To All Michigan Chapter Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association Members and Associates
As we approach the end of the year I send everyone my best wishes for the holiday season. Since our membership, including associates, is comprised of many “seasoned” aviators and others with many years of service I also wish all of you good health and happiness.
As veterans we understand the sacrifices faced by those currently in uniform and thank them along with their families for their service to our country.
We currently have 124 members and associates on our Michigan Chapter roster: 98 members and 26 associates. Unofficially there are 111 Army, 8 Marines, 2 Air Force, 2 Navy, and 1 Coast Guard within our ranks. We added 1 new member in 2022, but 2 left the area and asked to be removed from our roster.
The treasury currently has $836.17. I have again not made a call for dues this year as our treasury is sufficient for our currently limited expenses, but some have contributed dues and other donations and I thank you for your support.
We were able to restart a few events that had been cancelled 2021. Mark Benjamin, Glenn Youngstedt, Ed Canright, and Dave James hosted or participated in multiple activities and were joined by other members, other veterans, or family and friends. Behind the scenes activities involved others including Glen Veno, and Bob Rich. Reports on these activities along with photos were sent out via email to all Michigan Chapter members and associates and VHPA members would have also seen them in the Michigan Chapter submissions to the VHPA Aviator. I am grateful for all of their efforts in keeping the Michigan Chapter alive.
Many of our chapter members and associates are actively involved with other veterans groups. As a great example the Northwestern Michigan Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) noted that their “Chapter Vice President Mark Benjamin was recognized as ‘Veteran of the Year’ by the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition. Mark has been very active in veterans’ organizations, including the Northwestern Michigan Chapter of MOAA, the Coast Guard Aviation Association, and the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association.”
In their newsletter the MOAA Chapter went on to report that three of their chapter members received Quilts of Valor during ceremonies at the Traverse City Elks Lodge on Veterans Day. They were Walter Topp, Bart Halliday, and Fritz Barratt. Walter and Bart are Michigan Chapter VHPA members and Fritz is an associate. Congratulations to all.
You may recall from the 2021 End of Year Report that Walter Topp also represents our Michigan Chapter in the Northwest Michigan Veterans Coalition which serves some 8,500 veterans in their region.
Looking ahead to 2023, Bob Rich is planning chapter outings at the Yankee Air Museum’s monthly historic presentation night. And Ken Hand is planning to try to get a group together to go to the Reno Air Races next year. This Fantastic Event is scheduled for September 13-17. Also next fall there may be a unique opportunity for those of us who still like to pheasant hunt. Joe Meredith revealed that the Marion Michigan 1st Responders/Veterans Organization sponsors two hour pheasant hunts at a farm site that they have. The hunt is conducted for FREE and a guide with dog is provided with each group. Other attractions, activities, and gatherings will be announced as they become available. Stay tuned for more information on these events. How’s that for a tease?
As we all age together I realize it becomes more challenging to participate in our events. But I do encourage that anyone/everyone consider hosting a gathering or joining a local event when conditions are right for you. Such opportunities continue to slip away so take advantage of hosting or attending if you can. Let me know the details of anything you want to host and I’ll spread the word.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you and your families, to our active service members around the world, and to all our fellow veterans.
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