles for Military motorcycle ride will once again hit close to home this year as the ride will go from The Delaware Army National Guard River Road (Rt.9 facility) and end at Rommel Harley Davidson in Smyrna, DE. on Saturday, June 16th.

The ride, which is a police escorted ride, raises money for the USO of Delaware and the Delaware VVA. The registration fee this year is $20 for the bike, $10 for a passenger.

For 8 years Clear Channel Delaware has organized the ride to raise money to purchase phone cards for the troops. Over the past six years the ride has raised nearly $100,000.  This year the money raised will be donated to the USO of Delaware and Delaware VVA.

“It gives me great personal pride to know that such a huge assembling of motorcycle enthusiast can put aside personal needs and beliefs, to raise money for those who protect our freedom to assemble and ride.” says Sky Phillips (Operations Manger, Morning Show Host on 94.7 WDSD and avid Harley rider)

For more information about the 8th Annual Miles for Military motorcycle ride and bike show visit Miles for Military web page.

Special thanks to our sponsors and partners that make this ride successful. ASAP Screen-printing, Delaware Army National Guard, Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Delaware VVA, Dogtown, Fox Hollow coffee, Fox Run Automotive, Paws for People, Suburban Lawn Equipment, Rommel Harley Davidson, Tri-State Battery, USO Delaware, and various police organizations.

DelawareVVA Supports A Local Veteran Owned Business Start-Up

Doner Haus Grand Opening 2

After completing their Vietnam Veterans Day observation on Saturday, March 31 at the Kent Co. Vietnam memorial, about 40 members of VVA Chap. 850 drove to another veteran’s ribbon cutting for his restaurant about 8 miles away.

Chris Behrens is owner of Doner Haus, a restaurant featuring German cuisine at 1466 E. Lebanon Rd, Dover in Liberto Plaza on Rt. 10 near Dover AFB. He had coincidentally scheduled his ribbon cutting immediately after Chap. 850 had finished their ceremony.

Chris is a recently retired, disabled Air Force veteran who put his life savings into the start up business. He was grateful for the publicity generated by Chap. 850. as well as for their business. More than 100 customers sampled the food during the first hour, including members of the Delaware Veterans Coalition, an organization that supports veterans of all generations.

“We hope local veterans regularly patronize the business. The food is great,” said Joe Startt, Chap. 850 president.

Google Map to The Doner Haus

Doner Haus Website

ACLU Suit Against VA Over Homeless Vets may Proceed, Judge Says

A federal judge Friday declined to dismiss the ACLU Foundation of Southern California’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs over the agency’s alleged failure to provide housing and services for thousands of mentally impaired veterans.

The ACLU sued the VA in June, saying the agency had misused large portions of its campus on L.A.’s Westside, and had failed to provide adequate housing and treatment for homeless veterans. The ACLU decried “enhanced sharing” agreements that have allowed entities not related to veteran care to use much of the sprawling campus at Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards.

Veterans’ Million Dollar Man

Vietnam Veteran and Disability Claims Expert Terry Baker in his Elsmere office at the Veterans Hospital

Vietnam Veteran and Disability Claims Expert Terry Baker in his Elsmere office at the Veterans Hospital

Vietnam veteran Terry Baker is used to helping veterans of all conflicts to file service connected disability claims with the Veterans Administration.

In 2011 he helped deserving Delaware military veterans collect more than $1.2M in disability compensation for service related injuries.

He’s been on the job since 1998 when the office opened with the assistance of other volunteers. Since then Delaware veterans have been helped to successfully collect more than $24M in compensation from the federal government.

The operation was the brainchild of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chap. 83, New Castle Co., because of difficulties many veterans were having filling out VA forms for compensation.

“Because the applications involve service-connected disability claims, they must be filled out correctly and the proper documentation provided, or the claim will be rejected,” said Mr. Baker, who considers it his duty to assist fellow veterans with paperwork they often find confusing.

Some of the claims he’s handled have gone on for months and even years.

“I know of applicants who have died waiting for compensation for service related injuries. They were only concerned about their families being taken care of. The last battle a veteran fights should not be with his or her own government,” said Mr. Baker, a Vietnam veteran who served in the US Navy.

Paul Davis, president of the Delaware Council of Vietnam Veterans of America, concurs. “In addition to the good Terry’s done for his brother and sister veterans throughout the years, he’s also benefited the state because the money veterans and their families receive is spent here. His work is a great asset to those who serve. He’s a hero to many and we’re proud of him.”

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