February 2016 Newsletter

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 25, 2016 22:48

Next Meeting: February 22, 2016 at 7:00 P.M.                                                                   Issue: February 2016

Published Monthly – Distributed to all members of VVA and AVVA

Chapter 885*

801 Princess Street

Wilmington, North Carolina

Tel: 910-762-4288

Editor: Mike O’Day (email: mod199th@yahoo.com)

Publisher: Mack Mitchell

“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

President: Mack Mitchell

1st Vice president: Tony Mortillaro

2nd Vice President: Charlie Garner Jr.

Treasurer: Bob Doleman

Secretary: Michael O’Day

Sergeant at Arms: John Mitchell

Service Officer: Tony Musolino

Chaplain: Abdul Shareef

AVVA Chapter Representative: Deborah Musolino

               *Chapter 885 is a member of the New Hanover County Veterans Council.



To those of you that braved the cold weather to join us in the Martin Luther King Day Parade – thank you for your participation and thank you for supporting the Chapter. While it was a cold day it was also good to see the support of the people, of all colors, lining the streets who gave cheers and yelled thanks for our service as our vehicles rolled by.

In December 2015, we acquired additional space in our building. We have spent some time and energy in moving furniture and offices around. If you have not had the opportunity to stop by the Chapter recently please stop by and take a peek.


The first month of 2016 is over. Eleven more to be the best we can be.


Goodwill, friendship, bonding, meeting attendance, fundraiser outings, and elections, just to name a few. Let’s all give some and take our Chapter to the next level of excellence and perfection.


If you know of a death or illness of a chapter member or their family, please notify our Chaplain, Abdul Shareef, and/or the office so that we may provide support to the family and get the information to Chapter members in a timely manner.



I am looking for volunteers to assist me as Veteran Service Officers. I will conduct a series of training sessions and will help you to get certified by the VA. If you are interested in helping out please see either me or Tiney.

VA Announces Same Sex Benefits

A new guidance policy issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ensures that all married veteran couples will be recognized as equally entitled in seeking benefits.


The VA now recognizes all same-sex marriages without regard to a Veteran’s state of residence. The VA has also announced it will be updating all official forms to replace references to “husband” or “wife” with “spouse” only.


As a result of the VA announcement, Lambda Legal and the American Military Partner Association announced that they are concluding litigation against the VA following the VA’s changes to its policies on benefits ending the discrimination against veterans and their same-sex spouses. The new policies are consistent with the June 2015 US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell that struck down the marriage discrimination.


Those with questions or concerns about discrimination or denial of a protection to which they are entitled should contact Lambda Legal’s Help Desk at 1-866-542-8336.


Wallet Size Discharge Certificates

This is a miniature version of your Military Discharge Certificate. You can carry it in your wallet and show family, friends, employers, schools, Veterans, etc. It is finished on high quality plastic with HolyKote to ensure it is free from copying and remains in its best possible condition for a long time. Size of the Discharge Certificate is 30 mil thickness (standard credit card size); 3.375” x 2.125.” For additional card security, the Discharge Certificate gives you a secure HoloKote watermark across the surface of each card. The watermark works to prevent tampering and counterfeiting. The watermark is highlighted as a high visibility security seal for your security and protection. The cost is $9.95. You may fax document proof of your Certificate to 713-510-1965.


VA Health Care for Combat Vets

Certain combat veterans who served after Nov. 11, 1998, but separated from service before Jan. 28, 2008, have until January 27, 2011* to take advantage of their enhanced health care enrollment opportunity through the VA. Veterans can apply for enrollment by contacting the VA at 877-222-VETS (8387) or with the help of a VA health care eligibility specialist at any VA medical center.


*In actuality there is no deadline on this.


Upstart Initiative to Expedite Disability Claims

The Social Security Administration has unveiled a new initiative to expedite disability claims by Veterans with a VA disability compensation rating of 100% Permanent and Total (P&T). Under the new process, Social Security will treat these Veteran’s applications as high priority and issue expedited decisions, similar to the way the Agency currently handles disability claims from Wounded Warriors. In order to receive the expedited service, Veterans must tell Social Security they have a VA disability compensation rating of 100%, P&T, and show proof of their disability rating with their VA Notification Letter. Social Security plans to launch the expedited process in March 2016.





March 12, 2016 – St. Patrick’s Day Parade

April 9, 2016 – Azalea Festival Parade



April 9, &10, 2016 – Azalea Festival

May 20, 2016 – Rims on the River

June 18, 2016 – Blueberry Festival





Minority Affairs

April 2, 2016 – Juneteenth presents Fun in the Sun – Family Affair at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater located at 1941 Amphitheatre Dr., Wilmington, NC 28401. Cost is $25. For more information call:     910-612-0983, 910-617-0649, 910-880-9414.

June 18, 2016 – Juneteenth Festival. Juneteenth commemorates the Emancipation Proclamation and the reunification of families



The below information is provided by Debbie Musolino.

What exactly is the AVVA?

This is a question I am often asked.  The AVVA is the Associates of the Vietnam Veterans of America.  “A group of people who are dedicated to advancing the work of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc.  (VVA) through cooperative projects and/or programs, to facilitate, enhance and improve communication with our members and the general public and to continue legislative efforts to ensure the rights of, and benefits for, all veterans and their families.  AVVA is dedicated to the aggressive advancement of realistic goals with integrity and the spirit of unity that reflect its commitment to Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., all veterans, their families and communities.”

In other words, we support our Chapter and its members as well as the veteran community at-large.  We do this in a variety of ways.

Who is membership open to?
“Any person who holds true the purposes of AVVA regardless of their age, race or creed may apply for membership.  Persons who qualify for membership in the VVA are accepted as non-voting members.”  Members may be less than 18 years of age, but are not eligible to vote.

There is a common misconception that the AVVA is made up of only the spouses of VVA members.  Our Chapter is a mix of younger veterans (Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan), spouses of members, community leaders both in the veteran community and just people wanting to show their support for veterans and our great country.

There are two types of AVVA membership.

  • Regular voting members can hold office.
  • Dual members, members who meet the requirements for VVA membership but have chosen to join the AVVA may not vote or hold office within the AVVA.
  • A member must be 18 years of age to vote in Chapter elections.
  • There is no requirement that an AVVA member be related to a veteran or active duty military person.

*The above information was taken directly from the AVVA National Office’s website.  Copyright 2014-2015


Stating the Obvious

A Platoon Sergeant and his Platoon Leader are bunking down in the field for the night. The Platoon Sergeant looks up and says, “When you see all the stars in the sky, what do you think, sir?”

The LT replies, “Well, I think of how insignificant we really are in the universe; how small a piece of such a grand design. I can’t help but wonder if what we do truly means anything or makes any difference. Why? What do you think of, Sergeant?”

“I think somebody stole the damn tent.”


Get out the Vote

The VVA is not a political organization, both at the national and local chapter levels, and we do not express political opinions. However, we do have a responsibility as citizens to get out and vote. You all risked your lives defending this great country of ours so make sure that you do something about seeing how it is run. If you are not registered to vote make sure you do so – it does not matter what party you subscribe to just make sure that your voice is heard. March 15, 2016 is primary day in North Carolina, get out and vote.



It has been brought to my attention that there are a number of people out there who have the misconception that officers and/or board members of the Chapter receive some form of monetary compensation. Nothing can be further from the truth; all positions are on a strictly voluntary basis. The hours put in by all individuals are our time to give and frequently it goes beyond the official office hours of 9 AM to 1 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Happy Birthday to all.

Johnny Johnson                               2nd                         William Gibbs                    4th

Robert Wilson                                  4th                         Jerry Highsmith                 4th

Richard Walker                                5th                         Gerald Eckstein                 9th

James Robinson                               15th                       Rossie Nance                     19th

David Miller                                      20th                       William Hamilton              20th

Rich Hosier                                        24th                       John Peele                          26th

George Bradley                                27th                       Paul Williams                     28th


If you do not see your birthday mentioned here please get in touch with the Chapter Secretary, Mike O’Day.



Chapter Elections

The Chapter elections for 2016’s slate of officers will be held in April, it is not too early to start thinking about taking a more active role in the running of the Chapter. Some of our officers are stepping down this year: Mack Mitchell, Tony Mortillaro and Charlie Garner; and others will be up for re-election. It is easy to sit back and criticize about what is going on in the Chapter, here is your opportunity to make sure your voice is heard and to help steer the ship.



The Chapter has purchased a used enclosed trailer in great condition. The trailer has the VVA logo on it. The trailer will be used to haul all of our merchandise and equipment to our various fund raisers. It will also allow us to store the merchandise and equipment in the trailer thereby eliminating the need to haul everything in and out of the office each time we have a fund raiser.


Lifetime Membership Fees

The sale on lifetime memberships, at the end of last year, was not a one shot deal. VVA National has made it permanent, lifetime memberships are now $100.


Facebook Page

The Chapter has a new Facebook page. To follow us on Facebook go to VVA Chapter 885, hit like and continue to check in to see what is going on at the Chapter. The Facebook page is linked to the website as well as the website being linked to Facebook.



The Chapter has purchased a grill for our future use. The grill is the same one that was used for the cook-out, in April, as part of the 50th anniversary commemorating the start of the Vietnam War and was also used for the May cook-out for the nurses at the VA facility. The grill will also be available for rental by individuals or groups at a cost of $55 per day or $75 for two days. Please contact the office (910-762-4288) for availability.



According to a January 4 Health.mil posting by TRICARE staff, military pharmacies and TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery will remain the lowest cost pharmacy option for TRICARE beneficiaries when some TRICARE pharmacy copays change in 2016. On Feb 1, 2016, most copays for prescription drugs at Home Delivery and retail network pharmacies will increase slightly. The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires TRICARE to change its prescription copays. All drugs at military pharmacies and generic drugs through Home Delivery are still available at no cost to beneficiaries. Copays for brand-name drugs through Home Delivery increase from $16 to $20, for up to a 90-day supply. At retail pharmacies, generic drug copays go from $8 to $10, and brand name drug copays go from $20 to $24, for up to a 30-day supply. Copays for non-formulary drugs and for drugs at non-network pharmacies will also change.

Beneficiaries can save up to $208 in 2016 for each brand name prescription drug they switch from retail pharmacy to Home Delivery. Home Delivery offers safe and convenient delivery of your prescription drugs right to your mailbox. To see the new TRICARE pharmacy copays, learn more about the TRICARE Pharmacy benefit, or move your prescription to Home Delivery, visit www.tricare.mil/pharmacy.

Concealed Carry Permits

According to the Virginia Attorney General (who has the owner to null reciprocal deals with other states), concealed carry permits from 25 states are revoked and will no longer be recognized in Virginia. Essentially concealed carry reciprocity agreements are being severed with states deemed to have “weaker” concealed carry requirements as compared to Virginia. The affected states are:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Virginia’s action becomes effective February 1, 2016 – therefore before you travel to the State of Virginia make sure you leave your concealed (or any) weapon home.

Veterans Discount Program

Tammy Beasley, the New Hanover County (NHC) Register of Deeds, recently announced her office is launching a new Veterans Discount Program and needs local businesses to help.

The registrar for NHC said they will be giving veterans who have recorded their DD 214 (original or certified copy) in NHC a “Thank you for your service” photo ID card. The card will allow veterans to get discounts at participating businesses in NHC. “They will be able to go into a business and show them the card and the business will recognize it right away and give them their discount,” said Beasley. She said the goal is to make it simple and easy for veterans to get the discounts they deserve.

The new program is intended to both honor veterans and encourage them to record their DD 214 (discharge papers) in New Hanover County. Veterans won’t be able to get the discount card until their DD 214 is recorded in New Hanover County. If they have lost it, the Register of Deeds office will work with Veterans Services to help them find the documentation and record it. If they already recorded their DD 214, they will be able to come in and get their photo ID made.

Once the DD 214 is recorded, Beasley said no one except for immediate family will be able to look at it for 80 years. It has important information, including a veteran’s social security number, branch and how many years they served. “History for New Hanover County is here. Birth, marriage, death, the military and so much more,” Beasley explained. “Two hundred years down the line, if you want to search your family, you will be able to come and search and find out where they served our country.”

Participating businesses will be given a sign they can display if they want. The participating businesses will also be listed on the Register of Deeds website, and a list will be given to all veterans who come into the Register of Deeds office to get their photo ID made.

On the website businesses will be able to sign up themselves. Anyone encountering difficulties with the website and who wishes to participate should call Tammy Beasley, Registrar, at 910-798-7736 or email her at tbeasley@nhcgov.com.

Veterans were able to start using the cards on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015.

www.veterans.newhanoverdeeds.com is the source of info for the participating businesses in the New Hanover County veterans ID program.


Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 25, 2016 22:48
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