VVA chapter 864
P.O. Box 2535
Robertsdale, AL 36567
President---Terry Skinner -- 251-928-1557
Vice President--- Mark Oehler --- 417-272-3369
Treasurer--- Val Obregon -- 251-937-0847
Membership Chairman Ron Moore 251-747-6796
Meets: 4th Tuesday Café’ Acadiana in Silverhill, Al. 13:00-14:00
Meetings every month/ except November and December.
Leads Community Effort
To Support Deployed Local Troops
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 guerrilla 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.
**VVA JOE BIRINDELLI CHAPTER 864 A BRIEF HISTORY**
Some of you have asked me about our VVA Chapter and how it came into being. I have gone back through numerous minutes and documentations of our beginning. This is what I have put together thus far. Before I send it out to you, I have enlisted the help from many of those who were with me as we began our journey together. It will take more than one mind to accurately pass along the history to you. I have enlisted minds who are much sharper than mine for correction, additions or deletions in order that I present the history in the most accurate manner possible.
The idea of a VVA chapter for our county came about due the Lower Alabama Vietnam Memorial. This Memorial was an effort of love which had been started several years before me and others became involved in making it a reality. One by one, veterans from Korea, Vietnam and even some came together to work on this remembrance of those Vietnam Veterans who gave all from our state and the adjoining counties of Mobile and Baldwin. Yes, young veterans helping the older veterans to build this special place of remembrance.
As we worked together through the week and on Saturday - as well as some Sunday work we talked. During one of these discussions we realized that many of us who were taking time to get this most worthwhile project completed were from Baldwin County. The talks evolved into a full discussion about starting a VVA chapter in our county. Due to the support of our Mother Chapter, VVA Chapter 701, Mobile, Alabama and especially Tom Schwarz, President, we began the process to the founding of our chapter. The point of the spear of this project was Tom Schwarz and Joe Birindelli. Although we were all involved, it was these two veterans who took the bull by the horns.
The years of 1997 and 1998 would prove to be two years of hard work, disappointments, a lot of tears as just we who served talked and remembered after a long day's labor about our friends who never came home from 'Nam. We shared mountain top experiences and finally, a successful crossing of the finish line as our chapter came together. I will not go into the details of submitting all of the paperwork, IRS requirements, appointing various members of our chapter to handle certain responsibilities and choosing interim officers to serve until we received the charter.
As far as I can determine the first "unofficial meeting" of VVA 864 was held on November 17, 1999. We met at the VFW on Helen Street in Fairhope, Alabama. All of the officers who had agreed to serve were interim. President Joe Adler, Chapter President was absent, and Vice President Joe Birindelli handled Joe Adler's duties. Secretary Ron Moore was also absent due to a prior commitment and Joe Birindelli took the minutes. Treasurer Paul Stierwalt was absent due to a prior commitment. The AVVA was represented by Mrs. Terry Rose.
Tom Schwarz, President of VVA Chapter 701, was present and offered any assistance to the group that he or our mother chapter could give to us as needed. The number of chapter members for this meeting was recorded as seven. The only member mentioned in the minutes was Joe Birindelli. We were in the leaning stage at this time.
Chapter meetings continued to be held January through September, 1999. These meetings were unofficial, but we were headed to become a fully charted organization. During the September, 1999, meeting, Interim President Joe Birindelli (Joe Adler had stepped aside as interim president) informed those of us who were present that our charter would be presented in October, 1999. President Birindelli and VVA Chapter 701 President Tom Schwarz would be attending the Alabama State Veterans Council Meeting in Birmingham to receive the chapter charter.
It was during the September, 1999, chapter "unofficial meeting" which several suggestions were made for our soon-to-be official chapter:
1) Richard Arnold suggested that we immediately secure a P. O. Box for our new chapter. Motion Passed.
2) Joan Drawdy recommended that we look at several areas which would give our new chapter the necessary publicity and recognition. Everyone present agreed we did need to explore this idea.
3) President VVA Chapter 701, Tom Schwarz recommended that in conjunction to the suggestion by Joan Drawdy, we should seek out Vietnam and Era veterans from that particular period and let them know that a new VVA Chapter had been formed. President Schwarz had attempted to help us in every way and he was often at the meetings to give us guidance and advice. Thank You, Tom for all of your efforts!
Our new chapter was officially named: Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 864. In February, 2018, the chapter was renamed: Vietnam Veterans of America Joe Birindelli Chapter 864. We have seen our membership grow from the original charter members (23) to our current membership as of this date (October, 2019) 69. We have also had the honor of adding members of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America to our ranks. In 2005, the following ladies were the first to become AVVA Members: Linda Baker, Janie Stierwalt and Eulalie Duffill. As of this date (October 2019) there are twelve Associates. Nine of these Associates are Life Members. Thank You, Associates for your continued support. We really could not have done, nor could we accomplish as much in our chapter activities without your input, organizational skills and most welcome suggestions. Thank You!
CHARTER MEMBERS WHO ARE STILL ACTIVE AS OF THIS DATE (SEPTEMBER, 2018):
Anthony (Tony) Pittman, Joe Birindelli, Barry Booth, Brian Duffill, Richard Arnold, Jeffery Gibbs, and Ron Moore.
CHARTER MEMBERS WHO SUPPORT THE CHAPTER, BUT MAY BE UNABLE TO ATTEND MEETINGS DUE TO HEALTH PROBLEMS OR OTHER SITUATIONS:
CHARTER MEMBERS WHOSE STATUS IS UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME:
Ronnie McBride, Leonard Givens, Jr., Charles Issac, William LaCoste, William F. Harrell, R. E. Hobaugh, James Cumbie, Bill Schuler, Kenneth Payne, Kenneth Robinson. (if anyone knows these charter members and has any updated information to share, I would appreciate it. Also, I did not list Joe Adler the first unofficial chapter president due to the fact I could not find any documentation of any meeting he attended, nor could I locate any membership application). Any information on Joe Adler will certainly be appreciated.
KNOWN CHARTER MEMBERS WHO ARE DECEASED AND WE HAVE A DECEASED RECORD IN CHAPTER FILES:
TAPS: JOHN MICHAEL DAVIS, BOBBY HEMPFING, CLINTON RUDOLPH, PAUL STIERWALT, CARL MIMS, WILLIAM HARRISON. (As I write these names, personally my heart is heavy. I knew and worked with all of these - our charter members. Our list of the final roll call has grown with time).
Our chapter meetings are held every 4th Tuesday at 1400 Hours (2:00 P.M.) of the month, January - October. We encourage anyone who desires to join us for a pre meeting social ( "Meet and Eat" ) at Café' Acadiana which is located on County Road 104 in Silverhill, Alabama. We welcome everyone who has a desire to attend our chapter meetings. For those Veterans who served our nation between the February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975 (Boots on the ground and "in country), and any duty station between August 6, 1964 - May 7, 1975 qualify as Vietnam Veterans. The cost for life membership is $100.00. Our chapter pays for the VVA and AVVA Life Membership Fee.
Ron Moore, VVA JOE BIRINDELLI CHAPTER SECRETARY/MEMBERSHIP CHAIRMAN 10/2019
Alabama Vietnam Veterans of America Website
Send updates to email@example.com