VVMF Newsletter! Build The Center Benefit, The Wall That Heals and more

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Greetings Jason Cain! Below find important information about the VVMF’s events and programs.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s News
VVMF’s First-Ever Benefit Gala Is a Success
Old friendships were renewed, outstanding individuals were honored and money was raised to build the Education Center at The Wall at the first annual Build the Center Benefit Gala, which was hosted by VVMF on Friday, Nov. 12, at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. 

The high-dollar fundraising benefit attracted around 200 veterans, family, friends and former congressional staffers, who gathered to remember the formative days when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built and lend their support to VVMF’s newest endeavor, the Education Center at The Wall.

A highlight of the evening was the award presentations. Former Sen. John Warner received the Senator Charles McCurdy “Mac” Mathias Jr. Award, which recognizes exemplary and courageous service to the country, such as Mathias displayed during his lifetime. The award was presented by Mathias’ sons, Charles and Robert, assisted by Michael Heisley, an Education Center supporter and owner of the Memphis Grizzlies basketball team.

The James V. Kimsey Award for Public Service was presented by Jim Kimsey himself to former Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who came home from war to become governor of Nebraska and then a U.S. senator from that state. Kerrey is currently the president of The New School in New York City.

The master of ceremonies for the evening was WTOP radio’s “Man About Town” Bob Madigan. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret.) gave the keynote address. Click here to read more about this year’s gala.

VVMF is planning its second Build the Center Benefit Gala for Fall 2011.

 

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Thousands Gather at The Wall for Annual Veterans Day Ceremony
Many thanks to the thousands of veterans and their families who attended last week’s Veterans Day observance at The Wall. It was a beautiful day, highlighted by terrific speakers and made all the more special by your presence. 

The ceremony was broadcast live via satellite and also webcast live. For those who couldn’t make it, click here to see a recording of the ceremony in its entirety. You can also see some of the interviews that were conducted in a special pre-ceremony show on Veterans Day.

Click here to see the pictures from the day that we posted on the Web.

 

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Tales from the Road
It has been a busy month for The Wall That Heals. Starting in Vinita, Okla., at American Legion Post 40 on October 7, we have crisscrossed the entire nation! From Oklahoma, we traveled to Washington City, Utah, then up to Auburn, Wash., outside of Tacoma. From Washington, we were headed to Bass Pro Shops outside of Dallas, Texas, for Veterans Day, then we completed a nearly 3,500-mile trek across the country, to Sebring, Fla. 

It seems that, at every stop, we encounter a person or story that reminds us of the value of this traveling Wall replica. But it was in Washington state that we encountered one of the most moving events we have experienced so far.

Richard Beard, a Vietnam veteran, was one of the volunteers at the Auburn, Wash. stop. One morning, he noticed a man standing in front of The Wall, obviously distraught. He walked up to the man and said, “Welcome home, brother” and gave him a hug. The man broke down in tears for a moment as he and Richard walked off to the side and exchanged stories for a few hours.Later that day, the man returned. As Richard greeted him, the man shook his hand firmly and wrapped his other arm around Richard’s back, giving him the man-hug that can only come from brothers in arms. He turned to Richard and said, “Now I can go home and love my family.” As their grips parted, Richard was left with the familiar weight of brass, lead and copper in his right hand. This was the bullet that the man had planned to use on himself that evening. He had come down to The Wall earlier that day to say goodbye to his brothers for the last time.

The Wall That Heals brings together the men and women who experienced the pain of war and allows them to publicly and proudly honor and remember their friends, family and neighbors who didn’t come home. It is VVMF’s mission to support this healing and teach future generations the importance of remembering our fallen. We hope to be able to continue our mission in your hometown in the years to come.

 

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VVMF Completes Mission in Vietnam with Initiative North of the Former DMZ
Project Renew began 10 years ago as a humanitarian project in an area of Vietnam infested with ordnance left over from the Vietnam War – Quang Tri Province, home of the former demilitarized zone (DMZ). 

VVMF raised funds from private sources and the State Department to assist in the removal of landmines and other unexploded ordnance and to reduce casualties by educating the public. Both objectives were highly successful as we trained and equipped the Vietnamese to continue the efforts, destroying thousands of bombs, mortar shells, mines and other dangerous devices. Through Project RENEW, we also created income generation opportunities for landmine victims and their families, and provided medical assistance and orthotic and prosthetic devices to landmine survivors. And, we built schools and libraries in Quang Tri through contributions from American veterans of the war and built a baseball field in the town of Dong Ha.

Our final task is to assist the Vietnamese people in the Quang Binh Province, north of the old DMZ. The area was targeted with considerable ordnance, including dangerous cluster munitions. VVMF has pledged more than $280,000 to PeaceTrees Vietnam, a nonprofit group out of Washington state, to begin removing ordnance there in a comprehensive program to facilitate and train the Vietnamese to create a safer environment for the civilian population in this impoverished area. VVMF was able to give PeaceTrees this grant from funding provided by Congress.

We will be finished assisting the people of Vietnam next summer. VVMF remains proud of our work in helping the U.S. government establish better relations with this nation of 80 million people. We have made tremendous strides in improving the everyday lives of the people in Vietnam and have strengthened relations between our two countries through our efforts.

 

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Service Learning Project for the Schools Is Now Available
VVMF has just completed its new “Hometown Heroes” Service Learning Project and is offering it free of charge to middle and high school teachers. This unique project contains three modules that encourage students to learn about and honor the service members who served in Vietnam and came home; those whose names are on The Wall; and veterans in the community who served in all wars. 

The service learning project is based on a lesson plan developed by Cindy Gallaway, a teacher at Lewiston Middle School in Lewiston, Mich. She created the plan to encourage her students to find information about their hometown hero, Michael Jonas Pynnonen, whose name is on The Wall.

VVMF took what she created and broadened it with the help of the Veterans History Project, adding information that will help teachers develop lessons and activities to honor veterans in their communities and gather their stories. The packet includes: portions of VVMF’s new book, Dreams Unfulfilled; the Hometown Heroes lesson plan; information on how to interview veterans; and instructions on how to submit stories and photos to VVMF in support of the Education Center at The Wall. Oral histories that meet the standards of the Library of Congress will be submitted to the Veterans History Project at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. Hometown Heroes also includes a section on how to honor local veterans in your school through the Take a Vet to School Day program distributed by the History Channel.

VVMF’s “Hometown Heroes” Service Learning Project is available free of charge thanks to a generous grant from the GE Foundation. This packet is available online at www.buildthecenter.org/education. Make sure the schools in your community know about this important resource.

 

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In the News
Vietnam Vets Drawn to The Wall
The Examiner; Nov. 11, 2010 

Weekly Segment: VVMF Founder Jan Scruggs
The National Defense; Nov. 6, 2010

The Wall That Heals Travels to Grapevine for Veterans Day
The Lewisville Leader Star; Nov. 5, 2010

Driving Force Behind Vietnam Memorial Honored for Service
NVDaily.com; Nov. 2, 2010

The Education Center at The Wall
Military Etc.; Oct. 27, 2010

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) giving season ends in December. You still have time to help VVMF and our many programs with your donation. VVMF’s CFC number is 11070.

 

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