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Spring, 2011

Vol. 15, No. 1

commander’s Remarks By Commander Ramos


his year has been a very exciting year! We have begun to show the great state of California what it means to be an AMVET! I am pleased that we are making giant strides towards victory. We are attaining victory in many areas of our organization. But, we need to keep focused and we need to continue to strive toward excellence. With Spring around the corner, take inventory of your post. What do you want to accomplish this year? It is my hope that you begin to reach out to the community, take stock in your area and contribute to where there is a need. I was fortunate to visit the Veteran’s Home of California at Yountville. It is a wonderful place. I would like to thank Commander Orlando Resendez for taking the time to show me around. And, I would like to thank Mr. Dick Hum, for allowing me to visit the different areas and setting up the tour. I was able to meet several wonderful people and to enjoy the beautiful campus and scenery. I was also honored to be a speaker at the monthly Memorial Service. Special thanks to Chaplain Sarchipone for that privilege. One of the many perks of being commander is being able to visit places like Yountville. Another event I was honored to attend was the Four Chaplains Memorial Service Presented by Post 22 in Visalia. Commander Amador Garcia and Adjutant (and Department Finance Officer) Jerry Guevara did a fabulous job of putting this together. The speakers told a very moving and inspirational story that I had never heard. Events like these need to happen across the state. There are too many stories like the Four Chaplains that are not taught to our youth. Department Executive Committee Meeting this January was a huge success. Reports are that it was the most heavily attended DEC in recent history. We were fortunate to have Mr. Mike Bledsoe from the Foundation to teach us a class in effective grant writing. He laid it on the table and his class was very informative. Thank you for your hard work Mr. Bledsoe. We also had a great Women Veterans Committee Meeting. Special thanks to District Commander Ann Reeder for her dedication and spirit. Her drive and commitment to women veterans is a great example for us all. Our next challenge will be at our State Convention and National Convention. I challenge each of you to dig deep and make every effort to attend both events. The Department of California is counting on you to make each event a huge success. Our goal is to have 200 delegates in St. Louis! If you need any information on how you can attend please call me or the Department Headquarters. 

Past Commander Passes


immie D. Adams was born August 12, 1940 in Wister, Oklahoma. He passed away February 9, 2011 at the age of 70. Jimmie made his career in the Navy as a Signal Man (rank E6) for 20 years. He was a member of a few different organizations: AMVETS Post 56, where he served as past Post Commander in 1981 & 1991, as well as Department of California Commander in 1984.

Commander Ramos

Commander Ramos with Alex Haley

Cmdr & Mrs Ramos having fun at the Santa Maria DEC.


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PAWS With a Cause Deb Davis, National Marketing Director for PAWS With a Cause, Sheryl Shaffer, AMVETS CA Dist. 4 Cmdr., and Kevin Stone, U.S. Army, Retired and PAWS With A Cause Service Dog client. Donate to AMVETS AMVETS programs change lives every day. Keep vital resources available to vets in need.

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The Voice is published quarterly by Midwest Publishing, Inc. Any articles or photographs received after the deadlines will be held for the next edition. All articles must be signed to be printed. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission for clarity, brevity, etc. The opinions expressed in The Voice are those of the authors and not necessarily the opinion of the AMVETS Department of California. Submit articles to: California AMVETS Voice, Attn: Rod Blackman 120 North “M” Street Tulare, CA 93274 or E-mail:

DEPARTMENT OFFICERS FOR 2010-2011 Commander Charles Ramos


1st Vice Commander Jerry Greer


2nd Vice Commander Mike Clay


Northern Area Commander Bud Simmons


Central Area Commander Frank Guerra


Southern Area Commander John Bernier


Finance Officer Jerry Guevara


Judge Advocate Chuck Kissel


Provost Marshal Ben Aguayo


N.E.C. Person Ronald Ferrara


Alt. N.E.C. Person Filbert Bejarano


Officer at Large Baldy Salmon


Officer at Large Ray Delgado


Chaplain Tom Sarchipone


Chief of Staff Jeff Sharp


2—California AMVETS Voice

120 North “M” Street

T.O.C. Officer’s Reports.....................................................................................


Area Commander's Reports...................................................................


Membership/Upcoming Events..............................................................


District 6/Americanism............................................................................ 8 Certificate of Appreciation....................................................................... 9 Project Gold Star................................................................................... 10 Coterie Group 2011...............................................................................


Santa Maria DEC.................................................................................... 14 Post Reports.......................................................................................... 16 Sad Sacks/Stories of Service........................................................


Vol. 15, No. 1

2nd Vice Commander's Report By Mike Clay

Hello again! We came through the first six months in pretty good shape. I want to thank each and every one of you for your reporting. We finished the period with 96% of the Posts reporting, which in reality is 100%, because we have some defunct Posts still on the books. Well Done. Once again we are starting a reporting period. Yes , it’s neverending. So please be sure to report your activities AS YOU DO THEM because if you wait, some activities will not get reported because you forgot the details. I want to ask each of you to do something. As you go about your daily routines in your towns and cities, please wear your AmVets cap or insignia. We need to show the world that we are AMVETS and proud of it. Sure, some of us have stickers on our vehicles, and wear our hats at meetings, but how many of us are shouting out “We are AmVets from California, and damned proud of it?” Please show your pride in your post and the department. I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the Department Convention in June. Keep up the good work. IF YOU DIDN’T WRITE IT DOWN, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. Mike Clay Department 2nd Vice Commander Department of California

Benefits Please visit the National website, and click the “Member Benefits” button on the left hand side of the page, or go directly to and note the various providers that AMVETS has as providers of benefits.

Legislative Advocate's Report By Pete Conaty


MVETS: Senator Darrell Steinberg, the President Pro-Tem of the State Senate, today named the members of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs:

Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) - Chair Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) - Vice Chair Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) Doug La Malfa (R-Richvale) Gloria Negrete-McLeod (D-Chino) Mike Rubio (D-East Bakersfield) 

Contact info, district office locations, biographies, district maps, etc can be found at:

Assemblyman Paul Cook introduces AB 1209 to restore the funding for veterans services


alifornia State Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucaipa), Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs and retired Colonel (USMCRet) has introduced AB 1209 which seeks to restore the full funding for the County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO’s) and the Veterans Re-integration Project {aka Operation Welcome Home (OWH)}. Veterans Service Organizations with a strong showing by AMVETS, Department of California lobbied hard for the restoration of the funding that was deleted in its entirety in the Governor’s January budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011 (July 2011 to July 2012). AMVETS Legislative Chair Lorraine Plass spent numerous days at the Capitol testifying before budget committees and visiting legislators and key budget staff. The goal was to restore the full $7.6 million which had been in the last fiscal year’s budget and the $2.3 million for OWH. As the CVSO’s lobbied In the midst of this endeavor the Governor’s Department of Finance, in response to the state’s worsening financial situation ($26 BILLION shortfall), went back into the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year and took away $5 million from CVSO’s and VSO’s $7.6 million. However, because of Continued on next page

It’s official,

Deadlines for Quarterly Submissions by Issue

Issue Convention Book Vol. 15, No. 2 Vol. 15, No. 3 Vol. 15, No. 4 Vol. 16, No. 1

Vol. 15, No. 1

Deadline April 1 June 1 September 1 December 1 March 1

DD-214’s are NOW Online

California AMVETS Voice—3

Legislative Reports, cont. from previous page the efforts of veterans groups to educate the Legislature and the Governor’s office on the importance of this funding to veterans they changed the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 allocation from zero to $2.6 million. Legislators who went above the call of duty in helping us fight to restore the funding were: Senator Mike Rubio (D- Bakersfield), Senator Doug La Malfa (RButte), Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-San Ramon), Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Biggs), Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) and Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Chico). Therefore, the battle we must now fight is to convince the Legislature and Governor to fully fund the CVSO / OWH budget to the full $11 million authorized by state law (state law authorizes the Legislature to allocate up to $11 million, provided the Legislature can be convinced to allocate that amount). Assemblyman Cook’s AB 1209 is now the vehicle to rally around in the battle to restore the CVSO / OWH funding. To give the bill the political punch needed to effect this change we need to get as many of Mr. Cook’s fellow legislators to join him as co-authors on the bill. To date the following legislators have joined as co-authors on AB 1209.

Department Legislative Chair

Lorraine Plass Department Legislative Chair his article is an update on the veterans service budget, what is going on in Sacramento and what we need to do. I recently spent several days over a two-week period at the state capitol representing the commander to lobby the legislature and testify on behalf of AMVETS. It was an eye opening experience. Here is what I have to report. It seems like a decade of State Budget woes. A week before the hearings, I read an article that suggested the politicians find money and go after it, especially in the “Untouchable programs like Veterans Affairs”. Really? I really had a hard time believing that one. But, guess what happened? Our funding for Operation Welcome Home is getting the “ax” – it’s true and county veterans service offices are being cut back to their previous level. While standing in line for a handout at the capitol, I was sure if we could convince the legislature that our programs produce THE VERY BEST results – they’d fund us again. After all, we convinced them last year! But, with a team of new Freshmen Legislators eager to balance the budget and the new Governor - all our work had little effect. We had some great people testify. Pete Conaty had representation from walks of every veteran’s life - even from the War. One particular gentleman, a C- 17 Aircraft Commander gave testimony about the wounded he had carried aboard his aircraft bound for safety. He spoke to the Assembly stating: “Our Native sons and daughter soldiers are returning home – and they are broken… They are really broken and need our help…” It rocked me to the core. It was good to see some legislators were moved by this and they voted for our funding in the sub-committee. First, I’ve got to tell you, we need representation constantly to establish a good working relationship at the Capitol. We need to work our agenda as hard as anyone else, not just at budget time. These legislators are making decisions about our future generation of veterans, and they have never walked in our boots before. They are gambling and playing with our allocations. Secondly, all too many of us assume someone else is going to show up to testify. I need more AMVETS to assist the process, so, if you live within a 50 mile radius, of the Capitol, chances are – I’ll be calling you soon. If we have one chance of assisting our returning veterans with help from the CVSO’s, we must do battle on another level. We need to turn the TV volume level on high for them to hear us.


4—California AMVETS Voice

Third, I’m going to remind you that in 2010, AMVETS created the National Legislative Agenda a priority to work to improve the lives of American Veterans. Then California followed suit. We need to re-focus in short order, because we lost the first battle with the budget, but, as Pete said, the war is not over. Those who have letters from the front they can copy and share, or Flip video clips they can send to me to share with our Legislators office at the Capitol – send ‘em in. Lastly, I NEED YOU to attend AMVETS Legislative Day on April 12th. We still have to wait for our bill to pass which may take time in this economy. While we were lobbying, Pete invited our legislators to support or co-author some of our upcoming Bills. Assembly Bill 1209, by Assemblyman Paul Cook (Col-R, USMC) aims to permanently resolve our CVSO funding issues - This is our Plan “B” – Back-up Plan. We need to start writing letters to our legislators about and showing up on their doorsteps to talk with. Now that we have our marching orders, let’s get busy! On a positive note for the day: We noticed the governor has a veteran of current conflict, in the front office. His name is Dustin and he proudly wears a service ribbon on his lapel. It’s a start people ! I really do hope to have more help legislatively, from members around in the State, in the form of support letters. I believe there are certain ideas that every member in this state that could share to make a difference in our strategy. You can help me develop ideas to help veterans. I salute you for your efforts over the years to aggressively advocate on behalf of America’s veterans. God bless you & God bless the United States of America Lorraine Plass AMVETS Dept of CA, Legislative Chairperson AMVETS Post 40 Judge Advocate 175 Foss Creek Circle, Healdsburg, CA 95448 707- 953- 6016



ete Conaty, Veteran’s Governmental Advocate, was awarded the California Department of Veterans Affairs Annual Secretary’s Award for 2010. The award was given in recognition of Mr. Conaty’s distinguished service to the nation and in acknowledgement of his invaluable contributions to California’s veterans over the past 15 years as a legislative advocate. Mr. Conaty is a lobbyist in Sacramento whose firm, Pete Conaty and Associates, represents the interests of California’s veterans, as well as other clients, before the State Legislature and state agencies, boards, and commissions. Mr. Conaty, on behalf of veterans service organizations, advocates for the benefits and services that California’s 2.1 million veterans and their families have earned

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by virtue of their service to this country. “I am deeply humbled and honored by this award” stated Conaty. “Advocating on behalf of veterans is the greatest job in the world”. Conaty has also been honored for his work by the California chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the National Guard Association. Pete Conaty (Lt.Col. USA-Ret) retired from the Army in 1985 and pursued a second career in the California Legislature. Pete served as a legislative staff person in a variety of positions in the State Assembly. In 1995 Conaty left the Legislature to start the lobbying firm of Pete Conaty and Associates. Pete, who is a Vietnam veteran, is passionate about veterans issues and is known around the Capitol as the “go-to guy” on all things related to veterans and the military. Pete represents the American Legion, AMVETS, CAL-MOAA, California State Commanders Veterans Council, California Association of County Veterans Service Officers, Student Veterans of California, and the Vietnam Veterans of America. In 2010 Pete was instrumental in helping to push through increased funding for the County Veterans Service Officers, and helping to broker agreements between AMVETs and the CDVA regarding the Gold Star License Plate Fund and Native American outreach. Pete and his firm monitor close to fifty pieces of veterans and military related legislation each legislative year as well as assisting AMVETS in formulating and shepherding through the process legislation sponsored and supported by the Department of California. Pete is one of the principal organizers of the State Assembly’s Annual Veteran of the Year luncheon of which the Department is a key sponsor. AMVETS is now well known to the Legislature and the Administration as a result of Pete’s advocacy and his organization of the yearly Day at the Capitol events in which AMVETS members from across California travel to the Capitol to educate legislators on veterans issues and support key legislation. AMVETS Department of California is proud to have Mr. Conaty on its team and assisting the Department in its goal of preserving freedom, supporting America’s defenders and serving her communities.

AMVETS or American Veterans was formed in 1944 to help WWII veterans obtain the benefits promised to them by the federal government. AMVETS continues this commitment to America’s veterans, their families, and the active military by assisting them to secure their earned entitlements.  AMVETS, Department of California has approximately 10,000 members and over 50 local posts. AMVETS strongly supports legislation to provide extended care services to veterans which will improve the needs of an aging veteran population as well as the new generation of veterans.  

From the Desk of the Executive Director By Rose Blackman


hank you to everyone who attended DEC and made it a success. Even the weather cooperated with us this year. A few reminders: Life membership is now $200, Annual dues is whatever your post decides to charge, the minimum has to be $23 as $13 is national’s share and $10 comes to the department. Anyone wanting to run for a department office needs to get their candidate form turned into the department no later than May 15th. Contact the department if you need one sent to you. Revalidations are due to the department no later than July 1st. Hopefully everyone has been reporting their programs (this is a department bylaw requirement in order for you to revalidate). You must use the form that says 2011, it can be downloaded at (just be sure you download the one for Post not department;). We have some posts that are very close to becoming compliant, if you need help please contact your district commander or a member of the Audit Committee (Ray Delgado for the southern area, Baldy Salmon for the central area and Dave Richey for the northern area). AMERICANISM entries are due to Chuck Kissel no later than June 1st. It would be great to have at least entry from every post. Welcome to our newest Chartered Posts 50 from way up north in Willows, and 1774 also from way up north- Orville. It’s nice to see us adding to our ranks with new members who will join us in making life better for our veterans and our communities. Thank you to Post 311 for the Valentine vase of candy flowers; Post 922 for the red, white and blue crocheted lap blanket for my office chair; to the many people who have sent me candy (no more please). Thank you to Post 113 for the wonderful Honoring Women Veterans program that they put on. It was a pleasure to be among one of their first honorees. More about that evening will be in the next edition of the VOICE when Post 113 makes their report. Special thanks to the AMVETS Department headquarters staff: Phil, Lynda and Kathy for all the hard work they do each day to help all of our veterans. Last but not least, thank you to every member of California AMVETS for giving me your support as I try my

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best to do the job that I enjoy so much- helping our veterans and their families. I hope to see all of you at State convention in Concord June 10-12 at the Concord Hilton, Hilton Concord Hotel 1970 Diamond Boulevard Concord, CA 94520. 925-827-2000 $92 plus tax per night mention AMVETS to get this rate. Cut off date is 26 May 11 Our host Post 26 has some fun things planned for our entertainment. If you have not made your reservations or ordered your banquet tickets (tickets are ordered through AMVETS Department) please do so soon.

Important dates for 2011 can be found on page 7. For those who like to plan REALLY far ahead. 68TH NATIONAL CONVENTION AUGUST 2-9, 2012 Hotel: Hilton Dayton Beach Ocean Front 100 N Atlantic Ave. Daytona Beach, FL 32118 Reservations: (866) 536-8477 (386) 254-8200 Room Rate: $119-129.00 Cut-off Date: July 1, 2012 Parking: $9 Per Night 69TH NATIONAL CONVENTION AUGUST 2-9, 2013 Hotel: Dearborn Hyatt Regency 600 Town Center Dr. Dearborn, Michigan 48126 Reservations: (888) 421-1442 (402) 592-6464 Room Rate: $106.00-129.00 Cut-off Date: July 12, 2013 Parking: Complementary Yours in service, Rose

California AMVETS Voice—5


As submitted by Central Area Adjutant Jerry Guevara and Commander Frank Guerra


irst of all, I wish to congratulate all my fellow AMVETS that participated by attending the DEC meeting in Santa Maria this past January. Department officers presented workshops to help the Posts. They helped with the reporting process, program reporting and especially helping those posts that are compliant with grant writing. I do believe that the most important meeting was advising the posts just how important it is to submit the proper paperwork to the State of California. In order for a Post to submit the necessary paperwork for a grant they have to be compliant. I am proud to report that posts 22 – Visalia, 56 – Tulare, 98 – Sanger and 99 – Fresno are all compliant. Great work and job well done. The DEC meeting, in its self, wasn’t the only good thing that happened, but the dinner-dance Saturday night was fantastic. All of those that attended enjoyed a fine meal and dancing afterwards. I would certainly like to thank our Executive Director Rose Blackman on the behalf of all the Central Area members that attended. The posts that didn’t attend from the Central Area definitely missed a lot. I would encourage that all of the Posts from my area attend all State functions. Kudos to Post 22 – Visalia and Post 99 – Fresno, they presented ceremonies that honored The Four Chaplains. The chaplains, who gave up their lives, by giving soldiers on board the transport ship that they were on their life jackets. The USAT Dorchester was torpedoed Feb. 3, 1943 and sunk. These Four Chaplains (of four different faiths) ultimately went down with the ship. What a courageous act. The ceremonies, by these two Posts, which I was honored to attend, were held on the 4th and 5th of February. We had a Central Area meeting on Sunday Feb. 13th; the significant of this date was that it was Super Bowl Sunday. We had posts 22, 56, 98 and 99 as well as the District 6 Commander. Everyone that attended did so with one thought in mind and that was ”Veterans Helping Veterans.” Items discussed were: the success of the latest membership drive and how important it is to retain those new members. So, Operation Retain has been set in motion. We are also looking at setting up an organizational meeting to help establish a new post in the Clovis area. A meeting place could be at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building. More to come with this venture, so we will keep you all informed. Once again, it is up to each one of us to inform everyone on what AMVETS do. So, pass the word.

6—California AMVETS Voice

Bud Simmons Named Sonoma County Veteran of the Year


ud Simmons has been named “Sonoma County Veteran of the Year” by the United Veterans Council of Sonoma County. Bud, a Korean War Veteran, served honorably in the United States Air Force from April 1951 to July 1958, and he has remained active in various veteran groups ever since. Bud said his patriotism and devotion to our country started during his youth back in the 1940’s in San Francisco, then a military and a most patriotic town. He said, “What I do, I do for all veterans in the memory of my Uncles, Al, a Marine, and Howard, a U.S. Army soldier who both served during WW II. And my late brothers - Ray, U.S. Navy, and Jim, USMC, who both at the same time as I during the Korean War.” More recently, Bud was inspired by Lee Martini, US Army WW II of American Legion Post 21, Tom Aumack US Army, WW II of American Legion Post 21 and Bob Wynant, US Army WW II of VFW Post 1844. Bud explained, “I further value my association with the Pearl Harbor Survivors, and of course, treasure my membership in Michael Ottolini AMVETS Post 40 of Sonoma County, The American Legion, Post 111; The VFW, Memory Post 1844;; the Air Force Association and my Associate Membership in two great outstanding organizations, the Marine Corps League 686 and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 223.” Bud serves as the Adjutant of AMVETS Post 40 as well as the Northern Area Commander for AMVETS Department of California. He also is the Adjutant of American Legion Post 111 and the Quartermaster of VFW Post 1844. “What an honor to be so recognized and I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, each and every one of you from whom I received support over the years. I am only an extension of what you do, serving our great veterans, their families, our active duty military, and their families.” “I have to thank my wife of 55 years, Elaine, who has unselfishly let me pursue my recent life’s work of helping our fellow veterans and active duty military. Bud, most sincerely says, “Thank all of you for what you do, and do, and do, and do, and most importantly, to all veterans, THANK YOU for your service.”

“Thank all of you for what you do, and do, and do, and do..." - Bud Simmons

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Membership POST Total renewal # of RENEWALS cards on file DONE BY POST MAL 214 106 (3 conversions) 1 43 21 (6 conversions) 2 2 0 3 16 9 (1 conversion) 4 108 16 (2 conversions) 6 43 17 11 0 0 17 32 25 18 18 5 20 47 15 22 38 14 (1 conversion) 26 19 10 30 26 22 33 0 0 34 27 5 (1 conversion) 40 11 9 48 54 7 53 14 13 56 213 41 (4 conversions) 66 15 9 (2 conversions) 80 10 6 85 1 2 88 4 4 94 0 96 21 18 (1 conversion) 98 49 17 99 51 34 (4 conversions) 100 7 2 101 59 7 113 45 17 116 10 3 311 13 6 367 8 4 542 9 10 (1 conversion) 700 16 6 922 19 2 (2 conversions) 940 14 0 1240 152 14 1775 14 13 1776 30 8 1944 4 0 1990 1 0 1996 42 22 (6 conversions) 2002 3 2 2003 7 9 2007 22 3 2009 23 2 2813 19 12 7093 1 0 9126 7 2

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UPCOMING EVENTS IMPORTANT DATES: 2011 April 12: Legislative Day at the Capitol April 15: TAXES DUE AMVETS National Scholarship Program Deadline Visit for more information MAY 26 Cut off date for reservations for State convention at the Concord Hilton (convention is June 11-13). POST ELECTION OF NEW OFFICERS AT YOUR regular meeting. JUNE 1 DEADLINE TO GET YOUR NEWS TO ROSE FOR THE AMVET NEWSPAPER (VOICE) June 10-12: Department 66TH ANNUAL CONVENTION Hilton Concord Hotel 1970 Diamond Boulevard Concord, CA 94520 925-827-2000 $92 plus tax per night mention AMVETS to get this rate. June 14: Veterans Luncheon at the Capitol JUNE 30 LAST DAY TO REPORT PROGRAM ACTIVITIES TO NATIONAL FOR THIS QUARTER JULY 1 All revalidations due to the Department office (if you revalidate on line you MUST still send a signed copy to the Department. JULY 9: Cut off date to reserve room for national Convention AUGUST 6-13 August 6-13, 2011: 67TH NATIONAL CONVENTION Hotel: Millenium Hotel St. Louis 200 S. 4th Street St. Louis, MO 63102 Reservations: (800) 325-7353 (314) 241-9500 Room Rate: $115 Cut-off Date: July 4, 2011 Parking: $5 Per Night Cut off date to reserve your room for the Fall DEC at the Marriott in Visalia SEPTEMBER 1 DEADLINE TO GET YOUR NEWS TO ROSE FOR THE AMVET NEWSPAPER (VOICE) September 30 & October 1 Fall Department Executive Conference (DEC) MARRIOTT Visalia at the Convention Center 300 South Court Street Visalia, Ca 93291 Phone: (559) 636-1111 Single/Double: $89 Complimentary Parking Cut off date: August 30, 2011 TBA: Annual YOUNTVILLE Picnic DECEMBER 1 DEADLINE TO GET YOUR NEWS TO ROSE for the VOICE. DECEMBER 30 LAST DAY TO REPORT PROGRAM ACTIVITIES TO NATIONAL FOR THIS QUARTER

California AMVETS Voice—7

District 6 Report F

rom Modesto to Bakersfield, To Santa Maria DEC meetings…Now preparing to meet in Concord, CA for the last DEC meeting this year. How the year has flown by. It is going to be exciting in Concord, to see all the hard working members of all the posts in California. But it doesn’t stop there…next will be the National in Saint Louis, MO. The AMVETS is a constant, moving and learning program. Our meetings in Post 56 are going well—usually 45 to 50 members attending each meeting. All members are working hard to make the Farm Ag Show, blood drive, Thanksgiving and Christmas programs successful. I have interacted with all the posts in District 6, and with our Central Area meetings each month. This is when we all come together and tell our stories about what we have hoped for and what we have accomplished. Tom Donwen, Commander Post 56, Tulare, and I posted colors for the Four Chaplain’s First Annual Honors Program in Visalia. There was a very good turnout for the program, thanks in great part to Jerry Guevara from Post 22. I also attended Twilight Park activity in Woodlake, CA, Rest homes, Care Bears Programs and Suicide Prevention Programs. A group of Post 56 members, in addition to me, met at the Fresno Airport to welcome home a young soldier who had lost a leg. This was an emotional time to see our young warriors come home injured. I have been busy meeting all posts in District 6. I had a great Thanksgiving dinner with Post 922 in Shafter with Commander Clifford Pierce Jr. Christmas dinner was with Post 22 in Visalia invited by Commander Amador Garcia Jr. I attended a fund raising project by Commander Clifford Pierce Jr. of Shafter Post 922 on February 12, and put on a few more pounds eating biscuits and gravy (Mmmmmm). I am planning a visit to Camp Nelson to see Commander Rod Coffey and his Post 542 when the snow has melted. Since becoming District 6 Commander, the Fresno VA Hospital is in my district, and this added another job to my credit (or detriment, depending on how you look at it). Along with Carl Bates, Phil Plascencia, along with Tony - VAVS liaison, we have smoothly provided money for the veteran patient’s extra-curricular activities. In addition to all these important activities, the Post 56 Honor Guard performed 31 funerals this past quarter with two more scheduled for next week. We continue to get requests from high schools for veterans to come out, tell stories, and show medals, and weapons. We were asked to fold the flag and teach the high school students what each of the folds stands for, and how the honors funerals are conducted. The numbers of requests are growing each year. Our own Post 56 and Honor Guard member, Kent Cheeseborough, passed away and his funeral was held at the new National Cemetery at Bakersfield, CA on November 8, 2010. The family of Mr. Cheeseborough funded a special dinner for the Post 56 Honor Guard and their spouses, as he had requested before he died. At that time, I presented each member of the Honor Guard with a Soldier Cross Pin for the dedication to our fallen brothers and sisters. We were happy and honored to have in attendance Jim Pigeon, President of the Foundation, Charles Ramos, California AMVET State Commander, Tom Donwen, Post 56 Commander, Len Smith Chaplain Post 56, and many others of our home team. So, again I wish you all success for your posts and projects, and am looking forward to Concord in June. God bless you all and safe travels. God bless our troops in all the world.

AMERICANISM Deadline for entries to be to the Department Ladies Auxiliary is June 1st


o-sponsored with the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary, this is a K-12 program offered through schools and youth programs to educate our youth on the meaning of being an American. We do this by providing a series of contests involving flag drawing, posters and essays that are age appropriate and grade specific. All national entries receive a Certificate of Participation signed by the National Commander. Gift cards are awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, with the 1st place winners also receiving a plaque. Since 1987, AMVETS National Service Foundation has provided a special recognition and unique four-day educational experience for the 9th grade National Americanism Essay Contest winners. They receive an all-expense paid trip to a four-day "Spirit of America" youth conference that is held at Freedoms Foundation, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian, educational organization. It exists to help preserve the ideals and principles upon which the United States was founded and to help Americans become informed, responsible and active citizens in the social, political and economic life of our nation to prevent the erosion of those ideals and principles.

How does a child or young adult participate?

Teachers or youth group leaders hopefully will take the initiative to involve their students. The program addresses learning standards in civics and presents excellent topics for writing and art assignments, which teachers can incorporate into their classes. Teachers may also contact a local AMVETS post to invite veterans to visit their classes. Students whose teachers or schools are not participating in the program can still enter the contest specific to their grade as a take-home or after-school project. Parents may contact a local AMVETS post, on behalf of their children, to submit entries or contact the AMVETS National Programs Department at 301-683-4031.

How do I enter?

Entry forms (PDF files) with contest rules, including the “themes” can be downloaded by clicking on the appropriate link below. Flag Drawing (For students in kindergarten and 1st grade)

Poster (for students in 2nd through 5th grades)

Essay (for students in 6th through 12th grades)

Theme: 2010-2011 Why Is it Important to Vote? 2011-2012 I am Proud to Be an American Because ..

Alexander Halley Commander District 6 559-625-4643 (home) 559-302-7155 (cell) District 6 Cmdr Halley & wife at Santa Maria

8—California AMVETS Voice

Post 56 Honor Guard dinner

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Dept of California Membership

“BURY A HERO“ 166 Veterans sponsored

Missing in America Project Frederick R. Salanti - Executive Director Missing in America Project Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—9

Project: Gold Star License Plate Application Gold Star License Plate Eligibility Requirements The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) or designee shall, upon receiving proof of eligibility from an applicant, authorize DMV to issue Gold Star Family specialized license plates. The vehicle must be owned by an eligible family member of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who was killed in the line of duty while on active duty during wartime service, or during an international terrorist attack that has been recognized by the United States Secretary of Defense as an attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, or during military operations while serving outside the United States, including commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States, or as part of a peacekeeping force, which includes personnel assigned to a force engaged in a peacekeeping operation authorized by the United Nations Security Council. An eligible family member is defined as all of the following:

1. A person must have a licensed vehicle registered in California. 2. A person who attaches proof of one of the following relationship to the servicemember identified on DD Form 1300 / or verifiable proof of death in combat: Widow / Widower Biological parent Adoptive parent

Stepparent Foster parent Biological child

Adoptive child Stepchild Sibling

Half-sibling Grandparent Grandchild

Note: Attach a copy of DD Form 1300 / or verifiable proof of death in combat

Veteran Service Identification: Name (Last, First, Middle & Suffix): Date of Birth:

Family Member Information: Name of Applicant: Current Address: City: Telephone:



Relationship to Servicemember:

What is the current license plate number of the vehicle that this new plate will be assigned:

I certify under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California, the information I have provided is true and correct. I authorize California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) employees, officers, and designees to verify these documents.



As County Veteran Service Officer of County and designee of the California Department of Veterans Affairs, I certify under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California, that I have reviewed the documentation required and that the above named individual meets the qualifications of the section 5156(d)(2)(C) of the State Vehicle Code.

Signature, title

10—California AMVETS Voice


Vol. 15, No. 1

Coterie Group 2011 Who are we? Any military veteran of any war is welcome to join our Coterie group. At no charge. What is it?

The Coterie Group offers combat veterans a safe environment for communication and interaction through the powerful presence of horses. Each group session will include three parts: each session will start with a “check-in” or “introduction” with the participants, followed by a group exercise period utilizing the horses, and concluding with a reflection period on the completed exercise. Refreshments are served.


A.Meliora Ranch 16170 Renee Court Happy Valley, California 96007

When? The second Monday of each month

April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 11, October 9, November 13 in 2011 @ 10 am to 12 noon Contact: Jim Busher @ 530-341-2242 cell (Please call between 8a.m. and 6p.m.) Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—11

Fresno VAVS

Congressional medal of Honor & Silver Star recipients

Frensno VAVS Bingo workers and good food.

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient SSGT S. Giunta, Silver Star Recipient SSGT E. Gallardo


12—California AMVETS Voice

Vol. 15, No. 1

AMVETS Poetry Page I Remember You Unpublished Work, © 2009 Mike Swagerty

I remember HIM…That man I fought beside, When I was just a scared young kid with no place left to hide. They thought they taught me how to fight before I went to war But I knew then I could never be like that hero of the Corp.

ANOTHER EAGLE FLIES Unpublished work © Mike Swagerty, 7-26-10

Oh, I tried to do the things he did, but I just was not that good And, I always did what I was told to do; but HE did all he should. He’s the one who saved my life, time and time again And I knew then I could never be a warrior just like him. I saw him charge a bunker once when he was hurt real bad So, I followed him and I gave some; But he gave all he had. And when I thought the end had come and this was where I’d die He stepped up and saved my life, and spit in the devils eye. Oh, yes! I saw him pick off snipers, standing up to get the shot! While men fell all around him in a battle burning hot. And I saw him carry wounded while he bled from wounds himself And I wondered how he carried on, yet never asked for help. Hell! How could I forget him? I can still see him today! When no one else knew what to do, HE could find a way! When all was lost, and BRAVE men cried, for their brothers fallen dead He racked a round, and stood his ground, and always moved ahead. MY GOD! Where do men like him find the strength to carry on? And who will take this heroes place when he is finally gone? Will anyone remember the sacrifices that he made? To save his fallen brothers so they could fight another day! Oh! I do remember him! I still see him in my mind. He was fighting everywhere! Right, left, front and behind! HE was not just one man! He was ALL the men… like you! Who stood their ground, and racked a round, that’s why we’re called THE FEW! Mike Swagerty, 7 April 2009


n eagle landed outside my door and spread his wings this morning His eyes transfixed upon my face, as if to give a warning.

I stood in awe of this noble fowl, (that somehow showed no fear) And wondered why this majestic bird would land so very near? We stood there, staring eye to eye, and neither of us flinched He stood his ground, as I stood mine, and he never moved an inch. Oh! What a blessed sight to see! He stood so straight and proud! I dare not move; there was no sound, ‘cept my heart that beat so loud! Did minutes pass? I cannot say. But, my mind began to wonder Was it silence that we both heard here, or was it sounds of thunder? Then suddenly I understood, as his head cocked so very slightly And, I swear to God, I saw a tear drop fall, and land so very lightly. How could this be? WHAT could this be? An Eagle cannot weep! Is this my mind just playing tricks? Or am I really still asleep? Then suddenly, without a thought, I understood the tear.. This eagle bore a message, and he brought it to me here! Another hero must have fallen, and God sent this King of prey To tell me the gates were open, and he would be with God today. Then the weight I felt upon my heart was lesser in degree, Another hero up in heaven, another Eagle flying free.

(Dedicated to our heroes who fell) Dedicated to Robert, (Bob) Simonsen, U.S.M.C.

Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—13

Santa Ma

District 14 giving their reports

Cmdr. Ramos receiving thank yo Post 4 Chaplain for support of F Salanti and MIAP District 12 Cmdr. & PDC Frank Gonzales reporting

Orlando Resendez receiving Post 101 Quality Post award

Amador Garcia (Post 22 Cmdr.), Paul Casares (Post 56 1st Vice)

Ray Delgado and Lorraine Plass

Photos by Ray Delgado

14—California AMVETS Voice

Vol. 15, No. 1

Maria DEC

ou from Fred

Post 100 Cmdr McNally w member Fil Fremont

Mr. & Mrs. Delmer Clements, Post 50

Photos by Al Verret One of many meetings

Chaplain George McNally, Post 100 Ladies Auxiliary

Vol. 15, No. 1

Photos by Orlando Resendez

California AMVETS Voice—15

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 1 Events


n February 6, we held a great super bowl party featuring Ron & Joan’s ribs. Feb 12th: The Auxiliary had a successful Valentine Dinner/ Dance and auctioned off baked goods to raise money for a local charity. Feb. 16th: Post annual Crab feed, much fun was had by all. 

Post 2

Submitted by Jim Johnstone AMVET”S POST #2

Post 2 and VAVS Activities:


he month of December 2010 was very busy for Post 2. On December 5, V.A.V.S Officer Dean Bishop and I took Vet’s to and from the Vet’s Holiday show. Spent some time with Rudy Hernandez M.O.H. (Korea) and others. Dec.7th posted colors. Dec.10th visited a vet in North Hollywood with a broken hip, Dec.11th. wreaths across America in (W.L.A.) National.,  Dec.13th visited Vet’s in hospitals in North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, & West LA, V.A. with Honor guard’s Larry Cardiness, Dean Bishop, L.V. Brooks, Pete King, and I. On Dec.15th. Shopped for Christmas bingo on the 16th, over 100 people there gave out canteen books, phone cards, 5 fruits 2 drinks, energy bars, and gifts. On the 19th, gave a vet. A ride home after a fall. Christmas Day Pete King and Lorena Barahona and I went the VA’s North Campus to two clinics and gave out $350.00 in canteen booklets most from our recycle program, some phone cards. While there I met some of Santa’s helpers giving out gifts there caps said J.W.V. so I know they were real. On the 29th, Pete, Dean and I went out to restock some of our Honor detail supplies.

February 2011


The post 2 Honor Guard from Culver City was not very busy last month thankfully, so went every few days to convalescent homes and some private homes and the V.A. dorm’s The new home at the V.A. now has 22 livens it is verrrrry nice and well kept. We in V.A.V.S.drove 1252 miles in and around L.A.visiting with the Honor Guard, and 2 aux. members. Please if you have an elderly vet close to you check on them we don’t need any of the things like the PEARL HARBOR survivor Vet in San Diego went thru. FEB.7 th. Had a meeting at the new soldiers’ home regarding their recreation activities. FEB. 14 Visited hospitalized Vet’s in nursing homes in North Hollywood. Feb.14th.Visited hospitalized VET’S in the nursing homes building 213 & 215 (shut ins) FEB.17 Post hosted bingo and a Valentines dance Volunteers were Jim Johnstone, Ray Delgado, Levon Brooks, Jackie Holey, Glen Jimenez. Refreshments and over 300 canteen books were handed out. Feb19 th. Gave out fruit and juices to VETERANS in nursing home building 213. Talked a while with a Korean war VET served with the 65th.inf.reg.3rd.div. Feb 21st. gave out fruit and juices to Vets in nursing home Bld. 215.Talked a while with life member Max Virgil. Heard more stories about Post 2 in years past. Still serving Pete H.King Sr. V.A.V.S.rep 1-310-902-8763

The AFSPC Communication Excellence & Media Awards recognize the great work being done by AFSPC/PA personnel worldwide. There were many outstanding nominees from throughout AFSPC, and the competition was fierce. These individuals and teams represent some of AFSPC’s best and brightest, and serve as shining examples of our great organization. Thanks for what all of you do every day!

16—California AMVETS Voice

Vol. 15, No. 1

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 4

Editor’s apologies to Post 4 that these were not included in the last edition of the paper.


our Veterans honored from the Maurice Johannessen (MOJO) AMVETS Post 4, Colonel Carl Bott USMC Ret. for Veteran of the Year Award by State Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, Chaplain and Wisdom Keeper Indian Dan Hollingsworth hired and sworn in by Governor Swartznegger Operation Welcome Home/Americorp Northern California, Major John C. Cleckner Sr. US Army Green Beret Retired, and Major Fred Salanti US Army Retired honored by the Shasta County Supervisors for his involvement in the MIAP Project.     We participated in the Shasta Lake Veterans Day Parade & Red Bluff Veterans Day Parade, the 2nd Annual Shasta College Veterans Day Event and the Northern California Veterans Day Program at Igo, Ca.  Our MOJO AMVETS Post 4 Race Car entry drew many onlookers and positive comments.  We will keep you informed for the MOJAVE Desert Race coming up in May of 2011. Thank you Mitch & Wisdom Keeper Mike Wiley for getting our post involved in having fun with this unique historical car, hopefully many whom show up will have an opportunity to drive this car on the flats of the Mojave Desert.    “Brigadier General Bennet S. Sacolik, Commanding General of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare on November 18th, 2011 by orders from the Secretary of the Army inducted Major John C. Cleckner Sr. into the Special forces (Green Beret) Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member of the 1st Special Forces Regiment (DMOR).   Family and friends from around the United States attended this event at the John

F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.”     We want to express our gratitude to Past AMVETS PDC Mel Posey, AMVETS Dept. of CA 2nd Vice Cmdr. Mike Clay for attending and witnessing our 3 Day White Clover Program, Membership Drive and watching AMVETS Dept. of CA Service Foundation Veterans Outreach Service Officer works in action by Gary Douglas.   Out of the 92 veterans seen by Gary, over 70% of these veterans did not know they had claims, they had Notice of Disagreements (NOD’s), and DIC’s coming. We hope and pray that Gary will again come up in April of the year 2011.  Gary Douglas also outreached to the Shasta County Veterans Service Officers in sharing and wanting to work with them through AMVETS.  I want to say a special Kudos to our Cmdr. Gordon Baugh, Wisdom Keeper’s Mike Wiley and Indian Dan, and Wanda Kent for volunteering their time manning the White Clover tables.  Because of our efforts, Ray Roberts from KQMS FM, Mike Quinn from KXLR AM Radio Stations joined as members for our Godly works helping and working with all veterans. MOJO AMVETS Post 4 Greg Raffa / Adjutant

Visit our website Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—17

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 6


hank you so much for your support. The American Legion Shooting Match we held on Saturday was a huge success with 11 teams and 49 competitors. Those who had been to our previous matches said it was the best run so far. The lighting system used for the match that finally brought the illumination up to an acceptable standard on our range was funded by AMVETS. For the first time we had no complaints about poor lighting. You can see how we constructed the lighting system you funded. I put AMVETS stickers on lights and gave AMVETS a thank you during the awards ceremony.       Semper Fi, Mike MOUNT PLEASANT HIGH SCHOOL Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps 1750 South White Road San Jose, California 95127-4799 1533 SMI 28 February 2011 From: Senior Marine Instructor To: AMVETS Service Foundation, Attention: Mr. John Byrum, 1213 South Dale Avenue, Anaheim, California 92804 Subject: LETTER OF APPRECIATION FOR AMVET SERVICE FOUNDATION GRANT 1. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the funds California AMVETS Service Foundation provided that enabled us to conduct the 2011 AMVETS JROTC Belleau Wood Air Rifle Match that was held on 12 February at Mt. Pleasant High School in San Jose. The funds you provided went for trophies for the top 3 teams, medals for the top 3 individuals, and lunch for the participants.  Additionally, a Daisy Model 888 that AMVETS purchased previously was presented as 1st place prize. Thirty-five shooters participated. The final results and receipts are attached. membership/benefits.html

18—California AMVETS Voice

2. The trophies and medals were engraved “___ (1st, 2d, 3d) Place AMVETS Belleau Wood Shooting Match.” A prominently displayed poster identifying AMVETS as the sponsoring organization is pictured here: 3. Six members of AMVETS Post 6 ran the match. Pictured below from left to right are Mike Clough (Match Director), Jim Reese (Post 6 Commander), Dennis Foggie, and Bob Knight. Not pictured are Dennis Weisgerber and Lowell Gresham. 4. Additionally, using funds granted previously by AMVETS, a Daisy Model 888 (pictured below) with AMVETS logo affixed to the stock was awarded to the top individual shooter, Cadet Ben Westmoreland of Silver Creek High School’s Navy JROTC program.

Very Respectfully, Michael F. Clough Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) United States Marine Corps membership/benefits.html

Vol. 15, No. 1

Friends of AMVETS

Aend Industries Inc.

Stahl Companies Inc.

Aig Financial Advisors

Steve Forcum Construction

Air Service Specialist

Tice Gardner & Fujimoto Llp

Art Silva

Unlimited Text & Talk

Bacchus Fulfillment Llc

Virtual Construction Inc.

Bacome Insurance Agency Brewhouse California Motorcycle Adventures Chalo S. and Son Plumbing Champion Cooling Creedon Trucking & Hay Hauling David Yaffee Realtor Frye Construction Inc. Future State Consulting Giampolini & Co. Glass Concepts Llc

World Wide Parts and Accessories Zebron Corp. PLATINUM Asi Core-Mark International Inc. GOLD Otto Instrument Service Inc. SILVER Alexander Merten Fine Art Brent Macqueen & Barb Helgesen

Herkert & Son Inc.

Direct Construction

Jeanette Martin State Farm Agent

Patriot General Engineering

Johnson Transportation Service

Sportrx Inc.

Mail Boxes Etc. #1307

Superior Construction

Redi Room

Transwest Truck Center llc

Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—19

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 22


Submitted by Post 22 Adjutant Jerry Guevara

embers of Post 22 have been very active since the last article in the voice. They have: Occupied a booth at the local Home Show in September, members spoke to quite a few local county residents handing out Veterans information and also signed up 4 new members under the Veterans Outreach Program as well as 1 transfer. Members also sold White Clovers to support that program as well. Attended a Veterans function provided by the City of Tulare. Attended a POW/MIA Ceremony in support of a veterans function provided by another Veterans Service Organization in Lemoore. Members also drove to Fresno and supported the Stand Down that was organized by local veterans groups from that area. Attended the Area Commander/District Commander training session that was organized by Commander Ramos and took place in Tulare. A lot of good information was handed out and discussed by all that attended. Attended a veterans workshop for COS (College of the Sequoias) Veterans Group. Was one of several speakers that gave information regarding AMVETS and what they do and how they not only support the veterans from this area but also how they help with community service projects. While speaking at the workshop mentioned that AMVETS is signing up new members under the Veterans Outreach program and can offer a free years membership. Several members visited the VA Hospital in Fresno and handed out packages to the sick and hospitalized veterans. Finalized the Task Force DVD/CD drive by picking up at the close to 20 different locations that were used for drop off points. Several boxes of DVD’s and CD’s were sent to the troops overseas. It was a very successful drive. On Nov. 4, several members participated in a Homeless Project with several other local civics groups. Several members participated and marched in the Annual Veterans Parade in Tulare. They marched as a group with many other veterans group. This was the 6th annual parade and sponsored by the Central Valley Vietnam Veterans. Members also participated in the Veterans Appreciation Day for the COS Veterans Group. There were several different groups that had set up tables and handed out information regarding their group. Members spoke with the students and citizens that attended the 2 hour program with several guest speakers. This was the 2nd such event put on by the college veterans. Attended several planning meetings with the college veterans and was part of the process to put on that event. Several members helped put on a Veterans Day pancake breakfast at the Visa-

Get your AMVETS gear here!

20—California AMVETS Voice

lia Veterans Memorial Building. Working with a local American Legion post, members served close to 200 breakfasts. They deemed the event a “huge success”. Several members, getting together over several months, helped plan and then put on the local Veterans Day program. This event, which was attended by over 250 Tulare County residents, heard such speakers as the Visalia Chief of Police Colleen Mestas and former nurse May Alm (who served with General Patton). The theme for this year’s event was “Women in Service, Women in Uniform”. Several members of the local services groups in town, Visalia Police Department, Visalia Fire Department, Tulare County Sheriffs Department and the various veterans group attended in uniform. A very fitting program with music and a slide show. Attended the 2nd Annual Veterans Appreciation Day in Woodlake, setting up a table, selling White Clovers and speaking with the veterans and other individuals that stopped by. This group also signed up 14 new members under the Veterans Outreach Program. There were a lot of military booths set up and well attended with guest speakers, music, dancing and plenty of bar-b-que food. Participated in the annual Post Thanksgiving dinner. Commander Garcia and family decorated the Memorial Building where many members with families met on the regular meeting date and had a great time eating and sharing stories. Members were advised of one of the fund raiser the post is doing is having a beef raffle. Tickets were sold with a winner announced a next meeting. Members continue to attend the Central Area meetings that meet monthly to discuss other post events, functions and programs. We all try to support the other post activities as well. Attended a 3 day NEC meeting in Washington DC the 1st weekend in December and was able to bring information back and share with post members. After several months planning several members help plan and provide a Holiday Concert to the citizens of the Visalia area. This concert showcased all local high school student choirs (5) as well as the local COS men’s choir. All proceeds from this event were divided up and given back to all the schools that participated. In past close to $ 300.00 was given to EACH school. Several members also took part in the planning over several months in the presenting of a Pearl Harbor Day remembrance. Taking place at 10:55 am on Dec. 7, veterans, organizers and members of the community met at the World War II World’s Greatest Generation mural and listened to several guest speakers. There was also a moment of silence followed by a 21-gun salute provided by AMVETS Post 56 Color Guard. Members also continue to belong to other veteran’s service groups in the Tulare County area and stay very active with functions, events and programs that promote veterans issues and the AMVET philosophy. Post 22 members sat at booth at the Visalia Home Show on Saturday Jan. 29 and were able to speak with several non AMVETS veterans about joining and also giving several pertinent information regarding their benefits and who to speak with regarding that.  On Feb. 4 many post members helped with the Four Chaplains Ceremony

Vol. 15, No. 1

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 22, cont.

that was put on. There was a nice community turn out for this event.  Not only did they listen to what happened to these Four heroic Chaplains on Feb. 3, 1943, but there were also many informational tables set up.  Special thanks to Al Verret for taking the pictures. Post 22 continues to meet the challenges of the Department by increasing membership and with that comes more involvement of post members. We continue to meet the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Veterans Memorial Building, corner of Willis and Center in Visalia. Hope to see you there. Come, join in and help your fellow post members do all these wonderful things. Your participation makes a difference. 

4 Chaplains Committee

Post 34


im Blank was nominated to receive the Silver Beaver Award. This is the Boy Scout Council’s highest award for service, awarded by National BSA. Last year he received two AMVET National Awards for scouting. The Beaver Award was in part for what all he does in scouting, and in part for AMVET sponsored scouting too.   All the awards are special, but this one is quite unique. The AMVET award was in recognition for participation in scouting and encouraging the partnership between the AMVET membership and the scouting program, sponsoring/supporting a scouting unit (pack, troop, band) After completing a host of requirements (usually taking several years to complete), participation in events, training, tenure, and etc; you get to submit an application.   The Silver Beaver is a result of your peers providing a secret nomination. A person could be recommended by several peers in a year or over several years and still this award could elude them. On average it takes a decade or more of service in a local council to rise to the top of the selection list. One could liken this to the Oscars, Emmys or the Nobel Prizes (except for the cash stipend of course). It is the ultimate of recognition for an adult volunteer in the scouting program.

Vol. 15, No. 1

Post 56 Carl Bates, Post 22 Robert Cadena, and Ray Carrillo 4 Chaplains readers

Congratualtions to Jim Blank who was awarded the Silver Beaver - Boy Scouts highest award for service.

California AMVETS Voice—21

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 40



n February 19, 2011, Michael Ottolini AVMVETS Post 40 of Sonoma County participated in a bit of Sonoma County history. One hundred years ago, on February 17th and 18th, pilot Fred Wiseman, made the first ever Air Mail flight, hopping from Petaluma to Santa Rosa. It was an inauspicious beginning to the era of Air Mail, because he developed engine trouble shortly after takeoff and had to set down in a field not far from the Petaluma airport. Mechanics were able to find and repair the malfunction, and Mr. Wiseman completed the flight the following morning, delivering three letters, fifty copies of the Sonoma Press Democrat and some produce to Santa Rosa. The current Postmasters from Petaluma (Barry Amiri) and Santa Rosa (Irma Zine) were present to receive the mail from the commemorative flight. The Post 40 Color Guard was called on to present the Colors for the commemoration ceremony. Post Commander, Jay Matthews, carried the American Flag. Dave Richey (who retired from the Postal Service, and had worked for Irma Zine) marched with the California State flag. Claude Ashen (Provost Marshall) and Winston Sehrt (1st Vice) were the flanking rifles. As Colors were posted, Hattie

Stone (Chaplain) played Colors on the bugle, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The organizers of the event also requested that we lead the citizens present in the National Anthem. The dual connection, with the Post Office and being a part of the Color Guard, made it a special day for Dave. After speeches by local dignitaries and descendants of Fred Wiseman, the Post 40 members circulated among the crowd, chatting with other veterans, and potentially garnering three new members. We are grateful to the organizers of the event, Sharie Sbrazza and Bob Parker and their staff from the Pacific Coast Air Museum and the Sonoma Jet Center at the Charles Schultz Sonoma County Airport.

Hattie Stone

Postmasters from Petaluma (Barry Amiri) and Santa Rosa (Irma Zine)

Cmdr Donwen presenting check to Captain Brooksher for Young Marine program

Post 56

Pictures by Al Verret


ost 56--In the process of finalizing requirements for JROTC Cadet Corp/ Arrow after school program, and Young Marines of Tulare Corps. Both programs are designed to promote physical, moral and mental development, healthy drug free lifestyle, ideals of fairness, honesty, respect, loyalty, dependability and attention to duty. Americanism. After a wildly successful first year we are in the process of visiting schools to again promote our Americanism Program. Word has gotten out to the youth of the community, regarding the awards available and they want in on the "action". Honor Guard has been busy as always with 22 funerals in January and February. Posting colors at various schools and Boy Scout events. Also posted colors at a Four Chaplains Memorial in Visalia. We completed another annual fund raiser at our Farm Show Booth. This years menu was BBQ Ribs and Beans. We sold out of ribs all three days. This year was also the maiden voyage of our new donut machine. We had a total of 53 hard working volunteers and 394 hours for the three day event. Central Aea Posts are very active in handing out materials at events in and around the area for our Suicide Prevention program, Save Just One.

22—California AMVETS Voice

Farm show cooks (below left) and Donut maker and Rib BBQer. (below right).

Vol. 15, No. 1

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 56, cont.

I would like to thank all Post 56 members and the AMVETS Service Foundation that have made the sponsorship of these programs possible. Cmdr. Tom Donwen

Post 99

Gene Sustaita, receiving Post 56 AMVET of the Year award


MVETS Post 99 Fresno/Madera is on the move. From is very start this organization has participated in many events throughout K.C. Mitchell (wounded warrior) Fresno and the state of California. with Dad, Rowdy and Sister Chayanne, picture by Al Verret Its members are active in the communities, volunteering with over $100,000.00 of volunteer hours from June to December of 2010. We are now noted as a Quality Post by our National Headquarters. So to end our year in fashion our membership scheduled a Christmas Party, with silent auction, food, drinks and lots of dancing. We are always planning ways to get ahead and be involved. This year we started with a fund raiser at the New Years Pow Wow, Fresno, at our booth are Commander Enrique Rudino, Finance Officer David Cropper and two members Rea Cichocki and Brenda Ashton. The event proved to be successful and lots of fun. But as always the need to improve is just a step away; our Color Guard set a date to practice with the American Indian Veterans Association (AIVA) in the cold of winter. These are dedicated men and women wanting to perform their best for every event to be scheduled, here is their photo at the start of practice. With the new year already here our plans are to help and serve as many Veterans and their families. We plan to be a play a big part of this year’s Fresno’s Stand Down scheduled for September 21-23, 2011, we are scheduled to help with the clothing distribution for the homeless vets. Hope to see you there. membership/benefits.html

Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—23

Post 101

POST Reports

Check out the websites of some of our posts to see what they are up to. If you find a site you like contact the post to learn how you can set up your own.

Katrina Survivor Arrives at Vet’s Home This program is in memory of Kathleen “Katy” Denslow.


MVETS Post 101 and Project KIKS hosted an Appreciation Ceremony in conjunction with The Black History Month Celebration at the Yountville Veterans Home. Activist and Family Advocate, Ms. Sidney A. Coleman, New Orleans, Louisiana served as guest speaker. As Office and Case Manager for the House of Ruth, a non profit, community based organization, Ms. Coleman specializes in homeless, veteran families, providing food, clothing, shelter, morale support and employment opportunities throughout the 9th Ward and Algiers. Ms. Coleman’s visit to California comes as a result of her connection with AMVETS Post 101 and their Project Kind Initiative for Kids Shoes, Project “KIKS” distributes shoes to needy children New Orleans, Soweto, South Africa and most recently, Vallejo, California. Ms. Coleman is volunteer director and co-founder for newly established Project KIKS, New Orleans. Her trip here was sparked by her community’s and by her personal desire to personally thank Yountville and Napa communities for their generosity in providing 2,500 pairs of athletic shoes locally purchased (Payless Shoes Stores, Napa, American Canyon, Vallejo (2 stores) and Fairfied). Plus, 800 pairs of athletic socks in support of our Forgotten Children of Post Katrina Campaign. Special thanks to Ms. Linda Adams, Gordon Training International, for her generous donation to purchase 800 pairs of athletic shoes. A very special thanks to Vans Shoes of Cypress, California, who donated five pallets of new shoes to Project KIKS. Paul Cheatham II, 1st Vice Commander, AMVETS Post 101 and founder of Project KIKA went to Africa where he handed out shoes to the children. Paul announced that to date over 5,ooo pairs of shoes have been donated to children in Africa, New Orleans and youth in the Vallejo area.

24—California AMVETS Voice


Post 2 Post 6

Post 113

Hidden treasures in your post


ive to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:7) Amvets Post 113    Board of Director                ( 12/2010 ) As a member of Amvets Post # 113 for over 25 years, I have realized that there are many members that have been over looked. These folks are hidden treasure in our post. Allow me to make mention of theses fine members. Pete Ramirez Pete has been Commander of post 113 for over 9 years and was appointed to AMVETS Service Foundation as Vice President. Pete was honorably appointed to sit on the Board Of Directors as an elder AIVA Native American Tribal Veterans. Ron Ferrara Ron is a member of the Board of Director and is recording secretary and Department N.E.C.   Ron also helped raise monies for scholarships in a local boys and girls club.  He also helped in raising funds for his church to help feed the needy and those who have fallen on hard times. Ben Aguayo Ben was elected State Provost Marshall 1994 and still holds this position today (2010). In the early 1980’s, Ben was asked by the State Am-Vets Commander to start a State Honor Guard. Today the honor guard is well known through out the state.  Performing service’s for our fallen brothers and sisters and bringing comfort and closure to families. Ben has been commander for over eight years and sits on the Board of Directors.  Ray Ramirez  Ray is a member of Board of Directors, 3rd Vice. Ray was honored in the City of Whittier as Veteran of the Month 2010. Ray was president of chapter 10 and 14 of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Association for many years. Ray sits on the Board of Director for the 173rd Airborne Brigade Monument Committee, honoring our falling Soldiers at Fort Benning, GA.  Chaplin Gilbert Becerril Phd./D.D.  Gilbert has been the Chaplin for many years and sits on the Board of Directors He founded and is pastor of Pathfinder Ministries in 1995, 501-C-3 non-profit was granted by the IRS.  He also oversees a weekly food bank. Gilbert was honored by the State of California Assembly as Veteran of the Year 2010 and Civic Grand Marshall in Azusa Golden Day parade 2010, He was also honored by U.S. House of Representatives for community involvement. He was awarded an Emmy from National Academy of Television and Science for Fox Sports in 2001. These are just a few of our members which are outstanding. 

Post 11 Post 26 Post 34 Post 40 Post 53 Post 85 Post 311 Post 940 Post 1240 Post 1775 Post 1996 Post 9126

Submitted by Gilbert Becerril

Vol. 15, No. 1

POST Reports Here are some great ideas your post can do to help veterans and your community!

Post 116

Dear Mr. Daniels, On behalf of the PRRC staff and veterans I would like to thank you for the wonderful Christmas gifts you presented to the veterans. These were so thoughtfully prepared and purchased by your organization.   They are so appreciated by the veterans!  I cannot thank you enough for your generosity to this program and all that you do for the veterans.  Sincerely, Donna Ames, MD Program Leader PRRC Greater Los Angeles VAMC

Post 1996

Post 2813


ill Schnorering passed away on Jan 29th, 2011. He was a well-known veteran in the Chico Community who served 20 years in the service of his country. He was instrumental in bringing to the City of Chico the Memorial Tribute to all Veterans in the City Plaza. Military honors for Bill were presented by the Chico Veterans Honor Guard. 

Condolences to Post 2813 and the family members of Bill Schnorering

Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—25








707 592-9040 530 549-3248 707 571-1830 707 441-1101 530 219-8050 707 986-9611 209 533-3071 909 885-0731 925 427-4745 707 592-7205 530 357-3380 408 226-5667 714 226-0690 909 885-0731






LEWIS DERFUSS 707 592-9040 GREG RAFFA 530 549-3248 JAY MATTHEWS 707 571-1830 ROCKY CRITES 707 441-1101 KEVIN KILKENNY 530 219-8050 THOMAS PIETILA 707 986-9611 DANIEL HOGAN 209 533-3071 HATTIE STONE 707 546-4889 MICHAEL ESPOSITO 925 427-4745 GEORGE TELLIS 707 592-7205 THOMAS JOHNSON 530 357-3380 U.S.VETS-Long Beach JAMES REESE 408 226-5667 GEORGE NEWELL 714 226-0690 ADVANCE Women’s Program

U.S.VETS-Long Beach

Announces the opening of:

U.S.VETS-Long Beach ADVANCE Women’s Program

ADVANCE Women’s Program Announces the opening of:


Announces the opening of: Requirements: 1. 90 days clean and sober and stable mental health 2. Honorably discharged veteran 3. Veteran women with 1-2 children up to 12 Y.O.


4. Single women veterans

1. 90 days clean and sober and stable mental health 2. Honorably discharged veteran


5. Maximum $50.00 per week income requirement

1. 90 days clean and sober and stable mental health

2. Honorably discharged veteran

3. Veteran women with 1-2 children up to 12 Y.O. 4. Single women veterans

Claudia Munson 3. Veteran women with 1-2 children up to 12 Y.O.

5. Maximum $50.00 per week income requirement 4. Single women veterans Contact:


Office: (562) 388-8126 Cell: (310)-261-9872 E-mail:

5. Maximum $50.00 per week income requirement

26—California AMVETS Voice

Claudia Munson

Vol. 15, No. 1 Contact:

SAD SACK Inputs for The Voice


am happy to report that we have made some positive progress in getting the Department of California SAD SACKS back to good standing status, but need your help in completing some additional required actions. After several years of communications and meetings with Jerry Cline the National SAD SACK Administrative Director and his help in working with us with the blessing of the National SADDEST we have chartered a new SACK, SACK 1776, serving Northern CA posts. I now have SAD SACK 1776 charter in my possession, members of 1776 and have both life and annual cards in their possession except for a few I haven’t gotten to members. The good news is that SACK 1776 has met the requirements to be in good standing. I know we have had some problems in the past with members getting their membership cards, what SACKS exist in CA and who are members of what SACK. I am happy to report that Jerry Cline has found some old records and sent them to me to help sort all this out. I have compiled the records provided into several spreadsheets that will aid with getting the rest of CA SACKS in good standing and need your help in getting this accomplished in the next few months. I have included these list and hope to have them published in AMVETS Voice so you can review. I made some updates that I am aware of as far as removing the Rouges who are no longer eligible to be members and those that I am aware of that have passed on. I may have missed a few who have since died since the info on the listings that were provided (2005) and am sorry to stir up memories. Please provide me feedback so I can update the rosters both here and at national. In addition to updating the membership list, I need list of Current SACK Officers, List of Life Members, List/D&R of annual members along with collecting dues remittance of $15.01 per member including each SACK’S Mascot. Of that $15.01 we send $7.01 to National and Dept should get $4.00 leaving $4.00 to be retained by the SACK. So for example a Sack has 9 Annual members they would collect $135.09 and send 9 + 1 for mascot times $11.01 to me and I will send $70.10 to national. The last records found date back to 2004 so we have been out of good standing since 2005 and all SACK and Dept Charter should have been pulled after 3 years of non-compliance. Jerry Cline is working with National SADDEST and myself in an effort to save our charters, asking that national grant a waiver of the three year charter revocation, if we get our requirements up to date this year. I need your help in getting this done in a timely manner. I am asking that your SACKS meet and make all efforts to get required documents and dues to me ASAP. My goal is to get this done before State Convention in June at Concord CA. For annual Members they have a choice of paying back dues from 2005---6 years worth or rejoining as a Yardbird, in which case I will need a Qualification form for each annual along with D&R

Congress and State of California Endorse Stories of Service


e are extremely pleased and proud to announce that Dr. Roscoe Brown has joined the Spirit of ‘45 Team as our newest National Spokesman. Dr. Brown, a former Army Air Force Captain, commanded the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group (the “Tuskegee Airmen”) in World War II, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters. He is credited with being the first 15th Air Force fighter pilot to shoot down a German jet fighter, and has been honored by the Intrepid Air-Space Museum in New York City for his outstanding leadership as Squadron Commander. On March 29, 2007, Dr. Brown joined several of his surviving comrades for a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, where the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their service during WWII.  Dr. Brown is currently advising film maker George Lucas on a new movie about the Tuskegee Airmen called “Red Tails,” which is scheduled for release in early 2012.   After the war, Dr. Brown was heavily engaged in education and public service, and was a trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for more than three decades.    http://www. Dr. Brown will be involved in all aspects of the 2011 national public awareness campaign.   He is preparing a public service announcement that will be shared with the attendees of the leadership conference in Baton Rouge later this month. It is an honor to have this distinguished member of the Greatest Generation with us to help assure the success of National Spirit of ‘45 Day this year! Warren Hegg

The good news is that there appears to be enough Life Members in each SACK to maintain minimums for a SACK so getting back in good standing should be easier than thought when I addressed those at Santa Maria DEC---This is Do-able. The SACKS Listed are: 12, 18, 80, 1990, and now 1776 which is the only Sack in good standing at this time. I also need to let you know that we will all have to review of CB&L and work on getting in compliance with our Non-Profit paperwork with Feds and State of CA. For SACK 1776 we elected to adopt National CB&L at least for now and we are working on other compliance paperwork. If you need forms or have questions please contact me. You may also send me your updated SACK Officer and Life Membership list to me electronically via email attachment. D&R’s will need to be mailed with correct dues remittance. Thanks for your help Lewis Derfuss, Dept of CA SADDEST 1213 California Drive, Vacaville CA 95687-6507 707 451-2631 HM 707 592-9040 Cell

Vol. 15, No. 1

California AMVETS Voice—27



Veterans and Military Retirees:


f you’ve have lost your DD 214 and would like to retrieve a certified copy, or other important service record page you might be missing, this website will get the forms back to you much quicker than the past 4-6 weeks it has routinely taken you in the past. Follow the instructions explicitly and print out the request. You should have your records back in about two weeks. Blogs


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Veterans' Service Records Home > Veterans' Service Records > Military Service Records Request Service Records

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Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records several ways.

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• Veterans Service Special Notice Regarding • Legislative Action Requests Military Service • State Table andof National Publications Contents Records Online Requests Using eVetRecs Use the following to request veterans' service records I from WW • Local Post Activities About Service Records Present. (Looking for Pre-WWI Service Records?) Required Information Correcting Service Records • Community RecommendedService Information All American Veterans who were honorably separated after Medical and Health Records Emergency Requests and Deadlines • Memorial Carillons September 15, 1940 or are now serving in the Armed Forces, National Locations of Service Launch the Download form Where to Send my request Records Guard or Reservists, are eligible for membership in AMVETS. eVetRecs SF-180 to mail • V.A.V.S. Older (pre-WWI) Service Cost System to start or fax your Records Response Time • Scholarships your request request. What Records are NOT Other Methods to Obtain Service Records


Application For Membership online.


Privacy I apply for:and New Annual Security of Veterans Records


(free for most veterans)

Checking the Status of your Request

 Life Membership & Pay $________ Post dues __________

Printed Name _________________________________________ Service# or SS# ____________________________________ Online Requests Using eVetRecs

Street Address___________________________________________ City __________________ State _____ Zip


Our online eVetRecs system creates a customized order form to request information from your, or

Sponsor __________________________ Phone _____________________ Branch of Service _________________________ your relative's, military personnel records. You may use this system if you are: Mo/Yr Entered SVC. _______/_______ Mo/Yr Discharged _______/_______ Type of Discharge _________________________ A military veteran, or Date of Birth (DD/MM/YY)

Next of a deceased, former member of/the military. of kin can be any of the / of kin/____ Date of Application /____The next Spouse _______________________________ following:

Signature_________________________________ Surviving spouse that has not remarried Father

Membership Fees: Mother


Son Daughter Sister Brother

LIFE: $200

New and Renewal Dues varies between Posts.

*Post dues vary.


Vol. 15, No. 1  

The California AMVET Voice

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