August 2016 Newsletter

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day August 4, 2016 18:22

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

“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.


At July’s meeting, Monday the 25th, we welcomed “home” two new members to the Chapter!  Curtis Gay and Jim Rich which tells me our members are working hard to locate Vietnam Veterans locally and bring them into the chapter as more members will strengthen our voice in the community and join with other veteran organizations in the fight for services and benefits.  The VVA golf committee is working hard to put on a successful event to extend our visibility in the area. While the event kicks off at 9 a.m. we are working to arrange an official brief military opening ceremony at 8:45 am and we hope our members will turn out to help with special event tables.  At our various fund raisers we have had requests for the use of credit cards and we were able to do that at the event at Harris Teeter near Monkey Junction and at the Piggy Wiggly in Leland.  Our service officers continue to reach out and assist veterans with VA claims and Tony is working on another Town Hall event in the fall. VVA Chapter 885 continues to be active and visible in our community.  We have several fun events planned as part of our mission over the next few months! Let’s continue to build our membership and bring more Vietnam Vets home!


Greetings From the Chaplain

Another month. Good wishes and wellness to all VVA 885 members.  Continue to remember our brothers and sisters in your thoughts and prayers. Think on the great and wonderful things that are important and the great blessings occurring in our lives on a daily basis and in the loved ones we share them with.

“Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.  Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.”

“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another”

Abdul Rahman Shareef

Chaplain VVA 885

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.


Health Information Exchange
The DoD launched its Health Information Exchange Initiative on June 1, 2016.  The new system, allows private physicians and some government organizations to view medical records held by military hospitals or clinics, if they are treating patients with such records.

The program should ease the need to hand-carry military health records or lab results between health care providers participating in the exchange.  Systems participating in the eHealth Exchange include Sentara, Hawaii Pacific Health, HealtheConnections, MedVirginia,  Multicare Health Services, San Diego Health Services, Providence-Swedish Health, CORHIO, INOVA and Texas Health Resources.

The Social Security Administration also has access.  The Department of Veterans Affairs does not, however, because it shares medical records and information with the Pentagon through a different system, called the Joint Legacy Viewer that gives doctors access to the records.

DHA officials say 13 more systems including Duke University, the Alaska e-Health Network and North Carolina Health Information Exchange will join this year.

Narcotics Prescription Bill Headed for Signature
A new law designed to curb opiate and heroin abuse includes tougher prescription guidance for Veterans Affairs medical facilities nationwide.  Sought by the family of Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski, who died of an accidental overdose at the Tomah, Wisconsin, VA Medical Center in 2014, the changes are designed to strengthen VA pain management guidance and training, improve prescription oversight and promote alternative therapies.

Under the bill, the VA must ensure that its prescribers are schooled in the latest practices and that all medical facilities stock overdose countermeasures such as naloxone and establish pain management teams to oversee opioid prescriptions for veterans with non-cancer-related pain.  “The bill recognizes that too often, these drugs have been used inappropriately and ineffectively, and because they are so powerful and so addictive, this inappropriate use is very dangerous,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., a sponsor of the veterans’ provisions.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which passed the Senate by a vote of 92-2 and is expected to be signed by President Obama, authorizes $181 million in new funding for a range of measures designed to fight the national opiate abuse epidemic.


Fund Raisers

August 13th                                        Sam’s Club

September 17th                                Golf Tourney, Olde Point Golf & CC, Hampstead

September 24th                                Car Show at the Battleship

September 24th & 25th                    Spot Festival, Hampstead

October 8th & 9th                              Riverfest

October 15th and 16th                     Autumn at Topsail

November 5th                                   Sam’s Club

November 6th                                   Marathon at the Battleship

Other Events

November 11, 2016                        Veterans Day at the Cemetery on Market St.

Note:  In August, September, and October we have 8 Saturdays with no functions currently scheduled.  We are attempting to setup fundraisers on some of these Saturdays so the above list is subject to change.


Nothing to report this month.


Two stories for you this month.

  1. A new soldier was on sentry duty at the main gate.  His orders were clear; no car was to enter unless it had a special sticker on the windshield. A big Army car came up with a general seated in the back.

The sentry said, “Halt, who goes there?”

The chauffeur, a corporal says, “General Wheeler.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t let you through.  You’ve got to have a sticker on the windshield.”

The general said, “Drive on!”

The sentry said, “Hold it!  You really can’t come through.  I have orders to shoot if you try driving in without a sticker.”

The general repeated, “I’m telling you son, drive on.”

The sentry walked up to the rear window and said.  “General I’m new at this.  Do I shoot you or the driver?”

  1. As a group of soldiers stood in formation at an Army Base, the Drill Sergeant said, “All right! All you idiots fall out.”

As the rest of the squad wandered away, one soldier remained at attention.

The Drill Instructor walked over until he was eye-to-eye with him, and then raised a single eyebrow.  The soldier smiled and said, “Sure was a lot of ‘em, huh, sir.”


Making a Difference

I was struggling with what to write this month when something happened at the Chapter recently that gave me my topic for this month – we make a difference.

Two weeks ago we had a young (compared to us) service person, just recently out of the military come into the office.  This person very obviously had some anger issues which had been fueled considerably by treatment or, better put, lack of treatment at the VA facility.  Mac McDonald offered to take this person to the VA facility in order to get this person squared away medically.  Initially the offer was declined but Mac got a phone call later that day and they met at the VA facility.  Mac was able to walk the service person through the facility, arrange for a doctor and was able to get this person the medication that was needed.  Why was Mac able to do this – he and we have connections at the facility and we are not afraid to use them.  Why did Mac offer to help in the first place – he recognized a fellow veteran in distress and offered help.

The purpose of relaying this story is not to embarrass the service person above or to praise Mac (which he certainly deserves) but to illustrate a point – we, Vietnam Veterans, still make a difference.  If you get a chance to talk to today’s service men and women many of them will thank us for what we went through when we came home and how, later on, the country realized how wrong we were treated and collectively have made it up by treating the current generation of veterans much better.  In that way, we, as a whole, have made a difference and when we individually help out a fellow vet, we make that difference one vet at a time.


Julian Greenwood            1st

Donald McFee                   7th

Dan Tato                            7th

Malcalm Ballard              8th

Donald Nixon                    8th

Eddie Davis                        13th

Peter Martin                      15th

Edward Covan                   19th

William Doran                   21st

David Johnson                   25th

O T Thompson                   25th

Patricia Martin                  25th

Barbara Bartlow               26th

John Mitchell                     26th

William Sidberry                   29th 

Charlie Futrel                     31st

Floyd Palmer                      31st

Happy Birthday to all.

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


Fund raisers

We had two fund raisers in the month of July; Harris Teeter, Monkey Junction (for the first time) on the 23rd and Piggly Wiggly, Leland on the 30th.  Those two Saturdays were sure hot. Despite the heat we had 12 and 14 members show up and share the fun.  Yes, I said fun as we all had a lot of laughs.  Sure we sweated and it would have been more comfortable inside with the air conditioner on but we had fun and raised a few dollars for the Chapter.

As a direct result of the Harris Teeter event we got two new members, one each for VVA and AVVA.  The jury is still out on Piggly Wiggly but we may get as many as 5 new members.  How does this happen you may ask.  As part of what we do at fund raisers we talk to the people who stop by and when someone says they are a vet and especially a Vietnam Veteran who lives locally we schmooze a little more, hand them our business card and an application to join the Chapter.  What we have found in some cases is the veteran is looking for an organization to join and just did not know where to turn to.

Tiney Corbett

Tiney just came back from a leadership conference held last month in Tucson, Arizona and put on by VVA, National.  Tiney attended a number of presentations and concentrated on ones associated with being a Veterans Service Officer (VSO).  While this may have been Tiney’s first time at one of these conferences as most of the other attendees had been to these many times, Tiney realized he was able to hold his own with these more senior service officers.  It seems VSO Tony Musolino is a good teacher.  Speaking of which, Tony’s classes will resume on Tuesday, August 2nd; Tony had been away in Canada, on vacation, for most of the month of July.

If you have the time, stop by and ask Tiney about his experiences at the conference.

Golf Tournament

The tournament is scheduled for next month on the 17th, at Olde Point Golf & CC.  Any sponsorship information must be in by August 15th so we can insure that we can arrange for the proper signage for each sponsor.  If you or someone that you know are planning on playing please get your applications in as soon as possible.  We are limited to 120 golfers and it will be first entered first served; would not want you to miss out on an opportunity to play, have some fun and have a chance at some wonderful prizes.

Important VA Telephone Numbers in NC

The below information comes to us courtesy of American Legion Post 68, Leland and indirectly from Post 543.  Members of Post 543 attended a Congressional Liaison/VSO informational meeting at the Fayetteville Veteran’s Hospital, hosted by Director Elizabeth Goolsby in June 2016. The below information was disseminated by Ms. Goolsby.

For issues regarding veteran travel reimbursement regarding healthcare appointments: Ira Shaw – Travel Office., 910-475-6040 Extension # 6016 for questions regarding eligibility Extension # 6046 for travel reimbursement problems.  Requests for incurred travel reimbursement must be made within 30 days of the appointment.  Evidence that the appointment was attended must be provided.  Be advised that the Travel Office may pay incurred travel expenses if a veteran’s appointment was cancelled by the VA Clinic, where the veteran was not duly notified of the cancellation.

For billing questions regarding copay and pharmacy issues: 866-290-9438.

In order to receive VA reimbursement benefits, a veteran is required to notify the VA within 72 hours of admission into a non-VA hospital Emergency Room, or Urgent Care Center.  That call should go to: 800-771-6106, Extension # 7002.

If a veteran is being harassed by debt collectors related to VA non-payment of billing for Choice or HealthNet, call: 877-881-7618.

For ambulance bills, referrals, emergency care, Choice, etc., where the veteran feels that the VA should cover the cost, contact: Jeff Jarvis – Care in the Community.  Email address is Care in the Community Customer Service Representatives working under the direction of Mr. Jarvis are as follows, by area of service:

Ms. Andrea Roberts- FVAMC for Goldsboro and Hamlet area.  Email address is and the telephone number is 910-488-2120 Ext. 5798.

Mr. Jesse Wrenn – FVAMC for Goldsboro and Hamlet areas. Email address is and the telephone number is 910-488-2120 Ext. 7621.

Mr. Lineal Hyman – Fayetteville, Robeson, and Sanford areas. Email address is and the telephone number is 910-475-6272.

Ms. Arianna Rodriquez – Fayetteville, Robeson, and Sanford areas. Email address is and the telephone number is 910-475-6271.

Ms. Tanya Valdez – Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Brunswick areas.  Email address is and the telephone number is 910-488-2120 Ext. 5863.

Ms. Viola Saunders – Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Brunswick areas. Email address is  and the telephone number is 910-488-2120 Ext. 5882.

COLA Increase Passed

Disabled veterans are eligible to receive an increase in benefits next year thanks to a bill by congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., that became law last month.  President Obama signed Dr. Abraham’s HR 5588, the Veterans’ Compensation Cola Act of 2016, on Friday, July 22, 2016.  The new law directs the VA to increase, as of December 1, 2016, the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, and the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses.  The amount of the increase will be equivalent to the increase provided under Title II of the Social Security Act.  The precise amount of the adjustment will not be known until the end of the calendar year 2016.

Before everyone gets their hope up that this is something new for us, it is just a formality as this law or something similar gets passed every year.  It’s kind of silly when you think about it, why don’t they pass one law stating VA COLA is permanently tied to Social Security’s Cola?  Speaking of the Social Security COLA increase, it does not look like there will be one in 2017 based on current economic conditions.  An exercise in futility?

Chapter 885 Membership

As of June 30th, the Chapter has 172 members of which 142 are life members.  Since then we have had at least two new members joins us.


Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day August 4, 2016 18:22
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V V A Chaper 885

801 Princess Street

Wilmington, NC 248401

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