Vietnam Veterans of America

Chapter 267

Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at 3001 Telegraph Rd. in Dearborn, MI 48124

Message from The President

 

From the Chapter 267 newsletter, Listen Up, Fall 2018

From the President:

 

No, I am not the president of our country, just president of our chapter. Of that much, I am sure.

I also know that I was “out of it” for a few months but there was no malingering!  I made four trips to the hospital had two operations and I am back in the saddle, as they say.

And I appreciate being back. Thanks to Dave Kline the first vice president and all who contributed to good meetings but short ones as I was told.

Also, thanks to Roy Flores and Rich Amenson, two of our past presidents, for assisting and keeping Dave in line, which is what past presidents are supposed to do, and supporting the Chapter as needed as well as assisting me and keeping me on my toes

I would like to thank all those who took time out to visit me in the VA John Dingell Center when I was there, and those who came to Henry Ford Main. If I didn’t remember everyone who visited me, it might have been the drugs I was, on but I do remember most.

I can say with honesty that I was afraid to go to the VA for all the issues because I didn’t know if I would come out as I went in. A medical emergency led me to Henry Ford Fairlane initially and I was glad to have been there because I was told that a delay of a couple of more days might have been fatal.  The second round came when I thought I had a heart attack but despite the symptoms, I’d did not have one. The nurse in the McNamara Building would not treat me because, according to her knowledge, I didn’t work for the VA.  Later, I approached the GSA office and inquired as to whether they treat within the building and was told that anyone who works in the building gets care.  I suggested that they share that information with the entire staff.

The third trip was back to Henry Ford Main for a cleanout procedure and was all prepped for surgery but they told me (after a week) if I “can keep breakfast down you can go home.”  I kept it down and was discharged. Little did anybody know, however, that I still had an obstructed bowel.

Prior to the fourth trip I was sitting in my office, got weak and nauseated, and said quote: “Self, you need to go to the VA and get this ship taken care of.”   Off I went, weak as hell, made it to my car and drove to the VA Detroit emergency room.  It took two hours to see me because of all of the sniffles cases or summer flu or something but I finally got examined.  I was told as I had been before by another doctor that I had an obstructed bowel.  Hmmmm.  Henry Ford already knew that.

Some x-rays and four CAT scans later, I was admitted to a room awaiting surgery.  I had a hose up my nose and they cleaned me out again.  Surgery took place and they asked me the same question as they did at Henry Ford Main when I had the initial surgery to take my gallbladder out which was infected.  I responded, “Take care of me, I'm not ready to go quite yet.  I have things to accomplish and watch my grandson grow up.”  My children are already grown.

The obstructed bowel surgery went well and the mass over the blockage was sent out and came back good.  However, other things were seen such as small bowel carcinoma.  So, now it’s chemo every two weeks and not drinking any alcohol until it’s over: 12 sessions which equates to six months. If that goes well and I hope it does, then I can have that beer or Jack Daniels or Honey Jack.

I am glad to be back and involved with the greatest people I know, veterans and their families. I even went to church and surprised Bonnie, and Chuck and Al and their wives. I even surprised myself.  I wanted to thank all those who prayed for me and continue to do so.

Phil Smith

 

SERVICE PROGRAM

The Service Program downtown is running pretty well, we continue to scan the office files, or get rid of those that were revoked by another VSO Organization, or were those of the deceased or obtained by an attorney.  Those are then scanned into an external hard-drive and will eventually go to the National Headquarters in case of situations.

The VA makes not decisions not just in Michigan but the claim submitted could be decided on in another State, that is now how this decision making is made up, and in some cases the decision is not correct, and therefore has to be reviewed and challenged.  Now, if that is the case in your case and you do not feel is it correct, or the Compensation and Pension Examiner did not do some justice or you could not understand the examiner, then that could be challenged - a lot of times it is.

If the VA Medical Center is backed up on examiners to review cases, then you will be sent outside of the medical center and have an examination and wait for the decision.  The State Council has meetings every two months, so you do not get a report on a monthly basis.  The State Council has a website, VVAMISC.org.  View it, it’s still being updated.  

At the last National Leadership Conference, the two Committees formed (1) To continue on and rename the organization to Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation allowing another organization to jump in there and carry on the name, or (2) To close the organization when the last man/woman is left, and turn out the lights. However, the AVVA will remain but they are reviewing how to conduct business if the latter occurs.  This decision either way will be left up to those delegates attending the National Convention in 2019.  Remember we are only allowed so many delegates from the Chapter to attend, and only those can vote.  That does not mean you cannot attend, it just means you can’t vote if you’re not a delegate.

The next Convention will be in Washington state, not Washington, DC. Talking about delegates, we need to do some fundraising to support their attendance.  We have four licenses we can obtain from the State, and do a raffle for each one. Not all at once. This is to build other funds as well. This will be placed as a line item in our books and will only be used for that line item.  But we need a Fund- Raising Committee.

Other Items

The Chapter website has been updated.  It is now a robust source of all kinds of information for veterans and not just pictures.  Francis Lieder, our Secretary has volunteered to get and keep the website relevant.  Go to vvachapter267.org to do everything from learning about PTSD to donating to the Chapter or applying FOR a donation from Huard.

Rebecca Gibbens from the AVVA is the Liaison, not the President, she is a Liaison to the Chapter for both State Council and National. The AVVA in the Chapter is not ready to become a Chapter by itself at this point. It can be, as we have enough members to be a Chapter, but at this time, unless those in AVVA want a Chapter, then they will pursue it.  Rebecca (Becky) will let us know what occurs.

Golf Outing - As was expressed earlier, the Annual Golf Outing is over, we did not do as well as expected in the past, and so we need someone to step up to the plate and oversee it, and we need a committee to plan and run it.  Not just two people.  That goes with any fundraising we do; MORE help is needed.

Any questions, please feel free to contact me at Phil Smith, marret94@aol.com.

Phil Smith, President

 

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