July 2016 Newsletter

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day July 2, 2016 13:04

Next Meeting:  July 25, 2016 at 7:00 P.M.                                                                   Issue: July 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)

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

President:  Don Betz

1st Vice president:  Larry Farmer

2nd Vice President:  K. C. Jones

Treasurer:  Bob Doleman

Secretary:  Michael O’Day

Sergeant at Arms:  Thurmond Bethea

Service Officer:  Tony Musolino

Chaplain:  Abdul Shareef

AVVA Chapter Representative: Mary Skov

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


There was a time when I was angry about the Vietnam War and then there was a period of denial and finally acceptance! Today when our core group of members are out in the community creating awareness about who we are and what we did in the name of our country and raising money for veterans of all of our country’s conflicts it makes me proud to be a veteran! Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 885 is making a difference but we have much work to do! We need to grow our membership in order to expand our mission!
Statewide there is less than 2200 Vietnam Veterans in Chapters; now is the time to reach out and enroll more new members so our voices can be heard across this great state!


Having served in this position for approximately one month I would like to thank the other officers for their support and compliment the Chapter on the way it conducts itself publically and during meetings. That may sound like a hollow compliment, but we are all familiar with organizations whose meetings end up being arguments and fights over trivial things. The bond and the brotherhood shown to everyone in VVA Chapter 885 is to be commended. As I have mentioned there are some exciting events coming up, 1) The Speaker’s Bureau; 2) DC Trip in 2017; 3) the annual fish fry; & 4) the Christmas Party. If you would like to assist with your input and advice drop by and let’s talk about it. I am proud of our Chapter, let’s keep truckin’. God bless


Greetings to VVA 885

Another month is about to come to an end, and we are halfway thru 2016. The weather has been hot, but it is good to enjoy what we can and it is good to be able to endure what we have to.

Warm condolences to Billy Johnson and family on the loss of his Uncle.  Continue to get well shout out to Ferrow Thomas. Missed while in hospital.

At the writing of this VVA Newsletter we sadly acknowledge the loss of another VVA member, Ed McDonough Jr., after a long battle with cancer. By the time you read this letter, his funeral services will have been held and attended by many of us who are members.

I am in the month of our Ramadan Fast which lasts for 30 days, so you probably did not see me at the June Meeting.

Continue to keep the faith and the good balance in life.

“Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another”

Abdul Rahman Shareef


Senators push to advance sweeping veterans bill before July 4

Multiple members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee spent nearly an hour in the late afternoon arguing the full chamber needs to quickly vote on the pending Veterans First Act, a massive veteran’s omnibus authored by committee chairman Johnny Isakson, (R-GA).

The measure contains a host of new accountability rules and a dramatic expansion of caregiver support programs, but has been slowed in recent weeks by unidentified senators. Isakson said he hopes to bring the measure to a full Senate vote in coming days, barring an objection from his colleagues.

The push has taken on new urgency in recent days after VA officials announced they will not enforce fast-track firing rules put in place by Congress in 2014.  That announcement came after the Justice Department raised concerns about constitutionality.

Isakson’s bill has received public criticism outside the Senate, from House members who say its firing authorities aren’t strong enough and from veterans groups who dislike that it calls for cutting GI Bill housing stipends to pay for other program expansions.

But Isakson has said he sees the measure as a work in progress, and is anxious to get some version of the legislation over to the House to begin negotiations on a final omnibus agreement.


Fund Raisers

July 23rd – Harris Teeter, Monkey Junction

July 30 – Piggly Wiggly, Leland

August 13th – Sam’s Club

September 17th – Golf Tournament at Olde Point Golf & CC, Hampstead, NC

September 24th and 25th – Spot Festival, Hampstead, NC

October 15, 16 – Autumn with Topsail, Topsail, NC

November 5th – Sam’s Club


Nov 11th – Veterans Day at the Cemetery, Market St., Wilmington


Congratulations to Debbie Musolino, and for two reasons.  First is that Debbie was recently elected as the AVVA Representative for the state of North Carolina.  Second, Debbie received the George C Duggins Heart and Soul Award at the Region 3 conference in May.

Let’s Talk.

June is PTSD Awareness Month.

So let’s talk about a few things.  This falls under the training I have had with peer support and as a chaplain so this is my experience and not medical or psychological therapy advice

PTSD is the body and mind’s reaction and survival mechanism to extraordinary and/or traumatic events in a person’s life.  It is NORMAL when the life around you is not.  It is much like a bullet wound of other injury to the flesh and while it can heal, the scar and remembrance will always be there. But it takes time, understanding, effort, determination and focus to recover the best we can.  You don’t hear that very often but it is true.  If it were not then the underlying premise of all healing would not exist.  And I do mean healed, not erased.  We never go back to how we were, we establish a new normal.

I am also trained in facilitating group therapy and for Veterans this is the best way by far to work things out.  Alcoholics Anonymous exists and works because of the fact that people with the same wound can have each other’s backs and establish bonds in a way something with a different problem can’t.  And Veterans need other Veterans for a variety of reasons.  A formal, psychologist/psychiatrist led group is not the only option however, peer support programs like AA, coffee groups, Veteran Service Organizations(like the VVA) or a buddy you can call to support you and vice versa when things start to unravel work too.  This is also true for Veteran family members as well.  PTSD and the associated symptoms can be passed on to those close to the Veteran and it is good to be aware of this and the need to reach out to others for help in understanding and support.

PTSD is very much linked to adrenaline addiction in the actual physical changes take place in the brain and body.  http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2013/03/02/how-to-overcome-adrenaline-addiction-tips-from-a-former-addict/  online.  THE reference in book form, https://www.amazon.com/Combat-Psychology-Physiology-Deadly-Conflict-ebook/dp/B008068P8K/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1467049301&sr=1-3&keywords=dave+grossman On Combat by Col(ret) Dave Grossman.  Also Dr. Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger is a deeper explanation of how and why this is can be found in https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002IYE5XO/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 and an explanation of how this came about from THE expert in the field who spearheaded the knowledge by having Vietnam Vets teach him, a VA psychologist, over the course of years, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002IYE5XO/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 & https://www.amazon.com/Odysseus-America-Combat-Trauma-Homecoming-ebook/dp/B003L77X2M/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1467049063&sr=1-2&keywords=achilles+in+vietnam Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America, by Dr.  Jonathon Shay.  All very easy to read and very little psycho babble.

You CAN heal PTSD.  You almost never hear that but it is true.  I’ve done it 3 times now and spoken to others who also have traveled the same road.  The more you heal, the further you go, the better you can help others heal.  You can only help to the point where you, yourself are along the path.  How much you heal it is up to you and the Healer we all know.  Whether you are the original source for the wound or have received it because of proximity to someone wounded, it can be dealt with.  Learn all you can.  Research all the information out there.  Then take the step needed to get help, to help yourself or loved ones to walk the path to coming Home.

Be Well.



Never Mess  With a Ranger

A battalion of marines was on a beach doing a PT workout when the CO of the battalion looked up and saw a lone army ranger standing at attention at the top of the hill.  The CO was curious so he sent a marine up to see what was going on.  As the marine approached, the ranger sprinted into the woods and the marine followed.  Yelling and screaming could be heard coming from the woods, seconds later the ranger stepped out and stood back at attention.  The CO was still curious so he sent a squad up to investigate.  The ranger ran into the woods and after some yelling and screaming came back out and stood at attention again.  Now the CO was angry so he sent an entire platoon up to the top of the hill.  The ranger ran into the woods.  He emerged moments later after some more yelling and screaming with no sign of the marines anywhere.  The CO had had enough, he sent the entire battalion of marines charging up the hill.  The ranger ran into the woods.  More yelling and screaming and this time some gunfire.  Finally a terribly wounded marine crawled out of the woods and reported back to the CO.  The CO inquired “Do you mean to tell me that one army ranger destroyed an entire battalion of marines.”  The marine replied “no sir, it was a trick, there were two of them.”


 Hard to believe but it is July already.  It is a time for hot weather, beach going, barbecues and fireworks; activities that we all can enjoy.  It is also the month that we celebrate our independence on the 4th of July.

While you are having fun doing the above mentioned activities take just a moment to reflect on that independence that we enjoy.  It was hard won and many battles have been waged to keep us free; from Bunker Hill to Belleau Wood, D-Day, Pork Chop Hill, A Shau Valley and the many battles in the Middle East conflicts.  Lots of blood has been spilled over the years to keep us free and our flag waving.  Go ahead and safely enjoy all the festivities of the 4th but please just stop for a moment and reflect on our great history.


Thurmond Bethea            1st

Jack Hannon                      1st

Cliff Rommer                     2nd

David Newberry 3rd

Mike O’Day                        7th

Leonard Rice                     9th

William Stevens                18th

James Marley                    19th

Carlos Irwin                       20th

Kenneth Lowe                   20th

Don Howard                      22nd

James Mercer                    25th

Edward Hess                      30th

William Tesauro 30th

Happy Birthday to all.

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


Proud Grandpa

If it seems like Tiney Corbett is walking around with his chest puffed out just a little more than usual it is with good reason.  His grandson, Lateef Corbett, received a full scholarship to attend UNCW beginning with the fall semester.  Congratulations Lateef and continue the good work with your studies.

June’s Fund Raisers

We had an active month of fund raising in June with: Rims on the River on the 11th; Downtown Sundown concert on the 17th; Blueberry Festival on the 18th; and Lumina Commons on the 25th.

Rims on the river was a beautiful day weather wise and we had a chance to talk with a lot of interesting people as well as see some really cool looking cars.

The concert on the 17th was a disaster as far as the weather goes as a torrential rain earlier in the day resulted in the warmup band not being able to play.  The concert started an hour late and then was interrupted by another storm which chased everyone under cover for about 30 minutes.  The music resumed and the sale of wrist bands (our responsibility) resumed.  We had fun and we heard some good jazz by the group “Southern Comfort.”

The Blueberry Festival was great.  For once we did not cook in blistering temperatures as the weather was in the low 80’s with a breeze all day.  We sold a record number of hats (54), we took in a few dollars and had a lot of interesting conversations with many, many people.

Despite dire warnings of thunderstorms, the weather cooperated and we were able to hold our fund raiser at Harris Teeter, Lumina Commons on the 25th.  Once again we met some interesting people with some interesting stories.

The fund raisers were all at different venues and brought out some very interesting people.  People watching is always fun and very surprising as to who makes donations, buys our goods or just stops to say thank you.  As always we all had a good time with lots of laughs.  If you haven’t been out to one of the fund raisers you should give it a try who knows you might like it but for sure you will have some laughs.

Golf Tournament

Our golf tournament is scheduled for September 17th at Olde Point Golf & CC.  From the feedback that we have had we will have plenty of golfers.  What has to be done now is insure that we attract enough sponsors to make the event a big financial success for us.  If you know of some business or someone who would like to be a sponsor please let Mike O’Day know.  If you have a contact at a favorite restaurant, a store that you frequent or car dealership, etc. don’t be shy, ask them to be a sponsor.

Ban on Confederate Flag Imagery Removed from Spending Bill
The problem of the display of the Confederate battle flag on public land, appeared to have been solved this year after the issue, which halted the fiscal 2016 appropriations process last year had been addressed.  An amendment barring the flag imagery’s display in Veterans Affairs cemeteries was added to the fiscal 2017 Military Construction-VA spending bill last month.

However, during the Military Construction-VA conference to merge the House and Senate versions of the bill (HR 2577), conferees removed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from displaying Confederate flag imagery in VA cemeteries on the two days a year that large Confederate flags can be flown.

The conference report, which moved to the floor on the same vehicle with a Zika response spending bill, was released late at night and voted on by the House around 2:30 a.m. The Senate is expected to vote on the report soon.

Lawmakers Begin Discussion to Reconcile Defense Policy Bill

The Big Four — House and Senate chairmen and ranking members of the armed services committees – met to begin negotiations on a final fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  According to reports, committee leaders discussed potential schedules for future meetings and highlights on various policy differences.

At stake are decisions on a number of quality of life reforms including:

Pay Raise for active duty personnel – The House bill supports a 2.1 percent January raise to match wage growth in the private sector.  The Senate voted to cap the raise, for a fourth consecutive year, at 1.6 percent.

TRICARE Reform: The Senate agrees with the administration plan to increase TRICARE fees for under-age-65 retirees.  Both bills also would require all current TRICARE Standard users to enroll annually to help better manage costs and resources. The House, however, would subject only new entrants to the military on or after Jan. 1, 2018, to higher TRICARE enrollment fees.

Commissary Reform: The Senate approved the same sweeping changes endorsed by the House to modernize commissary operations.  They include a pilot program to replace the cost-plus-five-percent pricing formula with variable pricing across local markets.  Both chambers also endorse allowing the Defense Commissary Agency to offer its own brand products to generate more profits and enhance patron savings, and to convert commissaries to non-appropriated fund activities like exchanges.

Meanwhile, DoD gave Congress a promised report on prospects for making commissaries and exchanges “budget neutral” or self-sustaining.  It concludes that budget neutrality is unattainable without gutting the benefit.  This helped to weakened support for a privatization test.

Neither the House nor Senate has appointed conferees on the defense policy bill, though Senate Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) said he hoped to do that soon in the Senate.

After this week, the Senate has only a few legislative days scheduled before an extended election-year summer break starting July 15.  The House is not scheduled to return to work until July 5, and will start their two-month break the same day.

Chapter 885 Membership

As of May 31st, the most current information that we have, Chapter 885 has a total of 172 members of which 139 are lifetime members.  AVVA membership stands at 28 with 17 lifetime members.  Let us see if we can’t increase those numbers.

Working at the VA Facility

In last month’s Newsletter, a few of our members were singled out for volunteering at the VA clinic.  Unfortunately, one person was omitted from that list – Opel Midgett.  Thank you Opel for giving back to the veteran community.

Presentation to Ken Pike

While not a member of the Chapter, Ken Pike does a lot for the veteran community and the Chapter honored him recently by giving him a plaque.

Special Presentations

There were two special presentations at the monthly Chapter meeting on Monday, June 27.  The first presentation of a plaque was given to Tony Mortillaro in recognition of all his hard work over the years for the Chapter, his most recent task was his installation of shelves in the Chapter’s trailer.  Thank you Tony, it was well deserved.

The other presentation wect to Claude “Mac” McDonald.  This was in belated recognition for his work last year in putting on the 4 day “50th” commemoration of the Vietnam War.  Congratulations Mac and thank you.

State Meeting Proposal

At the VVA State meeting on June 17th, our President, Don Betz, put forth a proposal that no active duty military or veterans and/or their organizations should be required to pay to participate in any parades, festivals etc. in the state of North Carolina.  The proposal was passed unanimously at the meeting and will now be submitted by VVA state to the North Carolina legislators for their consideration.  A copy of the proposal follows.

Apologies for the small print.

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day July 2, 2016 13:04
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V V A Chaper 885

801 Princess Street

Wilmington, NC 248401

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