|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, November/December 2021|
Ready and Willing
By the time you read this, we will have a new AVVA Board of Directors and will have completed our 2021 National Convention. We look forward to getting our lives back to normal in the next few months. AVVA has survived the pandemic, and we will continue to move forward with our mission and keep making a difference.
This will be my last column in The Veteran as your president. It has been a privilege to represent AVVA members, and it was my honor to try to hold things together through this very difficult last year and a half. It has been a very difficult job for the National Board of Directors to take care of business during the months when we were unable to hold meetings, travel within our regions, or actually do anything at all that resembled a normal manner of doing business. I want to make sure you all realize that a few new board members had no experiences to draw upon, but they did an admirable job.
The Board took on the pandemic with a vengeance. We dedicated ourselves to making sure we could make online meetings work and that we were taking care of the business of AVVA in a proper manner. We came up with an election process for chapters and states in 2020 so that elections could be completed without having to endanger anyone in an in-person meeting. We gave our members alternatives so they could carry out the events and duties they needed to complete. We talked about problems and solved 99 percent of them. My entire term consisted mostly of problem solving and putting out fires, and I believe we did a very good job.
I encourage chapters and states to consider incorporation. It has never been more important for local groups to be able to solicit their own funds and become more independent—not independent from VVA’s events and helping them, but independent in conducting business and events and handling money and donations. Eventually we will need to be ready and able to be VVA’s legacy because that job is rightfully ours. No one is more capable than AVVA to carry on the knowledge and determination of VVA’s Founding Principle: “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” It’s the reason I joined AVVA in the first place.
We are willing and able to include younger veterans and members, because that way we can all work together to continue VVA’s mission. We are the ones who can teach that legacy and help people understand it. It is what we have done for almost 40 years, and what we can keep doing.
In our beginning our sole purpose in life was to carry on VVA’s legacy. It is why we stayed by VVA’s side, learning and doing, so that we would someday be ready. This is our chosen obligation, our focus, and our passion.
Thank you to everyone who helped me in this endeavor; you know who you are. And to those who chose a different course, you also know who you are, and so do I. Just let me say: We are still here, and we can remain here as long as our members work to do good things for Vietnam veterans and their families.
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