|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Vice President’s Report, November/December 2020|
In my last report I wrote about the surreal trial the Officers have had to navigate in response to the pandemic. I know that similar situations exist within our state councils and chapters as they struggle to hold meetings, have elections, and conduct business. These are difficult times for all of us. COVID-19 has profoundly affected VVA. Resounding changes have taken place in recent months within the entire organization.
I still receive questions about what happens in the fall with respect to VVA. Fall has come and gone, and winter is now at hand. I’ve said before that I did not expect COVID to go away. It appears the virus will stick around for an indefinite period.
The daily news fills our ears with the grim details about COVID-19 and its march across our country: upticks in the number of sick in many states; unfortunate families with loved ones who have died; and those remaining suffering through terrible losses. VVA’s Officers strongly urge you to take precautions to protect yourselves and your families as best you can in these critical times.
We have developed a new organizational chart that reflects our forced downsizing. With the reduced staff we have to do more with less. Copies of the new chart have been sent to all Board and CSCP members. We are, to the best of our ability, attempting to put staff in positions where they can do their best, taking their individual talents into consideration. We are still working out the kinks, so this remains a work in progress.
Some staff members are going into the office on a rotating basis almost every day to check mail and take care of vital business. Questions remain concerning when or if the entire staff will be returning to the national office. In consultation with Dr. Artie Sheldon (the health of the staff is your officers’ primary concern), staff members have been advised that the earliest return for most of them may take place in January.
This depends on the status of the virus. Will we have a vaccine? Will we be ready to use public transportation? Will gatherings be permitted? Will restrictions be lifted? You get the drift.
All Board meetings have been canceled through January 2021. Virtual “special meetings” with Board and CSCP members will continue for the immediate future. We have also had a special meeting with our national committee chairs, as an information session, which most thought went very well. The Officers meet and discuss our evolving situation weekly. In-person Board meetings may not happen until April of 2021.
We continue our advance plans for the 2021 National Convention. We hope that it will take place. But we do not know what the future holds, so we rely on faith that it will take place. A lot will depend on our financial status. We hope to have a better picture of that by year’s end.
HOUSEHOLD GOODS PROGRAM
We have had some buyers restart in areas where it has been allowed. Some have started pick-ups on the street; others still are working off inventory. Our finances have improved, but not anywhere near where we were before the virus struck. We are watching the situation closely.
SERVICE OFFICER PROGRAM
I reported to the board that the Veterans Support Foundation provides most of the money to keep our service officer program operating. Like VVA, VSF has been having financial problems. I further reported that Treasurer Jack McManus had discussions with the VSF treasurer and board. Despite its problems, VSF was willing to strengthen the long-standing relationship between our two organizations.
Once again, we express our gratitude to VSF President Keith King, and to the VSF board and donors. I am pleased to report that we have drawn up a new VSF/VVA contract that was sent to VSF in October. This is a work in progress. We do not want to bring the document to our Board for approval until VSF has signed off on it. We have requested VSF to review the contract, then return it to us for Board approval and signature.
Keith King reported that a meeting of the VSF board had been called to consider the question. We anticipate an answer in November.
NEW NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE
The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 was signed into law in October. This legislation designates 9-8-8 as the telephone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The existing hotline, which can be reached by dialing 800-273-8255, is operated by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through the Veterans Crisis Line. Both lines offer confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many of the responders with the Veterans Crisis Line are veterans.
|The VVA Veteran® is a publication of Vietnam Veterans of America. ©All rights reserved.
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910 | www.vva.org | contact us