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Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, September/October 2023 -   -  

Highlights from the Convention in Orlando

The 2023 AVVA Convention has concluded. With 79 pre-registered delegates and alternates, the stage was set to accept or reject the bylaw amendments submitted by committees and members. Here are the Convention highlights:

On Wednesday at noon, AVVA hosted an Awards Luncheon with more than 300 attendees. Members were recognized for their contributions to the organization, and Betty Mekdeci, Executive Director of the National Birth Defects Registry for Children, served as guest speaker.

The Commendation Medal, AVVA’s most prestigious honor, was awarded to Gina Mathews (Texas Chapter 685). Other annual awards, announced by Awards Chair Mary Anne Newman, included Howard Schlutter (Utah Chapter 1079) as Member of the Year and Kim Biddle (Florida Chapter 1059) as the Fellowship Award recipient.

VISTA award winners, presented by Program Chair Kathy Andras, recorded 19,585 volunteer hours this past term. Linda Meyer (Tennessee Chapter 1004) had the most volunteer hours, followed by Theresa Novak (Pennsylvania Chapter 542) and Wynella Bethards (Kentucky Chapter 454). Region 3 submitted the most volunteer hours collectively, with Tennessee as the top state, and Kentucky Chapter 454 recognized for the most chapter hours.

On Thursday, AVVA held its business session, with 22 bylaw amendments submitted for approval. Ten amendments were adopted. Details of the business session will be available in the minutes on our website soon. The Convention wrapped up with national elections on Friday morning.

Congratulations to the following who were elected to the National Board for the next two years:

Officers: President, Sharon Hobbs (Tenn.); Vice President, Kathy Andras (La.); Secretary, Nina Schloffel (Calif.); Treasurer, Kaye Gardner (Md.)

Regional Directors: Region 1 vacant; Region 2, Bobbie Morris (Pa.); Region 3, Wynella Bethards (Ky.); Region 4, Mary Anne Newman (Fla.); Region 5, Anthony Gigli (Ind.); Region 6, Barbara Coan (Missouri); Region 7, Terri Rangel (Texas); Region 8, Jennifer Ellis (Ore.); Region 9, Kelly Frederickson (Calif.)

Regional Deputy Directors: Region 1 Deputy vacant; Region 2 Deputy, Lori Calamita-Paton (N.Y.); Region 3 Deputy, Beverly Pounds (Tenn.); Region 4 Deputy, Kim Biddle (Fla.); Region 5 Deputy, Penny Meinhardt (Mich.); Region 6 Deputy, Pat Furno (Wisc.); Region 7 Deputy, Gail Courville (La.); Region 8 Deputy, Ruth Feliciano (Ore.); Region 9 Deputy, vacant.

Our Project Friendship recipient this year was the National Birth Defects Registry in Orlando. AVVA presented a check to them for $45,375 during the closing ceremonies. I want to thank everyone who responded with a contribution; your outpouring of donations was astounding. We passed our goal, and the amount was more than we have ever collected in the past.

Thank you for your support. We couldn’t have done it without our VVA and AVVA national, states, chapters, and individuals.




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