A local affiliate of Vietnam Veterans of America recently received certification from the state and the national chapters of VVA and proceeded to organize a five-member board of directors and a slate of officers.
It took more than six months of spreading the word and testing the waters to verify there was an interest and a need for a local VVA chapter.
“We needed 25 members to become certified,” said Rich Krejsa, the newly elected president who, with Ron Bottomly, did the legwork to create the local chapter. “We have 94 members. It’s important to have a local chapter in this area, and we made it!”
Other officers include Max Hixon, who is vice president, Michael Moody, who is secretary, and Greg Conroy, who is treasurer.
Members of the first board of directors are Ron Bottomly, Jim Ferguson, Morley Levine, John Mather and John Mills.
“I’m super proud of the people who stepped forward to create this organization,” said Terry Yates, president of VVA’s Tennessee council. “That was the easy part, now the work begins.”
The mission of VVA is to help other veterans.
“As time goes by, a lot of veterans have a tendency to isolate themselves,” Krejsa said. “Our motto is to never leave another generation behind, but also, we don’t want to leave any one of us behind.”
Krejsa asked the new members to begin their mission by developing friendships within the organization and creating a buddy system to check on each other. He also wants the organization to create a positive public image of Vietnam veterans by becoming a supportive member of the community and, he reiterated, by “supporting all veterans.”
“Not again will we ever allow one generation (of veterans) to abandon another,” he said.
Anyone who served in the military between 1964 and 1975 is eligible to become a VVA member. In-country service is not required and Chapter 1140 is eager to see its numbers grow.
For information about becoming a member, contact Krejsa at
firstname.lastname@example.org, call 615-791-9012 or stop by the next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Monday Sept. 16 at the Williamson County Enrichment Center in Academy Park, at 110 Everbright Ave. in Franklin.
Spouses and friends are also welcome. The next project is organizing a Vietnam Veterans of America associates chapter to support the veterans’ activities.