February 2017 Newsletter

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 8, 2017 17:53

Next Meeting:  Monday February 27  at 7:00 P.M.                                                            Issue: February  2017

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: James Bryant

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


Chapter 885 led off the New Year by once again participating in the Martin Luther King Holiday Parade and our members where illustrated on the front page of the Star News in their green shirts and broad smiles! Now I call that “visibility” big time! Who are those guys in the green shirts people ask?  Vietnam Veterans raising awareness for all veterans that’s who we are. Furthermore, there was a photo of the chapter with some of the Toys for Tots that the Chapter raised in December.

As we venture into another year of veteran activities, ideas are being proposed concerning street banners of Wilmington’s veterans being developed to be displayed on Veterans Day and even a discussion brewing of a Veterans Day Parade as it falls on a Saturday in 2017.  Chapter 885 will be involved in both as these ideas get developed.

Wave Transit is considering some sort of discounted fares for all veterans on the fixed route system.  We will need to be present when this comes up for a decision at a future meeting.  Meetings are held at noon on the 4th Thursday of the month at Forden Station.

Chapter 885 is an active and growing chapter with a new membership count at 194 and climbing!  Please keep reaching out to our fellow veterans to let them know what we do and how they can become a part of veteran outreach.

As the chapter plans its budget for the new fiscal year beginning March 1 and recruits its officers for the New Year please join in with your ideas and suggestions to make the chapter even stronger!


Looking forward to a great 2017. Let us be brave in the elements of our environment of day to day challenges.  Continue to stand strong, noble and dignified as a Vietnam Veteran and if the need arises be ready to defend our Country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  Be assured no matter what we face the Almighty Lord of heaven, earth and the universe itself is always in control.
“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.


 The below information is courtesy of Tony Musolino.* Tony’s personal comments are in blue.

 VA to Eliminate 7 Compensable Disabilities
I think that this is important info and should be made widespread. This is a heads up bit of information and appears that the VA is already in the process of taking action on it we have all of 2017 to get the word out – but let’s not pass up the opportunity to let those now covered under these conditions to be prepared for it.  If the VA changes its mind fine – if not we will have done what we need to do – pass the info on.

On December 12, 2016 the VA announced that they may eliminate 7 compensable disabilities.

Not all service-connected medical conditions and injuries are incurred or exacerbated in the performance of military duties. For example, a qualifying injury can occur when a service member was at home or on leave, and a qualifying medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis, can develop independently of a service member’s military duties.

In 2015, VA paid 716,000 veterans a total of $3.7 billion, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, to compensate for seven of the medical conditions that, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), military service is unlikely to cause or aggravate.

Those conditions are:

Arteriosclerotic heart disease,

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,

Crohn’s disease,


Multiple sclerosis,

Osteoarthritis, and

Uterine fibroids.

Beginning in January 2018, this option would cease veterans’ disability compensation for those seven medical conditions GAO identified.

Under the option, veterans now receiving compensation for those conditions would have their compensation reduced or eliminated, and veterans who applied for compensation for those conditions in the future would not be eligible for it.

An argument in support of this option is that it would make the disability compensation system for military veterans more comparable to civilian systems. Few civilian employers offer long-term disability benefits, and among those that do, benefits do not typically compensate individuals for all medical problems that developed during employment.

An argument against this option is that military service is not like a civilian job; instead, it confers unique benefits to society and imposes extraordinary risks on service members. By that logic, the pay and benefits that service members receive should reflect the hardships of military life, including compensating veterans who become disabled in any way during their military service.

* Editor’s note – The above information from Tony appeared in last month’s newsletter.  However, I feel that it is important information for a number of people and I chose to run it again this month.


KC Jones, along with Tony Mortillaro, has been hard at work in setting up fundraisers for the coming year.  So far they have secured the following dates, with more to come:

February 18         Food Lion, Leland

March 25             Food Lion, Military Cutoff

April 8 & 9           Azalea Festival

June 17                Sam’s Club

November 4        Sam’s Club

Other Events

March 11             St. Patrick’s Day Parade

April 8                   Azalea Festival Parade

September 16     Golf Tournament, Olde Point Golf & Country Club, Hampstead


 The AVVA is putting together a schedule for visiting veterans in area nursing homes.  If you wish to be part of the contingent that visits these homes, please see our AVVA representative, James Bryant.


Crocodile Shoes

An Army Ranger was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana and he wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.  After becoming very frustrated with the “no haggle” attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the Ranger shouted, “maybe I’ll just get my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes made at a reasonable price.” The vendor said, “by my guest.  Maybe you will run into a couple of Marines who were in here earlier saying the same thing.”

So the Ranger headed into the bayou that same day and a few hours later came upon two men standing waist deep in the water.  He thought, those must be the two Marines the guy in town was talking about.”  Just then, the Ranger saw a tremendously long gator swimming rapidly underwater towards one of the Marines.  Just as the gator was about to attack, the Marine grabbed its neck with both hands and strangled it to death with very little effort.  Then both Marines dragged it to shore and flipped it on its back.  Lying nearby were several more of the creatures.  One of the Marines exclaimed, “Damn, this one doesn’t have any shoes either!”


“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have made a difference in the world.  A veteran doesn’t have that problem.” Those words were spoken by President Ronald Regan, once upon a time.

Those words were true then and they are true now.  Whether it was the call to arms to defend our country or to serve our communities in civilian life we have always made a difference.  Even though our service is far behind us in the rearview mirror people still look towards us to set an example. So, as you are out and about in the community, hold your heads up high and be proud that you have served our country and if you get a chance, share your experiences with others.


Johnny Johnson                2nd

William Gibbs                    4th

Robert Wilson                   4th

Jerry Highsmith                 4th

Richard Walker                 5th

Jim Graziano                      9th

Gerald Eckstein                 9th

Ophal Midgette                 10th

James Robinson                15th

William Femia Jr.              19th

Rossie Nance                     19th

David Miller                       20th

William Hamilton              20th

Charlie Garner                   23rd

Rich Hosier                         24th

John Peele                          26th

George Bradley                 27th

Gary Anderson                  27th

Paul Williams                     28th

Happy Birthday to all.

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


 Chapter Elections

The Chapter will elect Officers and Board Members at the April Chapter meeting.  If you would like to run for one of the positions, please see a member of the election committee: Sam Colman, Curt Farrison or Reid Mendenhall.

Membership Totals

Our numbers continue to grow, as of January 31, 2017, our unofficial (waiting for National to give us the official count) total is 196 and AVVA is at 32.  It seems that our members are talking to the public as the last few people to sign up said they were talking to Chapter Member so and so and I thought I would come down and give it a try.  Thank you all and keep up the good work.

Golf Tournament

Our second annual golf tournament will be held on September 16, 2017 at Olde Point Golf & Country Club.  Once again Jeff Gordon Chevrolet will be sponsoring prizes: a hole in one package with prizes at each par 3 with a 2017 Chevy Silverado as the top prize; two tickets to the 2018 Coca Cola 600 stock car race; and a chance to win $1,000,000 yes that’s right, $1,000,000 with a shot at a hole-in-one.

PX Privileges

According to Stars and Stripes, after two years of study and debate, the Department of Defense has made a policy change, effective November 2017, to allow 16 million honorably discharged veterans to shop online for discounted military exchange products.


The entire article can be read on the Chapter’s website at vvachapter885.org.


MLK Parade

The Chapter participated in the MLK Parade last month.  We had 25 VVA and AVVA members riding in vehicles.  It was a nice feeling to have people applaud us as we went by and say thanks for your service.  Thanks to those that participated.



Johnny Crandall’s Daughter

Lindsey Crandall, Chapter Member Johnny Crandall’s daughter, had the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery on Sunday, January 8, 2017.  Lindsey is the young blond lady in the picture below.  Lindsey is a Junior at Hanover High School Lyceum Academy in Wilmington.




A Friend of AVVA member Althea Mitchell needs your help.

Arnetta Graham is a 63-year-old resident of the Northwest Community in Leland, North Carolina.  Recently Arnetta was diagnosed with an unrepairable heart disease and a heart transplant was her only option for survival.  In November 2016, The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill successfully performed this transplant and Arnetta is making great progress on recovery.

The road ahead will be long and expensive so on the recommendation of UNC Chapel Hill to help the financial burden of Arnetta’s uninsured expenses, a fundraising campaign in her honor has been established with HelpHOPELive, a trusted nonprofit organization that has been providing community-based fundraising guidance to patients and their families for more than 30 years.  All donations are tax deductible and held at HelpHOPELive in the Heart Transplant Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for transplant-related expenses only.  Please consider a contribution.

For credit card contributions, please visit www.helphopelive.org and search for Arnetta Graham or call 800-642-8399.


Make checks payable to: Help Hope Live. In the memo section – Arnetta Graham.  Please send the checks to: HelpHopeLive, 2 Radnor Corporate Center, 100 Mansford Road, Suite 100, Radnor, Pa. 19087

Thank you for your prayers, support and generosity.


Althea Mitchell, 910-371-6258

Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law. This campaign is administered by HelpHOPELive, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing fundraising assistance to transplant an catastrophic injury patients. Information: 800-642-8399

Veterans Jam

American Legion Post 10 is in the beginning process of putting a program together whereby they invite veterans who are active, retired and are musicians to participate in jam sessions.  Guests of the participants would also be welcome.  This is in the planning stages and choice of instruments and structure of the program is still undefined.  If this is of interest to you please see our Chapter President, Don Betz.



Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 8, 2017 17:53


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V V A Chaper 885

801 Princess Street

Wilmington, NC 248401

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