VVA chapter 864
P.O. Box 2535
Robertsdale, Al 36567
President Terry Skinner --- 251-928-1557—firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Ronald M. Moore--------251-233-1324—email@example.com
Treasurer Val Obregon -------251-937-0847— firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Chairman Ron Moore 251-233-1324
Meets: 4th Tuesday 7 PM American Legion Post 199
Meetings: Jan-June & Sept-Oct
Leads Community Effort
To Support Deployed Local Troops
** Joe Birendelli has once again answered the country's call and is now serving along side his wife Sissy as a civilian employee in Iraq. Joe works for the government as a civil engineer and Sissy is employed with a civilian contractor in computers and programming. We hope to see them home in August or September.
“NEVER AGAIN will one generation of veterans abandon another” – a motto that Chapter 864 has put into action. Shortly after the war in Iraq started last year, members of the chapter decided that there was a better way to show tangible support for our troops than just waving flags and putting up yellow ribbons.
In June 2003 Joe Birindelli, representing Chapter 864 as a past President and a member of its Board, organized key local activists to support the troops and families of a local National Guard unit that had been deployed to Iraq. The 1165th Military Police Company, whose armory is located in Fairhope, was activated in March 2003 and arrived in Baghdad in late May to establish several police stations and train Iraqi police.
It became quickly evident that many of the families of National Guard soldiers were not equipped to handle the challenge they faced. Not only were they faced with loneliness and fear, but also many were faced with significant reductions in their income. The pay scale for E-3s and E-4s is significantly less than what many earned in their civilian jobs, and what had been considered extra income for families struggling with several kids, had suddenly become the only income.
Working closely with the unit’s Family Readiness Group, Citizens for Local Troop Support, the community based group that Birindelli organized, quickly started providing tangible assistance to the families in need. With a strong groundswell of support from the entire Mobile region, the committee has been able to provide almost $9,000 in direct aide for mortgage payments, rent, utilities, home repairs, car repairs, and even groceries. In addition, numerous local businesses, organizations, and churches have provided materials and labor worth thousands of dollars more to help these families. Working with local veterans and civic organizations, they also put on Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and sponsored Santa Claus for the children of the families. The committee has proved to be a focal point for the people in the area to contribute towards the support of our trips.
In addition to helping the families, the group has seen that the soldiers of the local unit have received mail and packages. The support group led a drive that resulted in over 800 Christmas packages being sent to the 120-man unit in Baghdad.
The 1165th has been in the thick of the guerilla war in Iraq, suffering one casualty and several seriously wounded in numerous ambushes and attacks. The unit is due to rotate home later this spring, and everyone is hoping and praying for their speedy and safe return.
Alabama Vietnam Veterans of America Website
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