Having recently completed my calendar “Year End” (Q-2) Chapter report for the
Governor’s Veterans Services Commission, I once again reflected on how much we
have accomplished this past quarter and for the entire year. This, despite
continued COVID and other challenges in 2022. Last year for my “President’s Recap” I went to bullet items noting accomplishments which is easier to follow. In looking back over 2022, I am pleased to remind everyone what we accomplished.
- The Chapter’s website, VVAreno989.org, continues to provide valuable
information to our Chapter membership and to veterans of all eras. We
were saddened to see our Webmaster, Rick Kaufmann, move on to Las Vegas
but he has continued as our “Webmaster,” and you didn’t even know he
wasn’t “in town” for all the great coverage he continues to provide.
- We held twelve “First Friday” Brunches at the Gold’n Silver Restaurant,
some of which were full “Breakfast Buffets.”
- Held ten Board meetings and several “special finance” meetings and two
- Held nine Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 meetings (two dark and one meeting
cancelled due to air quality issues for the year).
- Held eight AVVA meetings
- Participated in four parades, Reno, Virginia City, Carson City and Sparks.
- Held our first Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Event (VRE) (inside
since COVID) at the Reno Elks Lodge #597
- We also supported the Homeless Veterans Stand-Down which was also held
at the Reno Elks for the first time.
- We Co-sponsored with the Reno Aces Military Appreciation Night at
Greater Nevada Field and once again rededicated our POW/MIA Chair of
Honor in Section 118
- We sent representatives to both State AND National VVA/AVVA functions
- We continued to do our “outreaches” at by-monthly Gun Shows
- We assisted with the delivery of 50 backpacks containing warm clothing for
homeless veterans (donated by Home Depot) to the Veterans outreach
center in Reno in January and December of 2022.
- We held a very successful 15th Chapter Anniversary Dinner at the Tamarack
Junction which included a great meal, silent auction, and live entertainment.
- We supported the Veterans Guest House Radiothon by collecting money at
the west parking lot of the Atlantis Resort and Spa.
- We supported the Memorial Day Remembrance at the Northern Nevada
Veterans Memorial Cemetery (NNVMC) in Fernley
- We also hosted a “Memorial Day Cruise” for the Veterans at the Northern
Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks (NNSVH)
- We decorated three wings of the NNSVH with no less than nine fully
decorated Christmas trees and holiday decor.
- We also decorated four Christmas trees at the Veterans Guest House for
the first time this…and I do not think it will be that last
- We supported and co-sponsored the “Veterans Olympics” for the residents
of the NNSVH
- We participated in the annual “Summer Salute” Car Show at Rancho San
Rafael Park as it came back as an event after a long COVID lay off.
- We provided Chapter Color Guard support for various events including
closing ceremonies for Hot August Nights, the Alzheimer’s Walk in Sparks,
and the 20th Anniversary of the National Security Forum in Reno.
- We were honored by the Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza (NVMP) for our
Chapter’s continued “support” of their efforts over the years prior to this
- We also assisted with the Ribbon Cutting and official opening of the NVMP
- We assisted residents from the NNSVH for an “outing” to Sheels Outdoor
Store in Sparks, giving the veterans some “fresh air” other than that at the
- We presented three, $3,000. Veteran Scholarships to deserving UNR,
TMCC and (for the first time this year) Western Nevada College (WNC)
- We held our second Scholarship Fundraising Gala at the Whitney Peak Hotel
which raised $20K for future veteran scholarships
- Again, working with Comstock Quilters, we presented “Quilts of Valor” to
residents at the NNSVH on several occasions
- We continued the annual work of the Gary Meckler Memorial Holiday Gift
Basket Program for fifteen Nevada Guard families in need working through
the Army Guard Family Support Center
- We helped pick up the old wreaths from “Wreaths Across America” in 2021
in January 2022, and we helped place wreaths in December 2022
- Sadly, we also said “Good-Bye” and honored several Chapter Members
including Rev. David Crabtree and Brother Red Kittell
- For those of you who are still “tracking,” a few of the things for the upcoming
third quarter of VSC calendar year and the first quarter of the Chapter’s 2023
calendar year are:
- First Friday Brunches, Second Thursday Baard meetings, and third Thursday
- Take down and storage of Christmas Decorations at the NNSVH, 09JAN23
- Pick up the old wreaths (goat food) in Fernley in January (date TBD)
- Continue planning for, and then put on, a Vietnam Veterans Remembrance
Day Event on 25 March 2023 at the Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza
- Continue the search and nominating process for April Chapter elections. As
some of you know, some of our officers (having served well and honorably
over many years) are moving on and we are looking for a few good men or
women to fill in the projected vacancies
- The bottom line here is VVA Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 is probably the busiest and one of the most recognized Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) in the Reno area. The Chapter’s work (and play) is something that comes with your
membership, and it is up to you as to what you choose to contribute.
“I am honored to be your President and thank all of you who participated in many of the events the Chapter took on during 2022. I also look forward to your continued support in the coming year.”
Wishing you all a Happy New Year.
J. R. Stafford, President VVA 989
04NOV22 Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza (NVMP)
Sparks Marina – Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 989 once again shows it colors during the (new) Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza (NVMP) official ribbon cutting ceremony.
Chapter members (fresh from our First Friday Brunch) arrived at the Memorial Plaza in time to greet and escort residents from the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home (NNSVH) who wanted to be present for the afternoon’s ceremonies.
The Memorial Plaza was completed after YEARS of fund raising and no public funding was used for the project. Years of private fund raising put this memorial on the map and VVA 989 has been with the NVMP since inception. Long before my time with the Chapter members contributed funds to the “fledgling” organization which had brought forth a beautiful Memorial Plaza honor over 850 Nevadans who have given their lives as a part of the price of our freedom. Names on the Memorial Wall include some from the Civil War, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan. It is impressive and if you are in the area, it is well worth a trip to see it.
Official ceremonies began at 1500 hours and spectators listened to some history of the MVMP and kudos for Ron Smith (Vietnam Veteran, former Mayor of Sparks,) who was the driving force behind the new Memorial prior to his death. NVMP President and Sparks City Councilman, Kristopher Dahir, and the “NVMP Foundation” have completed the project started years ago.
The pictures you see are of 989ers present at the “Ribbon Cutting,” and of our VVA 989 paver and of the beautiful monument like stone installed in the Vietnam section of the NVMP. Some of the pictures were also taken later in the evening when the ceremony was over, and the lights of the memorial cast a soft glow to the names on the pavers in the plaza and in the Vietnam section of the NVMP.
As Chapter President I am happy to pass along the thanks of the NNSVH Staff for our escort and companion services and the thanks of the NVMP Foundation for our help with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony seating and hosting and the Chapter’s continued support.
Lastly, Chapter 989 has officially requested the use of the new Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza for our annual Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day ceremony in March 2023. We have received an enthusiastic yes from the NVMP and we will begin working toward the Veterans Remembrance Event early next year.
24 OCT 22
Ahoy 989ers and Friends,
As many of you know, Vietnam Veterans of America – Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 has provided veteran scholarships as one of the core elements of our support for the community since 2013.
Right now, plans and preparations are in full swing for our signature scholarship Gala fundraiser “From Camos to Classrooms” on 12NOV22 at the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno.
We are honored to have Colonel Ronald Storer, Commanding Officer of the Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, CA as our guest speaker.
We have also increased the number and monetary amount of veteran’s scholarships we are giving this year and we have included a veteran recipient from Western Nevada College in Carson City to our previous UNR and TMCC recipients. That evening we will present three local veterans with VVA 989 scholarships for their achievements.
This year in addition to our wide selection of silent auction items, live entertainment will be provided by the Retro Radio Dolls.
As a Chapter 989 member or friend of the chapter, we appreciate your continued support whether you can join us for the Gala or wish to send a donation to VVA 989 Scholarships, PO Box 20921, Reno, NV 89515. For your Gala ticket purchases please go to: < VVAreno989.org >
The ticket sales deadline for our 2022 Scholarship Gala is 04NOV22. This reminder is for those who would like to attend but have not yet purchased their tickets or those who have friends who would like to attend.
We invite you to visit our website: VVAreno989.org for detailed information about our Chapter and your participation.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Gala on 12NOV22.
J. R. —
02SEP22 – The Red Kittell (First Friday) Brunch
Friday’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!)
Most of you know that this brunch was special in that we did a “Breakfast Buffet” with all the trimmings, and some chose not to attend as it was a bit “pricy” and in some cases too much food (or the temptation of it) for somebody just wishing to have coffee and a roll or bagel. Rest assured we will be back to a less “pricy” menu and venue in the coming months.
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…
See you all again next month.
Nevada State Council Meeting
16 July 2022
Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 Report
Membership in the Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 continues to grow as of
31MAY22 totaling 231. This number is encouraging as we along with other
chapters continue to lose members due the ravages of time and Agent
Orange. Membership in AVVA as of 31MAY22 totals forty-one, including seven
Parades: Members of the Chapter (with our flag trailer) recently
participated in the Independence Day Parade in Virginia City and, as
always, we were well received. Chapter Color Guard: The Color Guard was again relatively quiet thisperiod, having supported the Lutherans Woman’s Missionary League Region 9 Conference at the Nugget Resort and Casino on 10JUN22 and a NDVS Veterans in Care (VIC) Ceremony at a local Care Facility on 14JUN22.
Completed Outreach Opportunities: Members of the Chapter continue to
“staff” our Outreach Table at Gun Shows in Reno and other events
connecting with potential members and presenting 50th Anniversary Pins to
qualified veterans. These activities included those in the Armed Forces
Day Celebration in the city of Fallon, in Churchill County, on 21MAY22 for
veterans and their families. We also supported outreach efforts at the
Summer Salute Classic Car Show in Reno on 29MAY22; The Memorial
Day Program at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
(NNVMC); and the VVA 989 supported Military Appreciation Night with
the Reno Aces on 18JUN22.
Northern Nevada State Veterans Home (NNSVH) Activities: Working
with Comstock Quilters and their “Quilts of Valor” program, (29MAR22)
we assisted with the presentation of quilts and the presentation of DoD
50th Year Commemorative Pins for residents of the facility and threw an ice
cream and cake “social” for all the residents to celebrate.
The Chapter also hosted the annual after “Memorial Day Cruise” of the
NNSVH and residents were wheeled outside under the portico and view
various classic and vintage vehicles and their drivers as we cruised the
facility. The Chapter also supported an “outing” to a local sports store (Sheels) in Sparks, NV where NNSVH residents were transported to the facility and
then Chapter members met they and had lunch with the residents at the
restaurant at Sheels and pushed them around the facility viewing displays
and purchasing items they found they needed. This trip was an enormous
success and will be repeated in the future.
Of note: On 18JUN22, NNSVH resident 98-year-old, Raymond Waters
was honored by The Reno Aces and VVA 989 at our POW/MIA Chair of
Honor rededication at Greater Nevada Field (home of the Reno Aces).
This was the third such celebration and honor of a former POW since 2019
when the chair of honor was originally dedicated.
Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day: Once again the Chapter hosted
this annual event on 27MAR22 and this year the venue was the Reno Elks
Lodge #597. This year we also honored those Nevadans (KIA) in both the
Iraq and the Afghanistan wars and paid tribute to Gold Star families of
those fallen. This event also offers an opportunity for other Veterans
Service Organizations to staff an outreach table and get their message out.
Scholarship Gala “From CAMOS to Classrooms”: As reported earlier,
the Chapter held its first (annual) fundraising Gala in November 2021 which
was very successful, raising about $30K for use in our scholarship
programs for both the University of Nevada – Reno (UNR) and Truckee
Meadows Community College (TMCC). The Chapter is now preparing to
increase the size and number of scholarships for both schools and
tentatively a “fall” dinner and presentation of these scholarships.
The Chapter hosted a 15th Anniversary Dinner on 26MAY22 at the
Tamarack Village Casino in Reno. The event was attended by over one
hundred members and guests for dinner and live entertainment and the
accompanying silent auction raised over $1,700.00 for our treasury.
Continued support and partnership with the Katie Grace Foundation: The
Chapter had worked with the Katie Grace Foundation (Reno) to provide
Household Goods distribution to veterans in the area. This program is also
one for Active Duty and Reserve and “Guard” members in the area and
supports members who might not be able to afford some of the items they
have received from the Katie Grace Foundation.
Upcoming Events: The Chapter will participate in three parades between
now and the end of the year: Nevada Day in Carson City; Veterans Day in
Reno; and The Holiday Parade in Sparks.
The Chapter will support Hot August Nights with our Color Guard and
Flag Trailer on 06AUG22 and The Reno Air Races with our Flag Trailer
and an Outreach table on 16SEP22
We will also support the annual Veterans “Stand Down” in Reno with the
VA scheduled at the Reno Elks Lodge on 23SEP22.
Chapter outreach continues at monthly and bi-monthly Gun Shows with the
presentation of DoD 50-year Commemorative pins and information related
to veterans benefits and programs.
Of Note: Approximately seven VVA 989 members have joined the Reno
Elks Lodge #597 over the past 6-7 months with several more, “in the
pipeline.” The Elks are most supportive of veterans’ activities and
generously donated their entire facility to this year’s Vietnam Veterans
Remembrance Ceremony in March 2022. In turn, members of VVA 989
have begun volunteering to support the Elks Veterans Committee, and
Chapter 989ers have helped by supporting Nevada Army and Air Guard
members use of the facility for training and family support activities.
A Way Forward: Now that the April 2022 Chapter Officer elections are
complete and filed, we plan to choose to continue or “do nothing” in the
face of the eventual end of Vietnam Veterans of America (National). We
are in the initial stages of exploring the forming of a new 501 (C) (3)
organization to continue after our numbers have gotten too old or passed
on to carry on the work of VVA 989. This new (yet undefined organization)
will also address current and further philanthropic work of the Chapter
membership should VVA Chapter 989 have to “turn out the lights” in the
J. R. Stafford, President
Vietnam Veterans of America
Sierra Nevada Chapter 989
18JUN22 POW/MIA Chair of Honor Rededicated
Delivered by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 989 President J. R. Stafford.
Ladies and Gentlemen, three years ago The Reno Aces and Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 989 officially dedicated this POW/MIA Chair of Honor and the accompanying plaque which reads:
“YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN”
This unoccupied chair honors the more than 82,000 service members who may be prisoners of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA) and symbolizes that there will always be a place in this stadium awaiting their return.
That night we were joined by Colonel William J. Elander, US Air Force (retired) and former prisoner in the infamous, “Hanoi Hilton” and released in 1973.
Last year we were joined by 102-year-old Staff Sgt. John Levitte, US Army, captured during the Battle of the Bulge and released in May 1945.
Tonight, we are joined by 98 year old Captain Raymond Waters, US Army Air Corps., Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medals, Purple Heart who was shot down over Italy in 1943 and spent 2 years in captivity in Germany and released in May, 1945. He returned to Service for Korea and left the Army as a Captain in 1958.
Although they have since passed, surely Colonel Elander & SSgt. Levitt are here with us again this evening as we rededicate this Chair of Honor to ALL our POWs and MIAs.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have a moment of silence for our POW/MIAs?
< silence >
Thank you and “To our missing Comrades I can assure you that, “America is forever grateful for your bravery and sacrifice in service to our nation and, …
” We Will Never Forget!”
J. R. Stafford
Ahoy Military Appreciation Night Participants,
Thank you all for a great night. Our efforts to bring in more “military” activities and static displays during Military Appreciation Night with the Reno Aces seemed to be well received all around.
- The Aces Staff, including Devin, Dora, AJ, and Vince for giving us the opportunity to “partner” with the Aces and hopefully make things work well this evening
- The Staff at Northern Nevada State Veterans Home (Dardi, Sheri, and even Amy M.) for their transport and care of Captain Raymond Waters as this evening’s POW honoree. Mr. Waters may have been out of the care facility, but he was never without care in the form of TLC while at the ballpark.
- The various recruiters who came and did their thing representing the various services
- The United Veterans Coalition for their “Short Notice” response to be the Color Guard for the evening
- The Army recruit Command for their on field “Oath of Enlistment” for five new soldiers
- The Army Guard for their static display out front of the ballpark
- Kimberly Ahrens-Dixon for her always wonderful renditions of both the National Anthem but God Bless America …that’s why I call her “Pipes!”
- The vintage Military vehicle owners for their display out front
- 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 and relief in Outreach, Flag display and overall, whatever needed to be done
- Brigitte Stafford for being the “Go To” person with questions about any and all aspects of the Event. She had it covered or knew “who did.”
All things considered, I think we can give ourselves better than a “Passing Grade” on our efforts. THANK YOU ALL for a great night.
Ahoy 989ers, 31MAY22
It’s been a LONG week and I’m just now getting around to THANKING everyone for making VVA 989 one of the best Veterans Service Organizations in Northern Nevada!
Beginning last week with our 15th Anniversary Dinner at Tamarack Village, 989ers responded to our silent auction and helped raise over $1,600 for our partners, The Katie Grace Foundation and our Veterans Assistance Account. Reports from the 100+ attendees at the dinner were that folks had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the entertainment, the meal and most of all the outstanding video John & Linda put together. Thank everyone for your contributions!
Saturday’s Outreach effort at the Classic Chevy Club’s “Summer Salute” at Rancho San Rafael Park was well attended and thank you’s go out to: The Greys, the Malones, Ray & Buddy, the Staffords, Lynn Gilespi, Becky Degn, Nancy Benson, and Becky McDonald and others for holding down the fort. (Literally, holding down the fort as the wind was eventually very fierce and folks had to pull up stakes early or risk being blown all the way to Winnemucca!) We raised a little money for selling ducks, but were able to hand out over 20 of the DOD’s 50 year commemorative pins and a TON of Chapter applications. …Some of which will probably join us for Brunch on Friday.
Monday’s early morning Outreach at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery for Memorial Day Services in Fernley was also quite successful for handing out 50 year Commemorative Pins (25) and again, more Chapter brochures and instructions to hit our website to download applications…and some recipients may join us for Brunch on Friday, 03JUN at the Gold’n Silver. Many thanks to Hugh Ricci, Ray and Buddy, the Greys, and Staffords for their participation Monday AM in Fernley.
Monday’s “Cruise” at the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home was not as well attended by the public and their vehicles as was hoped, but those that did attend and participate were very well received by the residents of the home. Thanks to Frank O’Boyle, The Malones, The Greys, The Theiss’, the Staffords, The Grillos, Jody Morris and Rand & Buddy. The Flag Trailer was (as usual) the hit and our thanks go to the Veterans Coalition (Mary Sedgwick and Rick Rose – Buglers) for playing Taps at 1500 prior to the start of our cruise.
Huge thanks to all that made the previous events possible and we will have lots more to do in the coming weeks and months. …Watch the website for more…but a few highlights are: The Summer Military Picnic with the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is scheduled for Bartley Ranch on Saturday, 11JUN22. The flier is on our website and the picnic is always a great way to eat and relax with like minded folks. If you haven’t gotten your ticket(s) yet, do so right away. The Flier is on our website < VVAreno989.org >
The Chapter Meeting on 16JUN22 with presentations of Quilts of Valor for some members and a guest speaker about “The Convention of States.”
The following Saturday Night the 18JUN22 we have our Military Appreciation Night with the Reno Aces and will be rededicating our POW/MIA Chair of Honor at Greater Nevada Field. (The flier is on the website < VVAreno989.org > for reserved seat tickets @ $18 plus a handling fee.
And, we are planning to be in the 04JUL22 parade up on the Comstock in Virginia City. Details of that gig will be forthcoming. For now, contact our Color Guard and Parade Captain, Ray Scow, at < email@example.com > or 1 (775) 843-6022 to let him know you want to have your vehicle in the parade behind the Flag Trailer.
For now, I hope to see some of you at Brunch on Friday.
J. R. Stafford, President
Vietnam Veterans of America,Sierra Nevada Chapter 989PrezVVA989@gmail.com1 (650) 224-5900
“Never Again Will One Generation
Of Veterans Abandon Another!”
Earlier this evening at the Chapter meeting at the Bunker, members of VVA 989 voted on the slate of candidates for the 2022-2023 Chapter year. …I’m again humbled to represent you as your President for the coming year. The Chapter also welcomed a new Vice President, Frank O’Boyle, and returned our Secretary, Hugh Ricci and our Treasurer, John Dickinson for a one year term.
The election also provided us with four new Board of Directors positions for a two year term, beginning in May 2022-2024. Seated for this new term will be John Ostrander (our outgoing Vice President), Norman Allen (returning to the Board after a short absence), Dale Bohannan (a new candidate bringing fresh ideas to the board) and Bill Grey who was reelected for an additional two year term.
This evening the four new Board Members join four existing Board members, who’s terms will expire in 2023. They are: David Levine, (Current Board Chair) Red Kittell (our Brunch Meister), Susan Malone (our Chaplain), and Rick Kaufmann (our Webmaster).
Also serving an additional one year term on the Board is our immediate Past President, Linda Dickinson as prescribed in the By-Laws, and Brigitte Stafford as the AVVA Area Representative. Brigitte’s position is “advisory only” and she is a non voting member of the Board.
If you are “doing the math, you’ll tally a total of 13 voting members on the Board and one advisory member. And, note too, that the Treasurer does not vote on financial matters.
Bottom line: “We” (The Board of Directors) can’t do it alone, and appreciate your help in the coming year. We also very much appreciate the past work of Ray Scow as an outgoing Board Member and Secretary to the Board. He will remain on the Parade Committee and our Color Guard Captain and serve us as Sgt.-at-Arms. Thank you Ray. Your time and talents will be missed, but you’ve earned some time off, Good Sir!
In closing a big thank you to the 33 members who came to the Bunker for the election this evening. …Come back next month, 19MAY22 for “eats” provided by the Board prior to the Chapter Meeting. Our guest speaker will be from the Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza (NVMP) as they are in the final push to finish the Plaza about ready to open it up for visitors later this summer.
Have a great week, and thank you for the honor of serving as your President for another year.
“Year End” 2021 Chapter Report
Having just completed my calendar “Year End” (Q-2) Chapter report for the Governor’s Veterans Services Commission, I began reflecting on how much we have accomplished this quarter and for the entire year, despite COVID and other challenges in 2021.
As I began recalling the year’s events, I knew I wanted to share them with you, so I began making the list separating events with a semi-colon. To my surprise the list went on for over a page, single spaced and was also most difficult to read. For both of our benefits, I then went to bullet items which is easier to follow, but still long. Bottom line? Looking back over 2021, I am pleased to remind everyone what we accomplished.
- We successfully launched an upgrade of the Chapter’s website, VVAreno989.org, which is providing valuable information to our Chapter membership and to veterans of all eras
- We still held twelve “First Friday” Brunches
- Held twelve Board meetings and several “special finance” meetings
- Held eleven VVA Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 meetings
- Held eight AVVA meetings
- Participated in five parades
- Participated in a couple of COVID “Cruises” too
- We held the first official gathering of 250 plus (socially distanced) participants in an outside venue in Washoe County. This, as the COVID lockdown eased when we did the Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Event (VRE) at the Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch
- We also worked with the Reno Aces and rededicated our POW/MIA Chair of Honor at Greater Nevada Field
- We sent representatives to both State AND National VVA/AVVA functions and attended a regional VVA meeting in Reno
- We continued to do our “outreaches” at by-monthly Gun Shows
- We also supported Military Appreciation Day at the Reno Air Races
- We supported the Veterans Guest House Radiothon
- We supported the Memorial Day Remembrance at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery (NNVMC) in Fernley, and we then hosted a “Memorial Day Cruise” for the Veterans at the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks (NNSVH)
- With the help of the Nevada Woodchucks and Home Depot, we delivered six custom made outdoor Planter Boxes and planting soils to the NNSVH
- Working with partners at Home Depot, we delivered and built patio furniture and umbrellas for the NNSVH
- We decorated three wings of the NNSVH with no less than nine fully decorated Christmas trees and holiday decor. Some of the trees and decorations were also donated from our friends at the Home Depot stores or the Katie Grace Foundation
- We delivered over 780 gallons of hand sanitizer from the Katie Grace Foundation to the NNSVH and Veterans Guest House
- We held an impromptu Hot August “Afternoons” Classic Car show and Ice Cream Social for the residents of the NNSVH
- We delivered petfood and supplies from the Nevada Humane Society in Reno to the Douglas County Fair Grounds for displaced wildfire victims
- We supported the 9-11 “Memorial Ruck” with our Flag Trailer, snacks, water and as a backdrop for services adjacent to the Nevada Memorial Plaza in Sparks
- We provided Chapter Color Guard support for NDVS events including the openings of the National Conference of State Directors of Veterans Services at the Peppermill
- We also provided Color Guard Support for VVA Region 8-9 Conference in Sparks
- We found time for a Chapter “field trip” and BBQ at the US Coast Guard Station at Lake Tahoe
- We were honored by the Army Guard Family Support Center for our Chapter’s “support” of their efforts
- Several of our number were also honored by the Governor being recognized as Veterans of the Month (VOM) or Veteran Supporter of the Month (VSM)
- We were honored by the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) with a wonderful dinner at the Bunker
- We presented two Scholarships to deserving UNR and TMCC students
- We “Trademarked” the name: “From CAMOS to Classrooms”
- We held our first Scholarship Fundraising Gala which raised $30K for future veteran scholarships
- We began a “Donuts and Discussion” group for Chapter members disgusted after the August military debacle in Afghanistan
- Working with Comstock Quilters, we presented ninety-six “Quilts of Valor” to residents at the NNSVH
- We continued the annual work of the Gary Meckler Memorial Holiday Gift Basket Program for veteran families in need working through the Army Guard Family Support Center
- We helped pick up the old wreaths from “Wreaths Across America” in 2020 in January 2021, and we helped place wreaths in December 2021 at the NNVMC.
For those of you who are still “tracking,” a few of the things for the third quarter of VSC calendar and the first quarter of the Chapter’s 2022 calendar year are:
- Brunches, Baard, and Chapter Meetings
- Take down and store Christmas Decorations at the NNSVH
- Pick up the old wreaths (goat food) in Fernley in January
- Continue planning for, and then put on, a Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Event on 26 March 2022
- Present DOD 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Pins to residents at the NNSVH on 29 March 2022
- Begin the search and nominating process for April Chapter elections. As some of you know, some of our officers (having served well and honorably over many years) are moving on and we are looking for a few good men or women to fill in the projected vacancies
- 2022 is the 15th Anniversary of the Chapter and we are looking for an appropriate anniversary celebration later in the year
- Who is up for another Scholarship Gala later in the year?
- …And, the list goes on.
The bottom line here is VVA Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 is probably the busiest and one of the most recognized Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) in the Reno area. The Chapter’s work (and play) is something that comes with your membership, and it is up to you as to what you choose to contribute.
“I’m honored to be your President and thank all of you who participated in many of the events the Chapter took on during 2021. I also look forward to your new or continued support in the coming year.”
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays – and a Happy New Year.
J. R. Stafford
President VVA 989