May 2017 Newsletter

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day May 4, 2017 10:21

Next Meeting:  Monday, May 22, 2017  at 7:00 P.M.                                                                  Issue: May 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:

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

President:  Don Betz

1st Vice president:  Tony Mortillaro

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.


As we kickoff May, I would like to express my appreciation to the Chapter’s membership for the vote of confidence in the April election for another term as your President. I believe we had a great prior year from everyone and especially the members who worked so hard on the golf tournament’s first year.  We have a blueprint to work with and will make the 2nd event even more successful! I also want to acknowledge a great slate of officers elected for this year.  There is a lot of experience and leadership among them.

We had a great turnout for the Azalea Parade and fundraiser as well the recent Sam’s event. The Chapter recently picked up a transfer and a new member as so many of us continue to reach out for members. In an effort to create more awareness of the Chapter with the public I would like to encourage one of our members to become a “public information officer” and work with me on producing new releases on our various activities.  In time it could lead to VVA Chapter 885 setting a standard for other veteran organizations to become part of a “veteran public information office” in our region. It would be a means of promoting our efforts on behalf of all veterans and encouraging working together on various issues.

We have had some recent deaths and illness within our chapter families and ask that each of us be mindful of these members during this time.

Our chapter will again be working with the New Hanover County Veterans Council in coordinating the Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery.  Hope to see you there!




Thanks for your support of the Office of Chaplain. It is a privilege to serve VVA 885. I serve at your will and approval. If you need to reach me, my cell is 910 612 0983.

If you are calling for the first time leave a voice mail, so I can put your name in my directory. If your name does not show when calling, I may not pick up if don’t recognize your number. Feel free to reach out for support or help if needed and contact me if you know of other members or family requiring assistance.

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.


100 % Disability Ratings

A number of people have asked questions concerning 100% disability ratings from the VA.  The information below should clear up any lingering questions.

Understanding What It Means to Be Rated 100% Disabled

Unfortunately, many veterans are too often confused about Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 100 percent disability ratings and whether or not they are allowed to secure gainful employment if rated at 100 percent. While complex, and sometimes confusing to the most experienced VSO, let’s take a look at the four types of 100 percent disability ratings in plain, understandable English.

  1. Combined. When a veteran’s service-connected disabilities are combined to reach 100 percent, he/she is allowed to work full time or part time.  For example, if a veteran is rated 70% for PTSD, and 30% for IBS, the two disabilities equal 100% (sometimes – see rating table), and the veteran is allowed to hold a full time or part time job.
  2. TDIU or IU.   Total Disability/Individual Unemployability.  This is a specific type of claim made by a veteran, requesting that he/she be paid at the 100 percent rate even though his/her disabilities do not combine to reach 100%. The request is often made because the veteran is unable to maintain “gainful employment” because his/her service-connected disabilities prevent him/her from doing so. The basic eligibility to file for Individual Unemployability (IU) is that the veteran has one disability rated at 60 percent or one at 40 percent and enough other disabilities that result in a combined rating of 70 percent or more. The one disability at 40 percent criteria can be a combined rating of related disabilities. Meeting the basic criteria is not a guarantee that the veteran will be awarded 100 percent under IU criteria. The medical evidence must show that the veteran is unable to work in both a physical and sedentary job setting. A veteran not meeting the percentage criteria may still be awarded IU if the disabilities present a unique barrier to gainful employment. If a veteran is granted 100 percent under IU he is prohibited from working full-time, because in filing the claim for IU the veteran is stating he/she is unable to work because of his/her service-connected disabilities. However, receiving IU does not necessarily prevent a veteran from all employment circumstances. The veteran can work in a part-time “marginal” employment position and earn up to a certain amount annually, but not allowed to surpass a certain amount.
  3. Temporary 100 percent rating. If a veteran is hospitalized 21 days or longer or had surgery for a service-connected disability that requires at least a 30-day convalescence period, the VA will pay at the 100 percent rate for the duration of the hospital stay or the convalescence period. For example, if a veteran has a total hip replacement for a service-connected hip disability, the VA will pay 100 percent compensation for up to 13 months, the standard recovery period for a replacement of a major joint. The duration of 100 percent temporary disability for any other type of surgery will depend on what the doctor reports as the recovery period.
  4. Permanent and total.  A 100 percent “permanent and total” rating is when the VA acknowledges that the service-connected conditions have no likelihood of improvement and the veteran will remain at 100 percent permanently with no future examinations. The P&T rating provides additional benefits, such as Chapter 35 education benefits for dependents, among others. Veterans sometimes make the mistake of requesting a P&T rating simply because they want education benefits for their dependents. The one caveat that veterans need to keep in mind is that when P&T is requested, all of their service-connected disabilities will be re-evaluated. If improvement is noted during the subsequent examinations, a reduction from 100 percent can possibly be proposed. Because many veterans are service-connected for conditions that VA says have a “likelihood of improvement,” most ratings are not considered permanent and are subject to future review. The only time veterans can’t work a full-time position, that is considered a gainfully-employed job is if they were awarded 100 percent disability through a claim for IU. Additionally, a 100 percent rating under either IU or combined ratings may or may not be rated as permanent and total. A temporary 100 percent rating is just that: temporary due to being hospitalized or recovering from surgery on a service-connected condition.

What to expect when you file a claim.

After you file your claim, the VA may send a let­ter noti­fy­ing you of the infor­ma­tion they need. This will include release forms they will need you to fill out in order to request files from civil­ian doc­tors you have seen. Be sure to read every­thing very care­fully. Some­times the dates can be wrong or VA might be ask­ing for the wrong infor­ma­tion. In addi­tion, you may have bet­ter luck get­ting doc­u­ments from doc­tors than will the VA. When you for­ward med­ical release let­ters to civil­ian med­ical providers for their records, be sure to fol­low up with a phone call to ensure they under­stand what you are request­ing, espe­cially for psy­chol­o­gists. Leave noth­ing to chance and never expect the VA will fig­ure out how to con­tact these peo­ple for you.

At the exam­i­na­tion for con­di­tions like PTSD, VA has exam­i­na­tion cri­te­ria online. Google what­ever con­di­tion to read about the expe­ri­ence of other vet­er­ans after their exams. This can help a lot. First, it will help you frame your con­di­tion in terms that the VA exam­iner will use in their analy­sis of your con­di­tion. Sec­ond, it will help you think through rel­e­vant dates and issues prior to the eval­u­a­tion. This increases your cred­i­bil­ity fac­tor with the exam­iner.

Lastly, write a one or two page sum­mary about your con­di­tion. Use bul­let points with brief expla­na­tions of each and every treat­ment for that par­tic­u­lar con­di­tion. Be care­ful to not over­whelm your exam­iner. Ask if the exam­iner has viewed your C-File before the exam. If not, you may have a claim for a review if the exam­iner gives you an adverse find­ing. If the C-File is not present for the exam, be sure to note the fact. A lack of C-File can bias your exam and be cause for a new one if you do not get the results you think you deserve.

In clos­ing, be patient. The whole process can take up to one year or longer. So, do not expect the cash to start flow­ing in quick enough to pay next month’s rent.


Fund Raisers

May 6                                  Piggly Wiggly, Burgaw

May 20                                Rims on the River

June 3                                  Harris Teeter, Lumina Commons

June 10                               Harris Teeter, Waterford in Leland

June 17                               Blueberry Festival

June 24                               Harris Teeter, Ogden

July 8                                   Harris Teeter, Mayfair

July 15                                 Harris Teeter, Oak Landing

July 29                                 Piggly Wiggly, Leland

August 5                             Harris Teeter, Hanover Center

August 12                           Piggly Wiggly, Burgaw

September 9                      Sam’s Club

September 16                    Golf Tournament

September 23                    Car Show at the Battleship

September 23, 24             Spot Festival

October 7, 8                      Riverfest

October 21, 22                  Autumn at Topsail

November 4                       Sam’s Club


May 5                                  Nurses cookout at the VA Facility

Memorial Day                   Ceremony at the cemetery.

June                                     Nursing Home Visits (dates and homes to be determined)

September 30                    Chapter Fish Fry

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


James Bryant attended the Region 3 conference that took place in Kentucky during April.  Comments from James will be in next month’s Newsletter.


No long stories this time, just a few short lines.

Submarines are safer than aircraft.  The proof in this fact is that there are more aircraft in the water than submarines in the sky.

During the Vietnam war, a Lieutenant asked a Marine why he was falling back during a really fierce battle.  “Didn’t you hear me say that we’re outnumbered 4 to 1.”  The Marine replied, “I got my four Sir.”

“Why do you want to join the Navy, son?” “My father said it’d be a good idea, sir.”  “Oh? And what does your father do?” “He’s in the Army, sir.”


May is a month of mixed emotions.  With the weather warming up the plants and flowers are blooming and it is starting to look colorful everywhere we go.  Mother’s day is on May 14th so be sure to remember Mom’s everywhere; it gets tough when she is no longer with us.  Then at the end of the month, we have Memorial Day, a time to remember all those that have fallen in battle.

As a veteran this is a tough day for me and I guess for many of you too.  Of course I try to remember all the buddies I knew and the ones I didn’t know both from Vietnam and all of those other terrible wars and conflicts (the powers that be terminology not mine).  Now here comes the part that is hard to deal with, I actually feel lucky that it wasn’t me and guilty that I feel that way.  I wonder how many of you share the same feeling.

Please remember to take time to honor the fallen this Memorial Day.


Ray Horwath                     2nd

James Vaughn                   5th

Carlisle Grissett                 6th

Glover Stanford                6th

Robert Garrison                17th

Jack Vereen                       17th

Tom Lawson                      19th

Sam Colman                      20th

William Baker                    22nd

Paul Thompson                 24th

Willard Whiteman            27th

Harold George                  27th

Happy Birthday to all.

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


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.

The golf committee is hard at work but they could use your help as well. The committee is reaching out to various businesses to see if they will act as sponsors of the tournament.  Last year we had 31 companies and or individuals, including some Chapter members that sponsored a hole at $100 each.  This year we would like to more than double that number and you can help.  If you know of a company that we should talk to please let Mike O’Day or Curt Farrison know, and if you would like to sponsor a hole yourself please see Mike or Curt and thank you.

PX Privileges

This was in the last couple Newsletter’s and will continue to run through November when the program goes live.

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

April’s Chapter Activities

During the month of April, the Chapter participated in the Azalea festival Parade as well as having a fund raiser on both Saturday and Sunday of the Festival.  At the end of the month we had a fund raiser at Sam’s Club.

This year’s parade honored Veterans and had a couple of unique twists.  One was a fly over of military aircraft at the start of the parade.  The other was the unfurling of a thirty foot American flag also at the beginning of the parade.  It took almost thirty people to hold the flag and 885 participated in the process.  Below are some of the members from our Chapter who helped hang onto the flag.

In addition to the flag ceremony we also participated in the parade both on foot and in vehicles.

We conducted our fund raiser on both Saturday and Sunday and did really well.  The weather cooperated this year, sort of.  While we had two gorgeous days to take in some money, Friday, when we set the tent up was a different story.  We were originally going to set up at noon but it was too windy.  We reconvened at 5:00 pm hoping the wind would have died down but no dice it was still gusting pretty good.  However, we had all kinds of weights attached to the tent and it stayed in place for the weekend.  Below are some pictures taken over the weekend.

Membership Totals

Our Chapter continues to grow.  As of April 30, we have 204 Chapter members.  There are a couple more that are in the pipeline, transfers and new members, which have not been added yet by National.  Each month we continue to add members and this is a reflection on many of you who continue to network within the community, thank you for your efforts.

Public Information Officer (PIO)

This is a call for a volunteer.  The Chapter does a lot of things within the community and we don’t always get the recognition for it and that is partly our fault.  We have not put out the word to the public of the many things that we do and we need to correct that.  As Don mentioned in his comments we need a PIO.  Hopefully, there is someone out there who will step up and coordinate with Don in getting our efforts out to the Media, either via print, television or radio.  Other organizations do it and we should too.

If you think you would like a crack at it please talk to Don or any one of the other Chapter officer’s.  You won’t be left out on a ledge all by yourself as we will give you all the help that you need as we want this to be a success.

Chapter Elections

At the Chapter meeting on Monday, April 24, 885 had its election and here are the results:

The following positions were unopposed and were then elected by affirmation:

President             Don Betz

1st VP                    Tony Mortillaro

2nd VP                  KC Jones

Secretary             Mike O’Day

Treasurer             Bob Doleman

Sgt at Arms         Thurmond Bethea

Chaplain              Abdul Shareef

In addition, there were 4 open Board positions with 6 candidates, the winners of the Board of Directors election are:

Mac McDonald

Floyd Palmer

Artie Johnson

Curt Farrison

Mack Mitchell is automatically a Board Member as the former President of the organization.
Congratulations to all!

The Chapter gives its thanks to the members of the election committee: Sam Colman, Reid Mendenhall and Curt Farrison.  Good work fellas.




Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day May 4, 2017 10:21


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V V A Chaper 885

801 Princess Street

Wilmington, NC 248401

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