• 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
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
LTC Charles S. Kettles (ret) Passed Away On January 21, 2019.  Rest In Peace My Friend, Rest In Peace.......
President’s Message
Jon Luker
lukerThere is an old saying that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you got.  This saying is often used to help managers get the idea that if they don’t like what they are seeing, they must embrace change.  If they still don’t get it, we’ll tell the managers that one way to determine insanity is to do the same thing again, expecting a different result.

Why do I bring that up now?

Although I’m happy with most of what I see, I wonder what we would see if different people were helping to call the shots.  Actually, that’s not the honest truth.  The real reason I said that is because elections are coming up, and it is time for the membership to nominate and elect new people who are willing to serve.  And it is time for new people to make themselves known and to show their interest in helping the Chapter continue its growth and its tradition of service to the veteran community.

I don’t mean any offense to any current office holder or past or present board member when I say that the one exception to the above is that I hope we elect Berry one more year.  The change he has been leading the past several years have given us a much better understanding of our financial picture.  The tools he uses to log day to day operations lead to nearly automated monthly financial reports and fill out the annual tax return properly.  Our merchandizing operation has been included in the accounting process now as well.  I think if he is willing and able to stay on the job one more year, that will give us all time to become more familiar with our finance records and give us time to find and train somebody to do the day to day bookkeeping.

We have only one officer who has not been on the job very long, but he has been an active member of the Chapter for some time.  Unfortunately, I fear his health is not going to permit him to accept nomination to office again.  Everybody else has held more than one job and has served on the board or as an officer (or both) for several years.

Not that there is anything “wrong” with having the same people run the show year after year, but we could be missing out on things because we tend to just keep doing what we’ve been doing.  Well, not really.  We cater the Annual Dinner now.  We don’t do public awareness events anymore.  We don’t do merchandize except at the VA and one other place.  It looks like we don’t do the Pig Roast anymore.  We will downsize our presence at the Heritage Festival.  Very few people “march” in parades anymore.  That’s not a complaint.  We are just not as physically fit as we once were and we are spending more time with grandkids than before.

I’ve spoken before about the vote that will take place at the Convention in Spokane in July.  That will shake things up at the Chapter in a few years, if not sooner.  Voters will hear from two groups.  One group will explain how VVA will finally close its doors.  Because the federal charter can’t be amended, eventually, we will not have enough members left to get things done.  In order to do right by the people who have claims in the system and to donors, we can’t just wait for the last person living to turn out the lights.  Group One is making the plan to wind down service operations and to address “property rights” and so forth.  There is another work group that is trying to figure out how Vietnam Veterans and their supporters can transfer the mission of the VVA to people who are not allowed to join VVA, so that the mission continues.  Members will vote on whether to implement a plan that will transfer our mission, our income sources, our processes and our property to a brand new service organization.

No matter how that vote comes out, every State Council and every Chapter faces a changing future.  They will run out of members and the mission will remain undone.  Something different is in our future, guaranteed.  Fortunately, the Great Lakes Councils have already begun planning for what comes next.  Also, fortunately, the Councils and Chapters don’t have to do exactly the same thing the National organization chooses to do.

It may seem like I’m wandering a bit here.  So, let’s bring it back to the basics.  Elections are coming up for the Chapter in April.  I believe now would be a great time for a few newer members to step into leadership roles, partly to share the load with those who have been doing the work for decades, and partly to bring new energy and new ideas to the table as we look forward to the next few years of change at the national level that will impact what we do locally.

Our membership continues to grow in part because people recognize that we do important work and we do it well.  Once people find out about it, they want to be a part of it.  After you join, becoming an officer or a board member is your next step.  There is a lot that we are doing well and don’t need to change.  Make no mistake about that.  I’m proud of the Chapter and AVVA and I’m grateful for our donors who recognize and support the good we do.  However, like it or not, change is coming.  I think it would be great if we could get a couple new people in leadership roles who are excited about helping the Chapter embrace change and carry the good work we do into the next phase of our existence.

De Oppresso Liber

Jon Luke


(By the way, that is the motto of the US Army Special Forces.  For those who may not know, Special Forces Soldiers are the ones who wear the Green Beret.  What that motto means to us is, “to free the oppressed.”)