VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227
VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227
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VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227

VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227
VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227 VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227
POW/MIA Remembrance Chair at Nationals Baseball Park

An honor chair for prisoners of war and those missing in action was dedicated on Friday, Sept. 18,...
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VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227
 
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2020 in review

CHAPTER 227 SHOWS ITS GRIT IN 2020!

To say that 2020 was a most challenging year for VVA Chapter 227 would be a world-class understatement! When the pandemic hit in full force in March, the chapter had to to end general membership and board meetings at our restaurant venue and conduct these meetings on Zoom. Although we had some initial technical hiccups, we didn’t miss a beat in carrying out our principal mission of helping veterans, service members, and their families in Northern Virginia. Despite the challenges in recruiting new members in such an environment, we were able to increase our membership from 324 to 329 members by year’s end, maintaining our status as Virginia’s largest chapter and the nation’s 22nd largest overall. We continue to use traditional, digital, and social media to spread the word about our charitable activities and recruit new members. Special shout-outs go to: Len Ignatowski, our Vice-President, who somehow gets our activities well-covered in the local media; to Chuck Harris, our Treasurer, who keeps meticulous financial records; and to Bill Lynch, our membership chairman, who does a great job tracking our members and briefing new members when they join us.

The following accomplishments are examples of the chapter’s broad outreach to veterans, military personnel, and the community.
• Thanks to donations, our primary source of revenue, we were able to provide some $25,000 to needy veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families. This aid took the form of helping individuals with payments for their rent/mortgage, utilities, car, etc. It helped families in the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program for back to school and the December holiday season—some 57 veterans and family members. It also provided help to two Wounded Warrior families, care packages for over 300 troops, and holiday toys and clothing to veterans’ children. Again, we owe a great deal of gratitude to our two most generous donors—Volko Ruhnke and Kathy Ausley—for making most of this aid possible.
• This year, we were able to help various organizations, who, like ourselves, reach out to assist needy vets and their families. We provided $1000 each to our brother VVA chapters in Louisiana and Puerto Rico in hurricane relief for their members and families. We donated $1100 to Capital Caring Health to help provide prescription meals to home-bound veterans, $1000 to the Veterans’ Fishing Adventure program in Lorton, a therapeutic program for mostly disabled veterans of all wars, and $130 and kitchen supplies to the Lamb Center, which helps homeless veterans. Also, our national VVA organization, which represents us on Capitol Hill for veterans’ causes, had to make significant cutbacks because of the pandemic; our chapter decided to donate $3000 to it so it could weather the storm.
• To plug into the many organizations helping veterans, Chuck Harris and I participate in three regional veterans’ collaboratives—Chuck in Loudoun County and myself in Fairfax and Arlington Counties. Also, in September, Bruce Waxman, my predecessor as chapter president, was sworn in as a Trustee for Virginia’s Veterans Service Foundation, an independent agency that addresses veteran needs not covered by state or federal programs. It is quite an honor for Bruce (and the chapter) to be recognized in this way!
• This year, several of our chapter members continued to serve as mentors in the Fairfax Veterans Treatment Docket, which helps rehabilitate many veterans suffering from addiction and substance abuse issues. In fact, two chapter members—Tom Davis and Don Sutherland—serve as head and deputy respectively of the mentor team.
• Our membership meeting speakers, even in a virtual format, provided exceptional insights on veterans’ issues (e.g. homelessness, the DOD POW/MIA program, and hospice care) and on their wartime experiences (e.g. several Vietnam veterans in difficult combat areas and a Foreign Service officer, who worked with the legendary John Paul Vann).

We all look forward to the return of some semblance of normalcy in 2021. But whatever awaits us in the new year, we have proved in 2020 that our chapter remains a dynamic and responsive organization dedicated to helping our fellow veterans!

VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227

VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227
VVA Dean K Phillips Memorial Chapter 227

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