The President Notes: Passing The Gavel

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1 Vol.1 No.4 Apr-June 2011 The President Notes: Passing The Gavel Ralph Bakle, President, VVA #1027 Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another I am privileged to assume the duties of President of our chapter. Past President Dave Martin has set a high bar. Our chapter has been blessed with outstanding leadership these first years of our incorporation into the national VVA. It will seem odd not seeing Dave or Frank Piontek sitting at the front table. Dave started the chapter s Bridge the Gap program and we now have WWII, Korea and Iraqi veterans joining as associate members. We will work hard to embrace more of these veterans during my tenure in office. We have also been blessed to President Ralph and his 20mm friend have hard working members that take charge. For example, helping in the Marine Mud Run and putting together the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Mishawaka. Our members have participated in Martin Luther King Day, Coats for Vets, funerals and burials associated with Miller s Vets and The Garden of Peace, Veterans Day Ceremony at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center and having a hospitality bus at the Vietnam Veterans Reunion in Kokomo, Indiana. We have grown our VVA luncheon from sometimes a dozen to over 40 in attendance. A ladies dinner evening was started and we have increased from an original 16 to 50 at our last dinner. Our first chapter picnic had over 80 in attendance. We have had two holiday dinners with about 100 attendees at each at the Marine Core League. We have also made several donations to charitable organizations. We have increased our membership to 130. I challenge every member to participate in our organization s operations. This means I need volunteers for committee chairmanships and membership in the committees, stepping up when we need some help for an event. Offering ideas for fund raising, guest speakers and events, and other ideas on how to improve our chapter. I also am starting the President s Challenge.. each member is to bring in one new member. During my term in office, my goal is that our chapter reach 200 in membership. With each of us doing our part, we will get there. My VA Chapter 31 mission statement labels me as an Events Coordinator, and I plan to have several social events during the year. If you have any ideas let me or a board member know. DANIELLE S STORY Veteran: Danielle Green-Byrd, 37 Danielle Green-Byrd was born and raised on Chicago s South Side. She earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where she graduated in 1999 with a degree in psychology. After graduation, she spent two years as a teacher at the Chicago International Charter School. Danielle left her teaching job to follow the call of a childhood dream to serve her country in the Army. In 2002, at the age of 25, Danielle enlisted into the United States Army as an E4. Her military occupation was a military police officer. Her unit deployed to Iraq in January of On May 25, 2004, Danielle was pulling security on a rooftop when a couple of rockets whizzed past her. Immediately, Danielle reached down to grab her weapon when a rocket-propelled grenade hit her as she began to return fire. [Continued on pg.6] Design and publication of HEROES is sponsored by Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center. 1 VVA Chapter #1027 St. Joesph County P.O. Box 4 South Bend, IN

2 Upcoming Events Board Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month at the Marine Corps League 539 Parry Street, South Bend, IN :30 PM EST All meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month at the Marine Corps League 539 Parry Street, South Bend, IN PM EST Our VVA Ladies Night Dinner, 3 rd Thursday of the month, Contact Ralph Bakle Our VVA Annual Picnic, June 14 at V.F.W. Post # W. Linden Avenue, South Bend, IN Contact Ralph Bakle Also call VFW 9820 for Info on their Annual Picnic Call any of the Veterans Groups Below for Activities & Meetings: Army & Navy Union American Legion Post American Legion Post American Legion Post American Legion Post VFW Post 360 VVW Post Marine Corps League #95 Disabled American Veterans Elkhart Chapter # Disabled American Veterans Marshall County Chapter # Mess Call Lunch with the Vietnam Veterans 2nd Thursday every month Noon at Catch W. 4th Street, Mishawaka, IN American Legion Post 161 Fish Fry every Friday from 4:30 7 pm Marine Corps League Club Hours: Monday Friday, 3 9 pm Saturday 3 11 pm All Navy/Marine Lunch Brunch 1st Wednesday every month Noon at Allie s Café 2323 W. Mishawaka Avenue, South Bend, IN Seadogs 3rd Wednesday every month Noon at Honkers 211 E. Day Road, Mishawaka, IN

3 NOTES FROM THE OUTGOING CHAPTER PRESIDENT As I reflect on my service in a leadership role while on the Board and supporting our VVA Chapter #1027 for the past 5 years, I can t help but feel a ton of pride with what we, as a group, have been able to accomplish. Some of the most notable areas include: Chartered the Chapter with 25 members and grew to We are still growing. Developed a Mission Statement. Developed the tag line We Bridge the Gap which bridges from WW s to present. Received the National Award for the Best VVA Newsletter out of 700+ Chapters. Received annual proclamations from two Northern Indiana Cities declaring March 30th Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. We also obtained a proclamation from the State of Indiana in Established the framework for pride and camaraderie of Vietnam Veterans, Vietnam Era-Veterans and all Veterans. About VVA Chapter 1027 St. Joseph County, IN Officers & Board of Directors President: Ralph Bakle Phone: Vice President: Joe Bubelenyi Phone: Secretary: Jerrol Satterfield Phone: Treasurer: C. David Guzicki Phone: Sgt. Of Arms: Harold (Spider) Draves Phone: Quartermaster: Christian Luciani Phone: Brd/Founder: Earl Simon Phone: Delegates/Directors: The foundation has been established to ensure growth for Chapter 1027, positive exposure and support for all Veterans and giving back to the community and to those in need. I have confidence that our new Board will carry forth our mission. At the end of the day, I leave with a warm heart, finally being able to proudly stand as a United States Veteran of a foreign war, after 40 plus years of little or no recognition. I sincerely thank each and everyone that has supported me and the Chapter, and once again say as I sign-off, Welcome Home proud Vietnam Veterans. Respectfully written, Dave Martin Past President VVA #1027 Name: Joe Swift Phone: Name: Paul Oyler Phone: Name: Dave Rothenhoefer Phone: Name: Grant (Goose) Neely Phone: Name: Robert Eberlein Phone: Name: Howard Barrett Phone: Want to receive HEROES? If you would like to receive a copy of HEROES, simply provide one of our officers with your address and we will add you to the mailing list. Membership not necessary. You can also visit: sjmed.com/heroes 3

4 VA Extends Agent Orange & Gulf Wars Benefits Agent Orange: Diseases Related to Agent Orange Exposure VA assumes that certain diseases are related to qualifying military service. These are called presumptive diseases. VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases related to exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Also, VA presumes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans with 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service. Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation and healthcare benefits for diseases that VA has recognized as related to exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides. Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and died as the result of diseases related to Agent Orange exposure may be eligible for survivors benefits. Veterans Diseases Related to Agent Orange Exposure Acute and Subacute Peripheral AL Amyloidosis Chloracne (or Similar Acneform Disease) Chronic B-cell Leukemias Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2) Hodgkin s Ischemic Heart Multiple Myeloma Non-Hodgkin s Lymphoma Parkinson s Disease Porphyria Cutanea Tarda Prostate Cancer Respiratory Cancers Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma) Gulf War Veterans Illnesses: Infectious Diseases diseases.asp VA presumes certain infectious diseases are related to military service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan. Eligible Veterans may receive disability compensation and health care for these diseases. VA presumes the following infectious diseases are related to military service in Southwest Asia theater of operations during the first Gulf War starting August 2, 1990, through the conflict in Iraq and on or after September 19, 2001, in Afghanistan. Veterans must have the diseases within the time frames shown above and have a current disability as a result of that disease in order to receive disability compensation. Malaria Brucellosis Campylobacter Jejuni Coxiella Burnetii (Q Fever) Shigella Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Nontyphoid Salmonella Visceral Leishmaniasis West Nile Virus For more information contact anyone on page 3. Read about new VA Diseases for Gulf War Vets on page 12. Outgoing VVA Board Bob Berta standing and Paul Oyler on his bike 4

5 We honor life. A combination of concrete and steel weighing over three tons from Tower 1 of the World Trade Center, the memorial is located in the main lobby of our Mishawaka Campus, at 5215 Holy Cross Parkway. All are welcome to visit. It is a tremendous privilege to display this memorial, to serve as a permanent remembrance of those who lost their lives, as well as to honor those who serve our country Mishawaka Plymouth South Bend sjmed.com

6 Danielle s Story (continued from cover) Danielle s comrades came to her aid, carrying her to safety. When she awoke in the hospital, her entire chain of command was waiting by her bed. Danielle s Master Sergeant gently told her that her dominant left arm was gone, and the Brigade Commander pinned on the Purple Heart. After carrying Danielle to safety, two of her leaders had returned to the rooftop against the company commander s orders in order to find her hand which had been buried under seven inches of sand. Now standing at her bedside, her Master Sergeant slipped her recovered wedding rings onto her remaining hand. Danielle returned to the States to begin recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It wasn t easy at first; she was plagued by questions and selfdoubt. You often ask yourself, Why me? I was a good soldier and a good person. I just didn t understand what it all meant, and how my future would be. There are so many questions how will people look at me? Will I be considered crippled? So often I would ask myself, Why am I even here? Slowly Danielle began to regain hope. Organizations like the Disabled Sports, Salute American Heroes and the Achilles Track Club; Impact a Hero gave her hope. Four months after the injury, Danielle was running a five-mile race in Central Park in New York. Sports continue to play an integral role in Danielle s life. Since the injury, she has learned how to play racquetball, golf, fish and ski with the hopes of expanding her horizons. Danielle graduated on May 17, 2008, with a master s degree in School/Community Counseling from Saint Xavier University. She worked for the Chicago Board of Education in the Department of Sports Administration as a City Wide Sports Coordinator from before accepting an Assistant Athletic Director position at Malcolm X College. In May 2010, Danielle accepted a position as a Readjustment Counselor with the Department of Veteran Affairs- Readjustment Counseling Services/Orland Park Vet Center in Orland Park, IL. She provides a wide range of psycho social services offered to combat zone veterans and their families in an effort to make a successful transition from military to civilian life. In addition, she provides individual and group counseling services. In January 2013, Danielle returned to the place where she had experienced much success 15 years earlier. Danielle accepted the Supervisory Readjustment Counseling Therapist Team Leader position at the South Bend Vet Center, where she now supervises three counselors and an office manager, and provides counseling services to combat veterans and their family members. The South Bend Vet Center is always looking for outreach activities to identify veterans who could benefit from services and opportunities to make the community more aware of what it offers. Working for the Department of Veterans Affairs allows Danielle to give back and continue to fulfill her mission of serving her country and fellow veterans. 6

7 Photo Album Bob Berta Door Gunner Larry Ray 1st Air Cav with their pet Alvin Kukla and his truck 7

8 Gulf War Veterans Resources Grant Szabo, Editor/Founder, This site has helped vets find one another or find others with similar problems/issues. It also provides information on how to get advice and help from other veterans. Occasionally new articles or links are posted. The content that really drives things are: 1) The Locator Database 2) Tracings in the Sand 3) Veteran Photos I would especially recommend that you highlight information about the National Gulf War Resource Center at who I have partnered with since 1995 to help connect GW veterans who need help with a live person who can help them. The NGWRC is a non-profit organization. They publish a self-help guide that is worthy of being highlighted. President s Note: Many thanks to Grant Szabo, Editor and Founder of this website, for his work and expertise, documentary and speaker programs, its magazine American Valor Quarterly, and events such as the National Memorial Day Parade. Scott Wilson Iraq Source: Department of Defense Joint Service Commendation Award Harry Williams 88

9 3rd Year at MLK Day. From left to right: Jerry Satterfield, Bob Eberlein and Kevin Kelshimer Dave Guzicki with Medal of Honor Recipient Samie Davis From the Desk of Your Secretary We have had our elections, and we have some new officers, new ideas and new goals. We have some new faces and some familiar faces on the board, and I look forward to working with them. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the past officers and board members for their hard work in getting us to where we are now, again THANK YOU. A special thanks to our founder, Earl Simon, for all the work he did getting this chapter started. I am sure there was a lot of long hours in doing that, and his work since. We THANK YOU. As for the future, I believe we need to continue getting our Chapter 1027 name all we stand for out into the community. Our events, projects, donations and activities should be promoted not only in our newsletter, but in the paper and on TV. One way of doing this would be to volunteer for some community projects. For example, we could adopt a section of the highway and keep it clean or volunteer at the annual river cleanup event. I would like to hear about some ideas that you, the membership, would like to have our chapter involved in. We also need to remember our motto Bridge the Gap. To help our own veterans, and the veterans that came before us, and the veterans after us, and try to do what we can to help them. Thank You, Welcome Home Jerry Satterfield, Secretary 9

10 VVA Director Dave Rothenhoefer Welcome Home Day Organizer, Bob Eberlein New VVA Chaplain Ron Bobelenyi Remember Your Indiana Veterans Benefits President s Note: Mayor Dave Wood and the Mishawaka City Council again recognized National Vietnam Veterans Day (on 31 March, 2014). Mayor of Mishawaka David. A Wood reminds all Hoosier Veterans that the State of Indiana offers significant Veterans Benefits. Some of the State benefits that may apply are: County Veterans Service Officers Employment Assistance Golden Hoosier Passport High School Diploma Program for WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam Veterans Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery Motor Vehicle License Plates Peddlers, Vendors, or Hawkers License Property Tax Abatements Remission of Fees (Free Tuition) for the Child/Children of a Disabled Veteran Remission of Fees for Indiana Purple Heart Recipients Resident Veteran Hunting & Fishing License The Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Children s Home The Veterans Home Vital Documents For Veterans Benefits More information at 10

11 Bridging the Gap Our WWII vet, Jack Campbell, entered the navy in January He was 17-years-old and right out of a Pennsylvania high school. He was told he was in until the war was over. Jack was a signalman aboard the U.S.S. Hopping. He operated in the South Pacific Theater. During the Kamikaze attacks, Jack s GQ station was located under the signal flags. He had no weapons on the signal bridge. Jack and his wife, Alice, have been married for 67 years. Alice enjoys attending our VVA Ladies Night Dinners. Jack enjoys all of our various lunches and the camaraderie of Vietnam veterans. 11

12 Veteran Service Officers JD Swift Please see the following for the names and telephone contact information for the 2nd District County Veteran Service Officers. These are the point people to get your VA claim started: St. Joseph...Kevin Kelsheimer Elkhart...Gary Whitehead LaPorte...George Watkins x 2216 Porter...James Lynch Starke...Golden Richie Marshall...Josh Wakeland Fulton...Bernard L. Holloway Cass...Larry Lowry Howard...Robert Bob Ladd Miami...Jay Kendall x 217 or x 271 White...Tom Carter Carroll...Larry Leach Pulaski...Edward A. Fleury President s Note: If you need to know anything about Local, National or Obscure Veterans Issues, JD is your Logistics Officer. VA Benefits: Gulf War Veterans Gulf War Veterans who meet the criteria below do not need to prove a connection between their military service and illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation. VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. These presumptive illnesses must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling. These illnesses include: Chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition of long-term and severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions. Find out more about chronic fatigue syndrome, treatment and the latest medical research at Medline Plus. Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache and memory problems. Find out more about fibromyalgia, treatment and the latest medical research at Medline Plus. 12 Functional gastrointestinal disorders, a group of conditions marked by chronic or recurrent symptoms related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Functional condition refers to an abnormal function of an organ, without a structural alteration in the tissues. Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia and functional abdominal pain syndrome. Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include but are not limited to: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances. Gulf War Veterans may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including a Gulf War Registry health exam, health care, and disability compensation for diseases related to military service. Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits. See the Bulletin Board at

13 Message from the Founder- Membership Administrator Earl Simon, Founder With the recent election, the Officers and the Board approved the proposal that I continue as the Membership Administrator. All new memberships, address changes and additions may be directed to Earl. All of us can be proud of our Service and equally have pride in the positive growth of our Chapter The membership welcomes our newest members: WELCOME HOME! John Barnes, Alden Baumgartner, Harry Brown, William Gaut, Clifford Haines, Jr., Thomas Hammond, James Kolkowski, Frederick Kruse, James Lancaster, Jim Laughlin, David Lechtanski, Robert Lewis, Frank Modjeska, Robert Miller, Robert Moore, Jr., Terry Niemier, Kenneth Parker, Jim Reed, James Weber, William Welsch It is the Veteran It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion. It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. Ladies Night Out, March 2014 It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the VETERAN, not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote. SOURCE: theuncloggedblog.blogspot.com Sarah Lanno and George Bush 2003 aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln 13

14 Support our VVA Chapter 1027 Donations of cash and property to VVA Chapter 1027 are tax deductible. Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another We re helping the veterans who are coming home wounded or disabled get the medical care they need. We re also assisting Gulf War, Afghan War and Iraq War veterans with benefits counseling and other essential services to help them rebuild their lives after wartime service. And we re making sure the VA healthcare and other benefits aren t the victims of shortsighted budget cuts that forget the service of our new veterans, and neglect the sacrifices they continue to make even after they come home. I hope you will continue to support all veterans by sending a gift to the VVA today. Contact Frank Piontek, Dave Martin or Ralph Bakle for details (page 3). Funeral Service for Ricky Mont Brooks Marine Corps League St Joseph Valley Detachment Parry Street, South Bend, Indiana Members of the Marine Corps League & Marine Riders participated in the funeral services and burial for Ricky Brooks, 53, of Mishawaka on Saturday, March 29. Marine veteran Ricky Brooks died February 12, 2014, and his family could not be located. Subsequently the Marine Corps League was contacted and member Dave Rice took up the challenge. He coordinated with Miller s Vets and Hanley & Sons Funeral Home SW Chapel to ensure that our Marine brother received the honorable funeral & Final Salute all Marines deserve. The Military service was conducted by Miller s Vets and attended by large groups from the Vietnam Vets of America 1027, Marine Riders, and the Marine Corps League. The services included singing of the National Anthem and playing of the Marine Hymn by Rich Mullins & a bagpiper from the Kiltie Band. Special thanks to Dave Rice, LCdr Miller, Miller s Vets Honor Guard, Hanley & Sons, St Joseph County & the Sheriff s Dept for their outstanding efforts. 14

15 Our Very Own: Sisters of the Holy Cross, The First Navy Nurses Holy Cross Sisters healthcare ministry began as a response to the need for nurses in the Civil War On October 21, 1861, Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton sent an urgent request for Sisters of the Holy Cross to tend to sick and wounded Civil War soldiers. Although they had no training as nurses, the sisters responded and several sisters departed for Cairo, Illinois, the next day. General Ulysses S. Grant assigned Mother M. Angela Gillespie, superior of Saint Mary s Academy, and six sisters to the military hospital in Paducah, Kentucky. Simon Cameron, President Abraham Lincoln s Secretary of War, asked sisters to take over the nursing at a government hospital in Louisville, Kentucky; others went to hospitals in Mound City, Illinois; Tennessee; Missouri; and Washington, D.C. In her memoirs, Mother M. Augusta Anderson described the Cairo hospital: Many wounded men whose limbs had been amputated were here with little or no care. We pinned up our habits, got brooms and buckets of water (and) washed the bloodstained walls. We were not prepared as nurses, but kind hearts lent willing hands and with God s help, we did much towards alleviating suffering. Sisters onboard the U.S.S. Red Rover The sisters were asked to serve as nurses aboard the U.S.S. Red Rover, the first U.S. Navy hospital ship that traveled the Mississippi River carrying sick and wounded soldiers to various military hospitals. On Christmas Eve of 1862, three Sisters of the Holy Cross boarded the Red Rover, becoming what naval history today hails as the forerunners of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. These sisters also were the Navy s first paid women employees, earning two dollars per day. Sister M. Adela Moran wrote: I never left the boat till the close of the war. We were near Vicksburg when it was taken, could hear the firing, and see the boats running the blockade. Before the war ended, 80 of the 160 Sisters of the Holy Cross in the United States would care for the wounded. Thanks to our Community Leaders for their support of ALL Veterans: Congressman Joe Donnelly Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg Congresswoman Jackie Walorski Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center: Al Gutierrez, CEO & President, and Associates: Sister Laureen Painter, Kurt Meyer, Pam Henderson, Ken Hall, Chris Karam, Deb Versaw, Greg Kozlik, Jack Wilks and Jessica Benko. South Bend Silver Hawks Owner Andrew Berlin Brian Guzicki for his Logistic Abilities Anonymous few: Greg, Maria, Jody - they know who they are. VFW 9820 Post Commander, Philipe 15

16 Vietnam Veterans of America VVA Chapter #1027 St. Joseph County P.O. Box 4 South Bend, IN VVA Chapter #1027 is open to all eligible veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between 2/28/1961 OR in any duty location between 8/5/1964 and 5/7/1975. Regardless of race, creed, sex, extraterrestrial status, et al. VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICAN, CHAPTER 1027 APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP Membership is open to U.S. Armed Forces Veterans who served on active duty (for other than training purposes) in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975, or in any duty location between August 5, 1964 and May 7, Name: Address: City: State: Zip: Home Phone: Work Phone: Include: Copy of DD214 Discharge Document Date of Birth: Payment (Check payable to VVA Chapter #1027) 1 Year Membership...$20 3 Year Membership... $50 (save $10) Life Membership: Age $200 Age $175 Age Over...$150 Age $100 Mail to: Vietnam Veterans of America, VVA Chapter #1027 St. Joseph County P.O. Box 4 South Bend, IN Find us: Facebook HEROES VVA # Important Numbers 1) VVA Internet Access Internet access to information and the scoop on our local Chapter #1027 can be found at How to access our chapter: On the left side, scroll down and click on Locate Your Local VVA Chapter. Then click on IN and find VVA Chapter #1027. Click on that link and you are there. 2) Guide to Gulf War Vets Health: www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/vhigulfwar.pdf 3) Center for Minority Veterans: www1.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans 4) Center for Women Veterans www1.va.gov/womenvet 5) Link to Numerous Popular VA Forms Veteran to Veteran * Knowledge is Power Veterans Helping Veterans thru the VA Maze 6) South Bend VA Outpatient Clinic 5735 S. Ironwood Road South Bend, IN Phone: or Fax: ) Online Memorial 8) Agent Orange: Alphabetized Ships List VA has released a list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships associated with military service in Vietnam and possible exposure to Agent Orange based on military records: va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/ list.asp. 9) Star Spangled Banner Challenge

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