|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Treasurer’s Report, July/August 2023|
Time to Think About VVA's 2025 Budget
Prior to the April Board of Directors meeting, I joined the Finance Committee and the Director of Finance for a scheduled, open session for Board members and committee chairs, which included a question-and-answer period, as well as open discussion of VVA’s 2024 proposed budget.
The meeting was an important opportunity to clarify items and intent in formulating the budget. Setting aside time for these questions prior to the meeting proved to be a valuable step in the process. The meeting was well attended, and many questions and concerns were addressed so that all could hear and know the various line items and assigned funding. This was time well spent. Most importantly, approval of the 2024 Budget was unanimously passed by the Board of Directors with little discussion.
After completing the process, we realized that this pre-budget session averted a “Parliamentary Polka" of motions, time, and doubts. At the same time, the transparency of this approach provided an opportunity to address all questions before a vote of the Board. As VVA moves forward, I recommend that this pre-budget session be adopted as a best practice and become part of the normal process of approving VVA’s budgets.
On a personal note, Memorial Day has always been an important time for me. Growing up in the small town of Wadsworth, Ohio, Memorial Day was the only time we had a parade. Eventually my whole family (Dad, Mom, me, my sisters Pat and Janet, and brothers Tim and Terry) marched with the Scouts. The route started at the town square and ended at the cemetery, where the names of Wadsworth veterans who had died since the last Memorial Day were read aloud. This was followed by volleys from the Honor Guard, and last of all, the playing of “Taps.” Of course, there was a scramble for the spent cartridges from the salute. Little did we know that in a few short years, we would be burying some of those same boys then diving for the spent cartridges.
This year I joined other members of Chapter 270 for the Norwich, Connecticut, Memorial Day parade. I rode with Army Maj. Chris Coutu and his daughters Gabriella and Alexandria. The girls held placards with the words "Normandy" and "Utah," which have great significance for me. I shared the story of my father, chief boatswain mate Robert Spoonster, aboard the U.S.S. Susan B. Anthony on D-Day. While attempting to disembark her cargo, the shit hit a mine and sank. My father was MIA for several weeks. The story brought many questions; it also gave Normandy and Utah a new meaning for them.
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