Entries for April, 2015

Minutes of Meeting April 7, 2015

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter#165

General Meeting

7 April 2015


Meeting called to order at 6:50pm

Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence for our POW/MIAs

Guests: John Loomis

New Members: Ross Gilchrist and Monte Jones

Roll call of officers and board of directors:


Gene Goldsmith, President                             Present

Ken Richardson, Vice President                      Present

Bill Cox, Secretary                                          Excused

Tom Modica, Treasurer                                  Present

Richard Martinez                                            Present

Randy Elmore                                                 Present

Tom Darling                                                    Excused

Jim Pace                                                          Present

John Bradshaw                                                Excused

Greg Bremer                                                   Present


Secretary’s report: Minutes from previous meeting approved

Treasurer’s report: Tom Modica gave details for March 2015

General fund checking starting balance:$4342.55

Income: $2553.44

Expenses: $434.42

Closing checking balance: $5854.14

Scholarship fund closing balance: $34,464.90

Scholarship checking starting and ending balance: $570.29

See attached report for more detail

In March, Jim and Margie Rickenbacker made a generous donation to the chapter of $2400. They have also been very generous to us in the past, so this is nothing out of the ordinary for them.

Moved and seconded to accept Treasurer’s report. Vote unanimous.


Membership report: Jim Pace stated that we have 212 members. When the new roster comes in we will have a complete accounting. New applications have been sent in to national but are not fully processed yet. Very soon we will be one of the top 30 chapters in the nation in membership.


Old business

Children of Vietnam: Richard Brummett, committee chair and our point person with the program is currently in Vietnam and will be returning shortly. We will get a full report when he is back. He did sent us photos of the students we are educating.

We are authorized eight delegates for state council. There will be a pre-state council meeting of chapter delegates on Tuesday, May 21, 7pm at VFW post 1585 in the basement. This was proposed by Ken Richardson and seconded by Dave Loomis. Vote was unanimous.

Our car show will be July 19 in the Kmart parking lot, same as last year. The chapter is a volunteer organization so we will need lots of help. Take the car show flyers and place them on any vehicles that look to you like they belong in our show. Also take VVA applications to have on hand for potential new members since Vietnam vets seem to be into cars and do attend the show. Also we need to line up raffle prizes and trophies, so ask around. We want to try to get sponsors from outside of the chapter. Stanley Door and Randy the Window Cleaner will each sponsor a $100 trophy. Ed Simmers has finished the CD for the show. It is taken from a second hour of an Armed Forces Vietnam radio show.


Memorial Day program and picnic at Hovander Park will include a dedication of the new flagpole and monument there and also the 50th Anniversary of the ending of the war. We have no speaker yet, but possibly Ken Richardson.

The National VVA convention will be in Springfield, Illinois, July 21-25. A CD will be used as a fund raiser to help send our delegates. Jim Pace asked the chapter for financial support of up to $500 per delegate for up to four delegates for those that require the assistance. Ken Richardson moved and Bill Bowen seconded, motion carried.

Election of officers was conducted by Nominating Committee chairman Randy Turnbull. The results are as follows:

President                     Gene Goldsmith

Vice President             Dave Loomis

Secretary                     Bill Cox and assistant Tom Grinstad

Treasurer                    Ken Richardson and assistant Dave Scattum

Board of  Director       Tom Modica

Nominating Comm.    Randy Turnbull

Following the election, new officers took the oath of office. Tom Modica will be removed as a check signer on our accounts and be replaced by the new Treasurer Richardson and his assistant Dave Scattum. President Gene Goldsmith will continue to be a signatory on our accounts. These changes should be done as soon as everyone can gather and meet at our bank.

The book “The American Experience in Vietnam; Reflections of an Era” by Boston Publishing Co. is being made available to the chapter. The book is normally $40, but to VVA chapters the price is $20 with free shipping if we buy in some volume. We elected to purchase 30 to 40 copies and to provide one to Jim and Margie Rickenbacker in consideration of their generosity to us. Randy Elmore moved and Ken Richardson seconded, motion carried. Boston Publishing Co. are the same people who did the “Wall” book that the chapter purchased several years ago.

The chapter’s MIA member, Rainer Ramos, a helicopter pilot from Blaine,  remains were returned last year and identified in January. His last living relative, mother Maria, passed away in 2010. Rainer will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery. Chapter member Tom Modica, who has been a faithful friend to this MIA, will attend his burial.


New Business

VFW will host a double pig roast, a luau if you will, Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 4-6:30pm . VFW members and school children are free, everyone else $8.00. A good deal. There will be no VVA snack night on Friday, April 10, to make room for pigs.

Military Appreciation Day will be held at the Puyallup Fair Grounds at the Spring Fair, Friday, April 17th.

Chapter#165 is now 30 years old. We received a letter from national President John Rowan congratulating us. Ooo-rah! to us for that and our grey hair!


Good of the Order

American Legion Post 7 is hosting gathering to honor Korean War veteran. On May 30th from noon to 4pm. These vets will be presented with the “Ambassador of Freedom Medal” by the Republic of Korea done by their Consul General from Seattle, who will be here in town. If you are or know a Korean veteran please call Al Jensen (Project Coordinator) at 360-384-5419 to sign up your vet or get more details. Free lunch is included! Jim Pace and the Veterans Service Office will helping to locate KWV. Post 7 hopes to have 100 vets honored

Check your VFW calendar for events

VFW Post 9301 in Lynden hosts a breakfast on the 3rd Saturday of each month, 8am to 11

Disabled American Veterans needs more drivers for the van that takes vets to their medical appointments. If you can help call Gene Goldsmith at 360-384-2484


Next meeting will be 5 May, 2015. Dinner will be begin at 6pm, the meeting will start at 7.

It was moved and seconded to adjourn. Meeting ended at 8:05pm.

Minutes of Meeting March 3, 2015

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter#165

General Meeting

3 March 2015


Meeting called to order at 6:45pm

Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence for POW/MIAs

Guests: Bill Goodpasture and John P. Sloan Sr.

New Member: Robert Hendriksen

Roll call of officers and board of directors:


Gene Goldsmith, President                                 Present

Ken Richardson, Vice President                         Present

Bill Cox, Secretary                                                  Excused

Tom Modica, Treasurer                                        Present

Richard Martinez                                                   Present

Randy Elmore                                                          Present

Tom Darling                                                             Present

Jim Pace                                                                    Present

John Bradshaw                                                      Excused

Greg Bremer                                                            Present


Secretary’s report: Minutes from previous meeting approved.

Treasurer’s report: Tom Modica gave details for February 2015

General fund checking starting $4747.68

General fund income   $2833.00

General fund expenses   $405.13

Closing balance   $4342.55

Scholarship Fund   $32,120.95

Scholarship checking: starting and closing $570.29

See attached report for complete more detail.

Moved and seconded to accept Treasurer’s report.

President Goldsmith received a call from Liz Harmon-Craig, director of the Veterans Assistance Fund, regarding laid off veteran Joe Stephens who is a father of a teenage daughter and also has a foster daughter. Joe does not quite meet the parameters for the fund but none the less needs help. Goldsmith interviewed Joe, looked at his budget and agrees he just needs a little over the hump assistance. Since the chapter trusts Liz’s judgment and Gene’s assessment, it was moved by Ken Richardson and seconded Bill Bowen that we provide $250 to match DAV#19’s $250 grant for a total of $500.


Membership report: Jim Pace reported that we currently have 177 members with another eight who have sent in applications for a total of 185. Letters have been sent to VVA members who are “at large” or have come to the veteran’s service office and are eligible to join. These letters simply tell prospective members that a local chapter of VVA exists, when and where we meet and they are welcome to join. This awareness has resulted in several vets joining our ranks. That level of membership entitles the chapter to seven delegates.


Old business: The bottle went well. $2248 was raised for the general fund.

Randy Turnbull reported that the chapter has an election coming on the           Tuesday, April 7th, our next general meeting. There is a board of director spot open and the chapter is in need of a treasurer, nominating committee chair and a secretary. And while we have a faithful president and vice-president, they have been long serving and all positions ought to be contended for. Bear in mind, we really need a treasurer.


Children of Vietnam is an education project that the chapter supports, providing tuition, books, writing materials, tutoring, a desk and a bicycle if necessary out of our scholarship fund. Member and former New York Times photographer, Richard Brummett returns to Vietnam yearly to work with this non-profit. He gave us an update and is leaving March 15 for this years’ trip.

He has introduced what he calls the American Chocolate Ceremony to the village he visits, a fun, made up event, where he is known as Uncle Richard. He takes a 5 pound block of fine dark Belgium chocolate packed in dry ice, provided by Chocolate Necessities here in Bellingham. Then the oldest villager uses the American Chocolate Hatchet, which is left in the villages’ care each year, to chop up the treat for, at this point, forty-two children. It is a real event, looked forward to each year. This year he is also bringing chocolate ice cream from Saigon, also packed in dry ice. These villagers have never seen nor tasted it.


The old DAV van, which has our chapter name on it and we helped purchase has been donated to Growing Veterans for use in their operation. DAV recently purchased a new van, again with our assistance. There is a story about the new one in the Bellingham Herald supplement.


The Randy Hansen Scholarships of $500 each,will be awarded to the recipients at the our Hovander Park Memorial Day event, Monday, May 25, 2015, 4pm. A main speaker is needed.

Our annual Vietnam Veterans Car Show will be July 19.


The VVA national convention will be July 21-25 in Springfield, Illinois.


New Business: Boston Publishing, makers of the “The Wall” book have produced  a new publication, with new material, entitled “The American Experience in Vietnam”. The price is $44 but if the chapter makes a bulk purchase, the price will be $22.


Good of the order: Don’t forget the Lynden VFW breakfast on the first Saturday of each month from 7am to11.


VVA snack night will be March 13 hear at the post at 6pm. It will have an Irish theme for St. Paddy’s Day. Corn beef and cabbage is the meal.

The VVA WASC  via Curtis Thompson (member of VVA Chapter #102 in Seattle) presented a bill to State Council Treasurer Bowen for reimbursement of approximately $228 for pins. Part of that request was for reimbursement on pins for our Chapter to those members who participated in the Town Hall meeting on “Faces of Agent Orange” (back in Sept.).  Chapter President Goldsmith had on prior communication told Thompson there was no need to extend that offer to our Chapter but would rather see funds spent towards helping our Vets. Thompson apparently countered that our President may not have represented other members of the Chapter to speak for them on this matter.  When discussion was brought up, Chapter membership present unanimously agreed with President Goldsmith’s position and questioned the expenditure altogether by WASC . Bowen was to communicate same back to Thompson.

Next meeting will be Tuesday, 7 April, 2015 at 7pm. Dinner will be served at 6pm.