23 SEP 22 Nevada Homeless Veteran Stand Down
Members of VVA-AVVA 989 at the Reno Elks Lodge served Port of Subs sandwiches, sodas and water to just over 100 veterans in attendance during the VA Sierra Nevada Homeless Veteran Stand Down 2022.
We were also able to help feed the volunteers and the remaining food was given to Catholic Charities. Present was Ray Scow, Jeff Gunderson, Mel Grotberg, Mike Miller, Linda Bartosik, Jody Morris, Annette White, Donna Logan, Donna Dorcich, Nancy Benson, Becky Degn, and Carmen Price. It does the heart good when you know you have been in service to others VVA 989 Color Guard Captain Ray Scow gives many thanks to those that helped.
“Household Goods for Veterans “Program – a Partnership with the Katie Grace Foundation and AVVA-VVA 989
We’re pleased to have partnered with the Katie Grace Foundation, to assist, and distribute household goods for veterans here in the Reno area who are in need. Please use the “Green” below and review the attached letter and application “form” and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
16SEP22 Military Appreciation Day at the Reno Air Races
VVA Chapter 989 members once again participated in Military Appreciation Day at the Reno Air Races(Stead Field, Nevada). This year was a bit different because the Air Quality Index (AQI) continued at Stage-3 “unhealthy” and we didn’t set up an outreach table for the day.
Kudos to Chapter Members who came out to ride the flag trailer during the opening ceremonies: Susan Malone; Mike Billow; Marty Meckler; Steve Heinzen; Darrell Upton; and Bob Homann with Ray and Buddy Scow in the Scout and J. R. riding “shotgun” while cruising along the flight line.
As always, the Air Races Board of Directors were most cordial and thanked us for our participation in the opening ceremonies. Today, being POW/MIA Day, race spectators were informed and reminded of our Missing in Action and possible Prisoners of War to this day and were appreciative that Freedom isn’t Free.
Opening ceremonies also included the swearing in of a group of young men and women who recited The Oath of Enlistment in the US Army while standing on the tarmac in front of admiring spectators. During that time, J. R. swears he also heard several 989ers in the Flag Trailer repeating their oaths of enlistment from years ago. Also seen at the Air Races were: Rusty Bolton, Bill Ganz, Mike Miller and Dave Carroll who were unable to ride in the trailer due to previous or pressing commitments when we were participating in the opening ceremonies. The hope is that NEXT Year, there will be no smoke from California fires and the races are unobstructed and the air healthy and clean. Until then, visions of Sopwith Camels and F-35s dance in 989ers heads…
02SEP22 Memories of Red Kittell Brunch
September’s “First Friday” Brunch was bittersweet for those who attended. This rendition of the monthly gathering of 989ers was less than a month after our “Brunchmeister” had passed on to the staff of the Supreme Commander. This was our regular opportunity for camaraderie and laughs, but it also offered an opportunity to pay our final respects to Red and his legacy of “Gentlemanly behavior and good humor.”
We opened the Brunch with our regular Pledge of Allegiance and remembering our POW/MIA and those who are standing duty at freedom’s gate around the world. This was followed by an outstanding eulogy and prayer by our Chaplain, Susan Malone. As she spoke and read, we learned more about Red, and his legacy and this theme continued later in the morning with “Memories of Red” and (of course) the traditional “Ugly Hawaiian Shirt” contest which Red often won. (For the record, he also won the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest last December too!)
For those who knew Red, know this Brunch too was a rousing success laced with laughter and fond memories of previous brunches. We were also honored to have Red’s daughter, Katrina (Kittell) Olsen join us and judge the traditional “Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Contest.” The winner Friday was our very own Past President, Linda Dickinson.
If you look closely at the photos of the contestants, you will see a white tail under Ray Scow’s right arm on the left side of the “line-up.” Our Chapter mascot, “Buddy” was in the thick of the judging and when his name was mentioned his tail as twirling like a propeller on a Piper Cub. Laughter and good cheer were surely the signs that this too was a great brunch and somewhere “upstairs” our dear departed comrade was smiling…
3 OCT 22 Veterans Art Classes is Coming
Art Classes Coming! Formal and fun classes will begin on Monday, October 3rd, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Veterans (Free), their families & (children 18+) $5, friends $20 per person, per course, and caretakers, $5, will be eligible. We will be starting with Fun-demental Drawing and moving on to Fun-demental Painting, Collage, Figure Drawing (Draped), and Watercolor, Each class will run for one month on Monday afternoons. The classes will take place at Artech (130 Woodland Ave.) Keep an eye out, more information will be forthcoming
18AUG22 VVA 989 Chapter Meeting
Thursday’s monthly Chapter meeting was an enormous success with highlights being the auction of two warm “Vietnam Veterans” jackets which had been generously donated by The Veterans Transition Resource Center – North. Both jackets went for $130 each and proceeds for the sales will go into our Veterans Assistance Account. Thank you, Mike Miller, and Susan Malone, for your purchases.
18AUG22 Comstock Lode Quilters and VVA 989 at NNSVH
Thursday, was a busy day for some 989ers. The morning was spent with members of the Comstock Lode Quilters as they presented “Quilts of Valor” to various recipients at the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home (NNSVH) in Sparks. Some of the quilts went to veterans residing at the Home and others (in the afternoon) went to members of the extended Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) including friends of the home, staff at the home, and volunteers who had “served.”
Members of the Chapter, Past President Linda Dickinson, new members, Matt Mahoney (who’s wife is also a “quilter”), and David Johnson (a new transfer from Chapter 536 in Nevada City, CA) and your President took turns presenting recipients with the DOD 50 Year Commemorative Pin for their service to our Nation during the period from 01NOV55 to 15MAY75.
Some of our “Brothers and Sisters” at the home were quite emotional upon receiving their quilts and pin and all were very grateful. (It was a good morning.)
After a great “Port of Subs Lunch” the teams went back to work for an afternoon session presenting quilts to Eduardo Martinez of NDVS, Past Chairman of the State’s Veterans Services Committee (VSC) Mr. Bill Baumann, US Air Force Veteran and veterans advocate for over 20 years.
Chaplain Jerome Washington and his wife Charise were also honored for their collective service to Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Reno Chapter 1.
One of our Scholarship Partners at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), Mr. Felipe Gutierrez, was also honored for his service.
A host of other recipients in the NNSVH “family” were also honored with Quilts of Valor and (as appropriate) with a DoD 50th Commemorative Pin. Also noted in the afternoon session was the presentation of a quilt to VVA & AVVA member, Linda Bartosik who volunteers at the Silver State Store located in the NNSVH.
Your VVA 989 president was honored to Emcee the afternoon session and AVVA Area Rep. Brigitte Stafford provided cupcakes and coffee at the conclusion of the event.
This now familiar event has been supported by VVA 989 in the past and it appears that it will become a bi-annual event in August and March each year.
11 AUG 22 Lewis E. “Red” Kittell Passed Away
Sadly, Red Kittell passed earlier today our Brother, our Brunchmeister, Board Member and Chapter Humorist has now passed on to the Staff of the Supreme Commander. He passed earlier at his home. Being early, there are no details at this time, but I understand that Red did not want a service.
Condolences can be sent to Connie and the Family at:
The Kittell Family
3605 Cashill Blvd.,
Reno, NV 89509-7401
Please keep the Kittells and the memory of our Brother Red in your thoughts and prayers as we go about our days and weeks to come.
J. R. Stafford, President – Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 989
06 AUG 22 100th Birthday of Captain James (Jim) Johnson, NDVS Reno
Several generations of family from as far away as Colorado, were joined by members of the Vietnam Veterans of America – Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 (VVA 989), The Comstock Lode Quilters and their Quilt of Valor, and Honor Flight Nevada who all helped celebrate the 100th Birthday of Captain James (Jim) Johnson at the Five Star Premium Residences of Reno. A crowd of about eighty friends and family were on hand to wish Captain Johnson “Happy Birthday!”
Earlier in July, Captain Johnson’s son-in-law, Glenn Robinson (of Minden) contacted Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS), Eduardo Martinez asking if they could help find local veterans’ organizations who might be able to help with a celebration for his father-in-law. NDVS was booked with a “outreach and road show” so, VVA 989 was honored to take the lead on this one and provided ten willing members of VVA and the “Associates” of Vietnam Veterans (AVVA) for the occasion.
Mr. Robinson and Chapter President J. R. Stafford, served as Co-Emcees for the event and provided commentary on Captain Johnson’s life, military career with the 979th Engineer Company, and presented congratulatory messages from Jim’s Alma Mater (the University of Nebraska), from NDVS Director Fred Wager, and Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak.
Chapter member and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Bill Grey, 1st Cavalry, Vietnam, was honored to pin NDVS’s Nevada’s Hero pin on Captain Johnson during the ceremony. MS Marsha Strand and the Quilts of Valor team presented Captain Johnson with his Quilt of Valor commemorating his time with the Army of the United States in WWII, both in Europe and the Pacific Theater. Mr. John Yuspa, and Jim & Dawn Forbus of Honor Flight Nevada presented Jim with coins, a “Red” WWII Cap, and an Honor Flight Tee Shirt. These gifts were presented with an “Open Invitation” to travel with other veterans to Washington, D.C. when he was ready to go. Captain Johnson was considering the trip at this printing.
Members of VVA 989 & AVVA then served birthday cake and ice cream to friends, family and guests. As the party wound down, and 989ers departed, family members stayed behind “catching up” and reveling in what an occasion it had been. …Not many of us have a member of the family reach 100 hundred years of age, and this family and Captain James Johnson, now have another, “Story to tell!”
06 AUG 22 Hot August Nights Parade
Flags were flying and hands were waving from VVA 989 Flag Trailer Friday Night at the Hot August Nights Parade in downtown Sparks. VVA 989 members were dressed in red shirts in support of our uniformed troops deployed all over the world. The crowd showed their appreciation with applause as the trailer went by. Bravo Zulu to everybody who pitched in for VVA 989 Flag Trailer participation in this showcase event.
AVVA/VVA 989 Susan Malone Honored by FBI
04 JUL 22 4 th of July on the Comstock VC Parade
AVVA/VVA 989 members participated in one of most patriotic events of the Summer, the 4 of July Parade in Virginia City. Members joined in by setting up the flag trailer with the service flags. At the staging area, there is a festive atmosphere where folks from all the groups having a chance to visit. The 989 trailer was visited by representatives of the Union Army, Confederate Army and a number of “Ladies of the Night” thanks to Buddy. The parade started about noon then we were all treated to an impressive flyby from an Air National Guard C-130J Super Hercules right over Main St. The streets were lined a wonderful crowd made up of family members of all ages to enjoy the car clubs, first responders, ROTC, military and veteran groups. I personally think each member of 989 needs to experience waving from the trailer at least once. Then don’t be surprised if you want to do it again. Please enjoy the 30 picture slideshow.
23 JUN 22 Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza Gala
Members of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA & AVVA) Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 attended the long-awaited return of the Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza (NVMP)’s Gala fundraiser at the Grand Sierra Resort. The dinner was the first in several years as COVID had (predictably) restricted large gatherings such as this one was.
Happy 989ers gathered early and placed bids on many silent auction items and purchased raffle tickets for a chance for $500 in SOUTHWEST Airlines Tickets before the night was over. Mr. Dan Mason of KOH Radio fame and Sparks Councilman, Kristopher Dahir emceed proceedings and were instrumental in keeping the evening light and informational.
During dinner, Kristopher Dahir, presented several awards to organizations who have been significant in the development of the NVMP. Councilman Dahir also to surprised members of the Chapter by asking them to come forward and he presented attendees with a beautiful plaque thanking Chapter 989 for our support of the Memorial Plaza over the years.
Chapter 989 President J. R. Stafford accepted the plaque on behalf of the Chapter thanking the NVMP foundation and the City of Sparks for their diligence and continued work on this very worthwhile project. Stafford suggested that one of the first things he is looking forward to upon completion of the plaza was an outdoor movie night, suggesting that “Good morning, Vietnam!” might be a good premier feature for the Plaza.
Eight 989er couples ponied up over $2,200. In sufficient funds to purchase two tables on behalf of Chapter 989 and were equally pleased to present NVMP officials with an additional $1,000 check from 989’s treasury. These funds will be used to complete the actual NVMP construction over the next 4-5 months, and further funding is need for ongoing maintenance on the Plaza. The plan is that “Veterans Organizations” in the area will not pay to use the plaza, and as hosts for the evening they said, “veterans have paid enough!”
As some of you know, Chapter 989 also purchased a $1,000 brick paver for the Memorial Plaza last March which will soon be laid in the plaza.
The evening ended as it began, patriotically, with the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag. Just a guess, but next year’s NVMP Gala participation by 989ers may even be more once word gets out that it was a wonderful time had by all.
18 JUN 22 VVA 989 ACES Military Appreciation Night
Our efforts to bring in more “military” activities and static displays during Military Appreciation Night which seemed to be well received all around.
Thanks to: the Aces Staff for giving us the opportunity to “partner” with the Aces. The Staff at Northern Nevada State Veterans Home for their transport and care of Captain Raymond Waters as this evening’s POW Honoree. The various recruiters who came representing the various services. The Army Recruit Command for their on field “Oath of Enlistment” for five new soldiers. The Army Guard and vintage Military vehicle owners for their static display out front of the ballpark.
Kimberly Ahrens-Dixon for her always wonderful renditions of both the National Anthem and God Bless America! John & Linda Dickinson who were the face of our “outreach” efforts at the Outreach Table. Ray Scow, our Color Guard Captain and Flag Display Master for his always impressive flag displays for the public. Mel Grotberg, Rick Kaufmann and Frank O’Boyle for work with Flag Display and relief duty at Outreach Table. Brigitte Stafford for being the “Go To” person with questions about any and all aspects of the Event. All things considered, I think we can give ourselves better than a “Passing Grade” on our efforts. THANK YOU ALL for a Great Night!!
MCMC (Master Chief / Master of Ceremonies) J.R. Stafford President Vietnam Veterans of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter 989
2021 VVA-AVVA Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 Accomplishments !
Note: Click or Tap on a Colored Buttons for more information
At long last, the Vietnam Veterans of America – Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 Scholarship Gala opened to cocktails and anticipation of the fun to come. Attendees took part in a raffle and silent auction. President Stafford opened the program by thanking all for coming and being part of a very significant milestone in the evolution of the VVA 989 Scholarship Program for veterans at UNR & TMCC. This included the auction and raffle prize contributors and those who’d purchased Diamond and Gold tables.
Please follow the link for complete story and photos of this smashing successful event.
Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8265, press 1
Veterans, If any of you need to reach out to talk, don’t hesitate to call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8265, press 1.
And yes, be patient as the line is being overwhelmed. Apparently, many of our younger brothers and sisters having been on the ground in Afghanistan are now experiencing feelings that many of us felt long ago.
Image Posted with Permission from “Art by Karla “ Facebook site.
VVA 989 Friday Brunch Bunch
The Friday Brunch Bunch of VVA 989 Meets for breakfast at the GOLD AND SILVER Inn 4th Street and Vine, RENO, NV. On first FRIDAY OF EACH Month @ 1000 hours for Coffee, Conversation and Comradeship.
2021 NAME ADDITIONS ON THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
This year, there were two additions to The Wall, bringing the total number of names on The Wall to 58,281. There were also two service members who were repatriated in 2020 and those service members had their status symbols changed on The Wall. The number of Americans still listed as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War stands at 1,584.
Chapter 989 Color Guard and Flag Trailer
POW/MIA Recognition Day was designated by Congress in 1979 to be the third Friday in September. The day honors the sacrifice made by America’s prisoners of war, those who are still missing in action and their families. While many prisoners of war returned home, thousands still remain missing or unaccounted for.
Win a 29 Model A
Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted. We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more. – Gary Sinise
On Going Support
Northern Nevada State Veterans Home (NDVS)
Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza Sparks Marina
Wreaths Across America
Scholarships for Veterans at TMCC and UNR
Homeless Veteran Stand Down
Nevada Veterans Coalition (NVC)
“Adopt a Vet” Dental Program
Military & Family Support Service- Army & Air National Guard