Chapter Activities

 2008 Activities


Chapter Activities



Galveston County Chapter 685 of the Vietnam Veterans of America has again been busy this last year.

This happened on 4-26-2008.

Last night or I should say this morning Marilyn and I went to the reserve center to welcome the Marines home from Iraq. They were coming home around 1AM so we started out around 12:15 AM. It has been a long time since we have been on Houston's freeways at that hour. I was almost lulled to sleep except for the occasional crazy trying to make it to the next bar before last call. Been there and done that back in my excrement kicking days when I was younger in my early 50's. Now we live a 9-2-5 existence. Up at 9, Nap at 2, and bed by 5. I embellished that a little to make it more exciting. Despite not having the luxury of just following the traffic we finally found our way to the reserve center. I had to fight the wheel to keep my car from turning into the VA Hospital as we went past but finally got it under control. The families of the Marines were there waiting along with members of the PGR. The Marines had come into Hobby Airport and their CO had gone there to brief them so that they would be free to be with their families when they got to the center. Around 2AM we watched with pleasure as three busses pulled in and these wonderful young people got out. A couple of people who thought that they were in charge and had a handle on things were yelling to stay behind the ropes and signs. Fortunately they were able to get out of the way without being run over and hurt when the families came through the ropes and swarmed their loved ones. It was an amazing sight and one I would not have missed for the world. Marilyn was able to get a few hugs from these young guys. Hummm? I think that I even saw one couple going behind a conex but what the heck, go for it, they earned the right. I was able to talk to the Commanding Officer and present him with one of our, "On behalf of a grateful nation" prints to hang in their orderly room and 300 of the small cards to pass out to his Marines. This was their second deployment to Iraq. The CO invited Marilyn and I to their Party on Friday and told us that he was giving his unit the whole week off. He also told us that they were moving to Elington AFB in the near future and we told him that Elington was almost in our front yard so he invited us to their ribbon cutting ceremonies when it happens. I came to the conclusion after this experience that it just don't get any better than this. And one last thing about living next to Elington;
A company of Apache's with hellfire's - Million's
2 F-15's and a squadron of F-16's - Billions
Having a company of battle hardened Badass Marines next door - Priceless
Semper Fi
Jim Rose, President
Galveston County Chapter 685
Vietnam Veterans of America    



A couple of years ago Roland Castanie informed our chapter that he would like to create artwork that would honor the sacrifices of our Nation's service men and women from Texas who have given their lives in the war on terror. The prints would be presented to their Next of Kin to show our respect and to give them comfort for their sacrifices as well as those of their loved one. We talked Roland into going one step further and present them to the next of kin of every American service man or woman anywhere who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. The result was our print, "On behalf of a Grateful Nation". We collected funding and had 5000 prints printed. We have given out over 2000 to families from all 50 states. Members of our chapter go to the memorials and viewings in our area to present them to the families. Other Chapters of the VVA have presented them for us in their areas and members of the Army Transportation Association Vietnam (ATAV) and the VFW have presented some in their area of the country. We have expanded the presentations to Service Members of the Armed Forces who have a Purple Heart and are permanently disabled because of wounds received in the war on terror. "On behalf of a Grateful Nation" will never be for sale. To find out more about this program call Jim Rose at 281-991-1467 or e-mail .

Jim Rose, President
Galveston County Chapter 685
Vietnam Veterans of America 




Members of Chapter 685 and the Texas State Council went to College Station Texas to Present a set of our Prints to the Texas A&M University Corp of Cadets to hang in their Museum.

We have all heard someone say, "Itís all about the money", and some of us have even said it ourselves. Things like spending millions of your own money for a two hundred thousand dollar a year job or watching someone wait eighteen months on a claim and then be awarded ten percent disability or forming some committee that costs thousands to study some problem that has a solution that is as obvious as the nose on your face. Maybe even when that give a thirty dollar a month raise to your Social Security and take twenty dollars back for Medicare payments. But there are times when we can truly say, "Itís not about the money".

Marilyn and I along with Lynda Greene, who is one of the organizers, worked the Stand Down for Homeless Veterans in Houston Thursday. These stand downs are not about the money. In fact the organizations associated with the stand down spend their time and money to help these veterans who are down on their luck. Organizations such as the Texas Veterans Commission, The Veterans Administration, US Vetís, The Houston Volunteer Lawyerís association, and AMVETSís to name a few. This is the second year I have watched these organizations treat homeless veterans with respect and dignity as we who are more fortunate have come to expect. Marilyn was the "Free Hugs" lady again. We saw Veterans that came in homeless last year that came back this year working for one of the agencies helping other homeless veterans. The VA people were compassionate and helpful. Itís not about the money.

There are two professions that everyone could say, "Itís not about the money". One is the educators and the other is this countryís military. It seems that it has always been that way. I can remember being in Nam dodging B-40's, 51, and AK rounds and come payday feeling that the sixty five dollars extra they gave me each month really made a difference. I am sure that the three point five percent pay raise or whatever it is that the military will receive come December will be appreciated while they dodge AK rounds and IEDís. Because it is not about the money. This nationís military families have learned tricks no one else knows. They have learned how to stretch a dollar until Washington screams uncle because they have to. But they sacrifice because it is not about the money. I told one of my Iraq Veteran friends today that if this country wants to balance the budget each year they should get rid of all of the accountants and get ten military wives together in a room and tell them how much money they have to spend. It is about respect, honor, duty, and love for freedom and country.

For all of you that took what life had to throw at you and for everyone that ever had to learn how to make old George Washington scream uncle have a great and safe Veteranís Day.

Jim Rose, President



She pushed her cart down the isle

her head swinging from side to side

stopping to pick up two cans of beans

and a small box of tide


Over to the meat counter she went

and looked it up and down

she could afford some stew beef

and maybe some ground round


She picked up her purse

and took out her pocket book

even though she knew what she had

she couldnʼt resist the look


opening it up she knew what she would find

in the little pocket there were two tens and a five

She let out a sigh but didnʼt complain

her and the children would survive


She would buy some beans

and they would live day to day

her check from the military

was only two weeks away


Her husband was far away fighting a war

being all that he could be

If he could make those sacrifices

so could she


Later that evening

after putting the kids to bed

those secret thoughts of him

rushed through her head


Sacrifices had to be made

thatʼs the way it had to be

but she did not understand why

she had to be so lonely


In the dark she prayed to the Lord

dear Lord use your Devine touch

to bring him back safe to me

I have suffered a lot and I am not asking for much


I have been patient

even when times have been bad

but I need my husband

and the kids need their dad


Jim Rose


AVVA Texas has been really busy. We all have just returned from our Texas State Council Meeting, which was held in Denton, TX hosted by Chapter 920. Great job Denton.

We had a really good meeting. Texas now has 15 Chapter Rep. 13 out of 15 were there to represent their chapters. Total of attendance was approximately 50 people. We are having a membership drive for the TSC meeting in Feb. 2009. The Chapter with the most new members will win $100.00. And the same goes for the meeting in June 2009.  AVVA Texas along with the VVA Texas and along with all Chapters in Texas is raising a $1.00 per name for all theVeterans from Texas that are on THE WALL. There are 3,415 names from Texas on THE WALL. This money is going to be sent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Museum Foundation Fund in Washington, D.C. for the building of this Museum.  We have seminars on Saturday and this time we held our Loving your Veteran PTSD seminar and then we had a fun thing to finish off the day. We had a facial makeover. Boy we all looked 10 years younger.


Listed below will be all the events that the different chapters have been involved in since the last UPDATES newsletter.

Garage Sales, Working on new Chapter Homes, Raising money for Veterans Memorial, Working with Incarcerated Veterans, Flag Retiring Ceremonies, Donating money to build a home for a Veteran, Raising money for Scholarships,

Doing the Welcome Home for the Veterans in the War on Terror, helping local Food Banks, Annual Watch fire, Presenting the ďOn Behalf of a Grateful NationĒ print to the next of kin of every veteran killed in the War on Terror, Helping Homeless veterans, and putting wreaths on Graves. As everyone can see, Texas AVVA Chapters have been very busy this year.

Marilyn Rose,

AVVA Texas President


I find it ironic that moments of enlightenment seem to come most often during times of sadness and loss. Yesterday Marilyn and I along with John Boerstler, assistant to Congressman Nick Lampson, attended the viewing of Staff Sgt. Edgar A. Heredia, a Marine killed in Afghanistan. John is a Marine and was there to pay his and the Congressman's respects and to present an American flag flown over the White House in Staff Sgt. Heredia's honor to the family. We were there to present our print and offer the respect of the Vietnam Veterans of America to the family. Staff Sgt. Heredia was a sniper and reconnaissance team leader for Marine force recon and had done a tour in Iraq as well as Afghanistan. I talked to one of his fellow Marines that was there and he told me that Staff Sgt. Heredia was one of the best. As Marilyn and I were leaving Staff Sgt. Heredia's Brother, Sam, stopped us in the parking lot and asked to have a word with us. He said that we had done a wonderful thing for his family. He said that his Brother had loved America and that he also loved America and it was because of people like us and the way the people of America have treated his family. Staff Sgt. Edgar A. Heredia and his family are legal residents in America from Mexico and his brother Sam is a Border Patrol Agent. My enlightenment? All we ever hear about is illegal immigrants from the media and people we talk to. How come these wonderful people's stories are never told? Million's of Americans go about their mundane lives never thinking about the wonder of America and people like this family are willing to lay down their lives for it. And what kind of love does it take for a Brother, who has just lost his younger Brother fighting for our country, to come up to me in a funeral home parking lot and tell me that he loves America? There are no words adequate enough to describe love like that. Yesterday that family did more for me than I could ever do for them.
Jim Rose, President
Galveston County Chapter 685
Vietnam Veterans of America



We are looking forward to the next year and serving the Veterans and the community in which we live. Job well done, Brothers and Sisters and Welcome Home


Jim Rose, President

Galveston County Chapter 685

Vietnam Veterans of America