|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Vice President’s Report, November/December 2021|
COVID & VBP Staff Changes
We continue to experience the effects of COVID in practically every aspect of our lives. On a recent wild night in New Philadelphia, Ohio, yours truly and my wife Robin wound up in the hospital after a collision with an immoveable object. Namely another vehicle. A kind gentleman in a red vehicle gave us a ride. It had a siren and flashing lights. No, I don’t think it was Santa! Anyway, we landed at the hospital and instead of being taken into the trauma center, they carted us into the emergency waiting room.
The upshot: We sat there for eight hours before we were seen by anyone. The hospital was full of COVID patients; so to avoid being exposed we sat in the waiting room until they were able to clear a room for us. This is not unusual.
The moral of this story is that you never know when COVID is going to get you. I know that everyone has the right to get vaccinated or not. But I urge you to get your inoculations as soon as possible. You will not only be helping yourself, but everyone around you.
Robin and I would like to thank my fellow Officers, our co-workers on the National Staff, and VVA members who reached out to us with cards, flowers, phone calls, and other very kind get-well expressions. We have been overwhelmed by your thoughts and generosity. Words cannot express our gratitude to our VVA family.
Our recently concluded National Convention took unprecedented measures to keep attendees safe. I am unaware of any other time that such efforts were made to provide a safe environment for those attending a VVA event. Our Convention Planning Committee, headed by Dan Stenvold and Wes Guidry, and our staff are to be commended for their resourcefulness, hard work, and for doing a great job in Greensboro. We were able to talk with fellow veterans, something that most of us have not been doing in person since March of 2020.
On November 1 Greg Nembhard, formerly VVA’s VSO Programs & Policy Manager at the AMO, was promoted to Director of Veterans Benefits. We welcome Nembhard to Silver Spring in his new position. We know that he will be up to this challenge. We will support him in every way and wish him every success.
Felicia Mullaney, who has done one outstanding job for VVA as Director, will be reassigned as Deputy Director for Programs & Policies, and will report to Nembhard. She will be pursuing an MBA at the University of Maryland. Mullaney is well known and well respected in the veterans community. VVA did not want to lose such an asset. She will remain in Silver Spring.
Also on November 1 Alec Ghezzi, formerly our Training Advisory Attorney, became the Deputy Director of Veteran Claims & Appeals, and will be reporting to Greg Nembhard. He has done a great job at his present post, and we look forward to providing him support and success in his new endeavor.
Fatmata Conteh, who was the Managing Attorney of the Veterans Benefits Program, left on October 15. She served VVA faithfully and we thank her. In addition, Justin Huber, who was the VBP’s National Appeals Attorney, resigned September 10 to pursue a career with the federal government.
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