• Chuck and his wife Ann

  • President and Charlie heading to the East Room

  • Chuck and his son Mike

  • Chuck and his daughter Jeanna

  • Medal of Honor

  • East Room For The Medal of Honor Ceromony

Vietnam Veterans of America
Charles S. Kettles Chapter 310
The Vietnam Veterans of America National Chapter of the Year - 1999 & 2007
Newsletter of the Year 2007, 09, 11 & 15
E-Newsletter of the Year 2017
Chapter member LTC. (Retired) Chuck Kettles receved the Medal of Honor - July 2016
President’s Message
Dave Draper



November 2017 President’s Message – David Draper

On September 30th, a few of us participated in the 50th Commemorative Picnic, BBQ, and Family Event sponsored by the Plymouth VFW Post 6695.  It was an all-day affair.  They served premium burgers and dogs, cider, donuts, and pop. John Riling brought his merchandise store with him, and he was set up in a garage on the property.  The VA also brought their info van. In the hall, several Veteran services were set up to help anyone who wanted their services. It was good seeing a few people that I knew from the State VVA. Steve and Shirley Hitte, Sandy Wilson, Meni, and I represented our Chapter.  We had great weather and comradery.

On October 2nd, AVVA held their Quartermania again at the Milan American Legion.  Steve Hitte and I sold and served Sloppy Joe’s, chips, and water that was provided by Kathy Driscoll.  Shirley Hitte helped with collecting quarters.  Tim Driscoll and Lloyd Lee helped with the 50/50.  Meni and Jane Kinzinger were participants in the Quartermania.  I did see Jane win a couple prizes--congrats.  Kathy Driscoll said it looked like by their next Quartermania (Nov 6th) they will have reached, and maybe surpassed, their goal of raising $1,000 for the Michigan Fisher House.  Thanks go to Kathy for her leadership at this event, for all the volunteers from VVA and AVVA, and for Bruce Ross (former Commander) for arranging for free rental of the hall.  That allowed more money to be collected for the donation.  Great job everyone for a great cause!

A VVA 310 member since 2005, Joe Palazzolo was inducted into the Michigan Military and Space Hero’s Museum in Frankenmuth MI on Sunday, October 8th.  Joe moved away to Imlay City a few years ago but has maintained his membership with VVA 310.  Meni and I, John and Jane Kinzinger, Roy and Bonnie Hall, Steve and Shirley Hitte, and Vance and Kathy McCrumb all came to witness the event.  In addition to us, many of Joe’s family were there, along with several members of his VFW Post.  Joe seemed to be very humbled by the turnout.  He said he was not expecting so many people.  His showcase had many of his personal-collection items from the Vietnam Era, including uniforms, backpack, and scrip (MPC).  It is the first time that many of us have ever visited the Museum, and it is quite impressive.  Not sure if you were aware, but our Chapter sponsored one of the showcases in the Space portion of the museum.  If you ever have a chance to visit, it would be well worth the trip.  Clothing and military artifacts from World War II to present-day conflict are on display, along with those from the space program that call Michigan home.  As a point of interest, there was another member of our Chapter that was inducted there and has a showcase--LTC Charles S. Kettles.  After attending the ceremony and looking at all the displays, we from 310 all went to Slo’ Bones BBQ Smokehause for a bite to eat.  It was only a few blocks away. The food was excellent, but it would have been better if we didn’t have a State fan as a waiter (just kidding!).

Our Merchandising sales at the VAMC on October 10 was on par with the last couple of months.  It continues to be a good source of revenue for the Chapter. That wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the good turnout we had of volunteers from both the VVA and AVVA.  Thanks to all of you for your dedication to our Chapter, and especially to the few that were able to stay the whole day.

Our next Merchandising sales event was at the Appleumpkin Festival in Tecumseh on October 14 and 15. The first day the weather was not the best, but the sales seemed to be pretty good in spite of it.  We had clouds, rain, and sunshine intermittently through the day.  Volunteers were in short supply, but we managed to bring in decent sales. The following day was filled with much more drama.  We ended up closing up around 12:30, because of high winds.  Many tents were literally flying through the air, as wind gusts picked them up using them like sails.  One gentleman was injured on the arm when a tent he was trying to rescue hit him.  And, as luck would have it, rain started as we attempted to dismantle the tent.  Even with all that going on, we somehow managed to make eighty dollars.

Recently, in an event I tagged as “Serving the Vets,” we went to the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center and served lunch to the patients in the CLC.  The idea came from Don Miller.  He was the one who got the monies approved at one of our last meetings.  The chefs from the VA Canteen prepared steak, ribs, mashed and baked potato, corn on the cob, mixed vegetables, and a piece of chocolate cake. The steaks were grilled on a grill that was set up on the patio outside the CLC.  As you can imagine, it was a meal that the patients really looked forward to, and certainly enjoyed.  Our Chapter paid for the food, and we also purchased challenge coins to give to the patients.  I was able to commandeer LTC Kettles to hand out the coins, to the delight and surprise of the patients.  The Colonel shook hands with each one of them, presented the coin, and talked briefly with each patient.  He also had time to present coins to the chefs and the staff, the Volunteer Services staff, and a few upper management, including Acting Director Andrew Pacyna.  As it turned out, the cooks had made more than enough food; so, they asked us to sit down and eat. That was not planned, but it was a welcome gesture.  The food tasted terrific!  I asked several of the patients how they liked their food, and they were all thumbs up.  Many thanked on their way back to their rooms.  All in all, it was an honor and a privilege to serve them.  Thanks to our volunteers: LTC Charles Kettles, Al Dyer, Steve Hitte, Roy Hall, John Kinzinger, and Vance McCrumb.  Volunteer Service restricted the number of volunteer to six not to overwhelm the patients. Thanks to Volunteer Service for working with us to set up this event and for guiding us at the event. Certainly, thanks go to the chefs and their staff for preparing and plating the food.  Great job everyone! I’ve been told that we can certainly entertain the idea of doing this more than once a year.  Pictures of the event (taken by Vance McCrumb) will be posted on the website.

Meni and I had the privilege of attending the WACU Banquet in Okemos, Michigan.  There was thirty to forty people attending, including the officers and board members of WACU and a few people who were caregivers to Vets with PTSD.  Several people gave slide presentations, showing what WACU had done over the past year.  John and Jane Kinzinger, Meni and I, Roy and Bonnie Hall, Larry St. Antoine, Elmer White, and Gordon and Valorie Moore were there from our Chapter.  Of course, several of them were members of WACU.  Songs were sung in the background by Kelly Trudell.  Dinner was excellent.  They served a chicken dish, redskin potatoes, mostaccioli, mixed vegetables, salad, and rolls.  One of the guests prepared quite an assortment of sweets for dessert.  The highlight of the evening was a caregiver who gave a testimony of her life with her husband, who was suffering from PTSD.  Her husband, unfortunately, ended his life.  She told of her seclusion while he was alive because of all the care she had to provide, and the emptiness and feeling of guilt after he passed.  It was very emotional and heart wrenching--and very brave of her to stand in front of a group to recount her experience.

Our final event of the month was our Halloween Party at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center.  This is an event that has survived many years under many different leaderships.  Meni and I have attended at least the last three. It’s always a satisfying experience.  As usual, we started by gathering in the lobby and had a few moments of camaraderie while admiring the hand-carved pumpkins and costumes that many wore.  Anita and Ron Henley outdid themselves this year with the carving and received positive comments from our group, the patients, and the staff.  We then proceeded to a couple of floors and passed out small handmade Halloween boxes full of candy prepared by Sandy Martinez to the nurse stations.  The rest of the time we spent going room to room talking with the patients and handing out handmade Halloween cards that John Kinzinger had produced.  It was our goal to lighten up and bring cheer to the patients.  I think we accomplished our mission.  Many, including staff, thanked us for what we were doing.  I met one gentleman who was the first President of Chapter 35 out of Toledo. He was in the 101st Airborne in 1967.  He and others shared their stories of where they served and the branch of service they were a part of.  All in all, it was another great time sharing with our brothers and sisters of our Armed Forces.  As has been the custom for the past few years, many of us dined at the Sidetrack in Ypsilanti after we finished at the hospital.  I will have pictures to share on our website about this event.  We were not allowed to take pictures with patients’ faces in them, so the pictures are mostly of us and the hospital staff.  I would like to thank all those listed here for coming to help out: Meni Draper, John & Jane Kinzinger, Steve & Shirley Hitte, Roy & Bonnie Hall, Tim & Kathy Driscoll, Anita and Ron Henley, Sandy Martinez, Marty Cothorn, Kate Kirkpatrick, and Sharon Clark with the DAR.

Coming up on November 3, AVVA will be dedicating a new tree at our Memorial to Theresa Mullins.  Then on the 5th we will have our Packing Party at 3:00 p.m., followed by our monthly meeting on the 9th.  On the 14th we will be holding our monthly Merchandising sales at the VAAAMC.  Along with all these there will be several Veterans Day events that many in our Chapter will be attending.  There gets to be so many events that it is next to impossible to attend all of them.

Until next month and God Bless!

Dave Draper
USAF C-130 Loadmaster