AVVA 310 

The AVVA is an informal group of people interested in supporting the activities and programs of Chapter 310.


AVVA 310 meets every month one hour before the regular VVA310 membership meeting.  
Location: 3230 S. Wagner Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
Date: Second Thursday of each month
Time: 6:00 PM
Agenda: Plan upcoming events


l-r Shirley Hitte, Bonnie Hall, Cheryl Ward, Meni Draper, Sandy Martinez, Libby Price, Corrine Gignac, Kathy Driscoll, Jane Kinzinger


Click on the above to view individual Friends images                                      

Anyone interested in VVA310 and it activities is welcome to join the Friends group. Simply show your commitment with a donation of $20, which goes into our treasury and is used to support various events and projects of AVVA Chapter 310 (link to come for membership form.) Mail to the address indicated on the Application. Dues are due annually in February. If you join after April, your dues for the following year are waived.

Friends meet the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at VFW Post 423, 3230 S. Wagner Road, Ann Arbor (between Ellsworth and Waters Roads, acorss from Town & Country Auto Recycling). Our meetings are an hour in length and are very informal and friendly. Each meeting has a brief agenda. All Friends are welcome to attend the regular Chapter 310 membership meeting at 7:00, immediately following the Friends meeting. Coffee and pop is available, and there is always foods for snacking and desserts to be enjoyed during our Friends meeting and the Chapter meeting. The target for ending the evening is 8:30 p.m. There is plenty of parking right outside the building.


Friends are dedicated to maintaining the flower beds at our Vietnam Memorial.

Currently there are 33 Friends of VVA 310 and 7 Honorary Friends. Dues are due annually in February. If you join after April, your dues for the following year are waived.

The Mission of the Friends of Chapter 310 is to support the efforts of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 310, and to assist and promote the events and projects of Chapter 310 for the benefit of all veterans and their families.

The Friends group is an informal group of people interested in supporting VVA 310. There are currently 33 Friends. Members are wives of Vietnam Veterans, children of Vietnam Veterans, sisters, aunts, and  friends. The Friends group began in about 1999. At that time most of these people were "Associate Vietnam Veterans." That was the classification give to members of VVA who were not Vietnam Veterans or Vietnam Era Veterans.

In 1998, when VVA was 20 years old, the Internal Revenue Service met with VVA to resolve the "Associate" issue. The IRS has very specific rules for tax exempt organizations (501 {c}\'s) and for organizations which receive contributions that are tax deductible to the donor. Two of these rules, which pertain to membership, related to VVA\'s associates at the time. The first rule was that a veterans organization that wants to be tax exempt under 501 (c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code must ensure that least 75 percent of the organizations members be past or present members of the U.S. Armed Forces....and that at least 90% of its members are war veterans. VVA could comply with these rules easily if its associates were not considered members.  Over the years, the IRS had questioned how associates were treated, what benefits they received, how they functioned within the VVA structure, whether they had the right to vote, etc.

To comply with IRS and to avoid stiff penalties, the Associate members were advised to transfer to another type of 501 (c) organization and for VVA to restructure. This brought VVA into compliance and allowed AVVA to initiate planning for its new organization. That\'s when AVVA as it currently stands began.  National officers were elected and bylaws written. All Associates were automatically members of the new AVVA.

The people on Chapter 310 who were Associates discussed this at many meetings in the following months and decided not to become an AVVA Chapter. (Some did join the AVVA but did not start a Chapter affiliated with VVA 310.) Instead, we became know as "Friends" of VVA 310. We did not elect officers We decided on dues of $20 a year which would stay in the Chapter and provide a fund for the Friends to use on selected projects. The Associate Liaison position was eliminated, and Friends agreed to take turns chairing our meetings. Everyone has equal voice and is free to determine their involvement level.  It\'s all voluntary. And yet, it has thrived and been successful because we do it  for the Chapter. We are doing basically the same thing we did under the prior organization arrangement but do it informally. In fact, the group has grown from about 20 to the current 33 Friends. People have come and gone, joined and moved away, been involved then not; but there is a core group that has lasted for over 10 years in this setting.

Now there is an AVVA Chapter affiliated with VVA 310. Anyone joining the Friends group can also join AVVA if they want to support the projects and mission of that group. While similar to the Friends group, they are part of the larger National AVVA organization. Information on AVVA may be found at  www.avva.org.


Once you have joined Friends, you will be given a pin that we have chosen as a nice
symbol of our group. It is a flag-draped cross, unlike any you might have seen.

Friends also like to have a Friends shirt, with our Friends logo, which is a tree with
a yellow ribbon around the trunk. The shirts may be ordered with your name
inscribed on the right breast. Blue windbreaker type jackets are also available to
order. These shirts and jackets are often worn in parades and at parties and other
events where Chapter members and Friends are gathered.

For more information, contact Jane Kinzinger by email or through telephone

Members receive an electronic copy of The Dispatch, which is the Chapter 310
monthly newsletter. New members receive a "Friends\' Pin" when they attend
their first monthly meeting.

The monthly agenda for the Friends\' meeting is sent out by email. These will keep
new members informed of Friends and Chapter activities. Members and guests
meet and enjoy the company of others who want to be involved with Vietnam
Veterans but are not eligible for VVA 310 membership.

See Bios of Friends. . . 





Good Standing Application



CITY________________________ STATE___________ ZIP_____

TELEPHONE__________________      CELL PHONE___________

EMAIL _______________________________________________

DATE OF BIRTH - MONTH __________  DAY _________________

Affiliation with Member (if any) ______________________________

Mail completed application to:

Friends of VVA 310

Box 3221

Ann Arbor, MI 48106


Friends march in parades with Chapter 310; we participate in VVA310 activities (for example, visiting the VA Hospital); we maintain the flower beds at Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Ypsilanti Township).
We assist with ceremonies at our Memorial.
We support Sons and Daughters in Touch.
We knit helmet liners and sew neck coolers for deployed troops.
We assist with packing care packages to our deployed servicemen and women.
We host a Vietnam Veteran Goldstar Mothers luncheon annually for families of those men on our Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
One Friend is in charge of the Food Pantry which provides food when requested by area Vietnam Veterans who are in need. This Friend also takes care of sending flowers to bereaved families of the Chapter. 

Our main focus is always to support Chapter 310 and its activities.

Photo of parades.....

Friends have used the money collected from membership donations to purchase items for the VVA 310 chapter and for activities involving the Chapter or veterans.

Recurring expenses of the Friends group include:

1. Spring Flowers for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan
2. Fall and winter greens for the Memorial.
3. Gold Star Mothers\' Luncheon and gifts
4. Pins for new Friends members
5. Valentine\'s Day Sock Hop for VVA 310 families and friends
6. Cooling scarves and helmet liners for our troops deployed overseas
7. Sons and Daughters in Touch annual donation.



The generous yearly donations of Friends has made it possible to purchase and donate several substantial items to VVA 310.

A storage shed was needed at the site of our Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ypsilanti Township. This is used to store the riding lawn mower and other tools used to maintain the grounds around our Memorial. The Friends purchased the storage shed used to house and protect the equipment.

Two Chapter Banners were designed and paid for by the Friends group in 2009. The larger banner is used at fairs and events where it is desirable to have "Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 310" very visible. The smaller banner, with the same Vietnam emblem in the center and Vietnam ribbon colors, is carried in local parades. Usually Friends carry the banner to identify our Chapter as we march in parades in Ypsilanti, Milan, Chelsea, Saline, and Clinton.

Friends Tree

A Bradford Pear Tree was purchased and planted on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2003. This tree has a brass plaque identifying it as "Friends Tree, in Memory of Theresa Mullins." This tree was planted in memory of Theresa who was a dear Friend of VVA 310 and wife of Tom Mullins. Theresa passed away April7, 2002. This pear tree stands in her memory and for all Friends of VVA 310.

See more....

Remembrance of Theresa Mullins May 10, 2007, who passed away April 7, 2002. A Bradford Pear Tree was planted in her honor on May 11, 2003.

On May 11, 2003, Friends of Chapter 310 VVA gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to dedicate a tree in remembrance of Theresa Mullins, one of our fellow Friends who passed away on April 7, 2002, at the young age of 50.

The Friends of Chapter 310 wanted a fitting tribute to the memory of our wonderful Friend, Theresa, because she was such an important part of our Chapter and such a steadfast helper of all veterans, especially those patients she helped at the VA Hospital.

The Bradford tree that stands behind the Memorial was selected then planted May 11, 2003, to stand as a reminder of our beloved Theresa and a symbol of the support all Friends of Chapter 310 provide.

We selected the special spot where the Bradford Pear was planted. It overlooks the Memorial and provides a lovely frame for it, especially when it is blooming in the spring. This lovely tree reminds us of the beautiful person we lost to cancer.

A bronze plaque at the base of the tree reads, "Friends Tree, in Memory of Theresa Mullins." We miss her and remember her always. Sandra Martinez was responsible for ordering the plaque.   





Friends collect old cell phones, chargers, batteries, etc., for recycling into calling cards for our troops. Each phone recycled provides an hour of talk-time to our brave service personnel overseas. University of Phoenix, 315 E. Eisenhower, in Ann Arbor, will accept these items. Other Remax locations may be found at their website at www.detroitmetrorealestete.com where you may read about the cause and register your soldier for their FREE calling card! Their mission is to help our troops call home. 

 To date, Friends and Chapter 310 have donated 1339 phones.

Bring your old cell phones and accessories  to any Friends meeting or VVA 310 event. It will be dropped off at a Remax office. You can take a tax deduction for your donation.


While marching in area parades, Friends noticed many people (young and old) not standing up to acknowledge our nation\'s flag. We wrote letters to local school districts\' superintendents (Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti) to bring our concern to the schools. We offered information on proper flag etiquette to pass along to all students to ensure that our nation\'s flag is properly regarded and respected.

 Two important guidelines were highlighted. This information was taken from a flag etiquette website, www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagetiq.html.

How to "Pledge Allegiance" to the flag of the United States of America:

The pledge of Allegiance "should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, facing th eflag, and render the military salute." (Veterans not in uniform may render the military salute.)

How to properly acknowledge our nation\'s flag at parades and reviews, as it passes:

"During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Non-American citizens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes."

There was no response from either school regarding this concern. However, Friends felt that we had at least made an effort to address the issue of young people not knowing proper flag etiquette.



Friends also designed and purchased tee shirts which read "Stand up and Respect Your Flag." This is printed on the front of the tee shirt, along with an American Flag. The back of the tee shirt says "FRIENDS OF VVA 310." Each Friend paid for her own shirt. We found wearing them in parades encouraged the viewers along the parade route to rise and respect our flag.




"They Were Our Fathers and our Mothers"

 Sons and Daughters In Touch--SDIT: This is an organization for the sons and daughters of US Service members who were lost or reamin missing as a result of the war in Southeast Asia.

Get your SDIT Lapel Pin.

SDIT Mission Statement

To locate, unite and provide support to Sons, Daughters and other family members of those who died or remain missing as a result of the Vietnam War; to produce a quarterly newsletter providing important information to all SDIT stakeholders; to promote healing via networking and special projects, to regularly address high schools and college classes in hopes of providing education on the historical and emotional legacy of war.

Friends make an annual donation to this organization. They are currently launching a project to raise a dollar (or more) for each of the 58,256 names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the nation\'s capital. This charitable initiative will collect donations to support the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center at The Wall. www.sdit.org.



Since2008, 2009, the Friends have hosted a luncheon for Vietnam Gold Star mothers who are still in the area. Many families of those killed in Vietnam have either died, moved away or are getting frail. There are a few mothers still in the Ann Arbor who can meet the Friends at Weber\'s Restarant for lunch in September or October. Friends pay for their lunch and present them with a small gift. They are so appreciative of our efforts to get them together and to remember them and the sacrifice of their sons. All Vietnam Gold Star Mothers are invited to attend. We would love to meet more mothers.

The name Gold Star Mothers was derived from the custom of military families who put a service flag near their front window. The flag featured a star for each family member serving their country. Living members were denoted in blue, but gold stars honored family members who were killed while in duty. It may be seen on a service flag or in the form of a pin, which is worn by Gold Star mothers. The pin is not limited to mothers and it is awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., was incorpirated in 1929, obtaining a federal charter from the U. S. Congress. It began with 25 mothers living in the Washington, D.C., area and soon expanded to include affiliated groups throughout the nation. On June 23, 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother\'s Day, a holiday that has been observed each year by a presidential proclamation.

September 27, 2015, was Gold Star Mother\'s Day. It is a day for people to recognize and honor those who have lost a son or daughter while serving the United States Armed Forces. American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., is an organization of mothers whose sons or daughters served and died while serving their nation in times of war or conflict. It organizes major events that take place on or around Gold Star Mother\'s Day each year (www.goldstarmoms.com).

There is legislation in Congress to build a Gold Star National Monument. House Bill HR 4197 introduced on December 3, 2009, authorized the Gold Star Mother\'s National Monument foundation to establish a monument in the Washington. D. C., area. This would be for all mothers who know the grief of losing a child in the service of our country, to promote a bond of kinship, and to engage in support for servicemen, the veterans community and others who memorialized our nation\'s defenders.




October 11, 1996, was a memorable date. On this day the "time capsule" was cemented in place within the foundation holding the plaque explaining the Memorial. Chapter members enclosed pictures and information in this capsule. The names of those present at this event were also noted on the capsule. This information will be interesting to anyone who might come across this many years from now. It will help explain the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, its history and the story behind it.




"Friend of the Year" is the recognition given to the active Friend who has demonstrated outstanding dedication and commitment to the activities and events of the Friends group and VVA 310. This is the Friend who has been involved with many activities during the previous year and deserves recognition for those efforts.

 Each year in January Friends are asked to give consideration to a Friend they consider as having given notable time and effort to assisting Friends and VVA 310 meet their goals of helping veterans and their families. At the February Friends meeting, Friends write down their nomination and a few reasons for that nomination. If a Friend cannot attend the February meeting, they may nominate their favorite Friend by email or by phone call to the previously named Friend of the Year. The previous-year Friend of the Year tabulates the results and keeps this information confidential until the Recognition Dinner.

At the VVA 310 Recognition Dinner held annually in February, the Friend of the Year is announced and presented with a certification and flowers for her outstanding efforts during the past year. The honor is presented by the person named Friend of the Year in the previous year.

This tradition began in 1996 when the first Friend of theYear was named. Since that time, the following Friends have been given the honor of Friend of the Year.

Leah Powers 1996
April Boggs 1997
Theresa Mullins 1998
Barbara Lowe 1999
Rose Blackwell 2000
Jane Kinzinger 2001
Sandra Martinez 2002
Doris Knight 2003
Sharon Manning 2004
Regena Hecker 2005
Patricia VanVuren 2006
Lois Perrault 2007
Libby Price 2008
Cynthia Olcott 2009
Cheryl Ward 2010
Kathy Driscoll 2011
Bonnie Hall 2012
Marge Ballou 2013
Sharon Kwiecinski 2014
Minerva Draper & Shirley Hitte 2015
Kathy Driscoll 2016

Friends also acknowledge "Honorary Members." Honorary Members are those people who have contributed greatly to the Friends group, either with the gift of money or by their service to the Friends group or VVA 310. Their membership dues are waived because of their generosity.

Beverley Wagener                            2009          Seattle, WA
Nacee Hay 2009 Indialantic, FL
Jerry Bryant 2010 Ypsilanti, MI
Theresa Hadley 2010 Ypsilanti, MI
Destiny Eadie 2011 Belleville, MI
Mike Eadie 2011 Belleville, MI
Shanda Eadie 2011 Belleville, MI
Lynn Liston 2012 Ann Arbor, MI
Stacey Mason 2012 Farmington Hills, MI
Kelly Trudell 2012 Grass Lake, MI
Gary Vancena 2013 Adrian, MI
Doris Novak 2014 Ypsilanti, MI
Ken Weber 2015 Ann Arbor, MI
Cynthia Calhoun 2016 Saline