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Need volunteer to man VVA table

September 13 at 4:30 PM there will be a First Responders’ appreciation dinner at the National Guard armory.  We need someone to man our VVA info table.

Please contact Phil 605/881-6782 to volunteer

Member Drive

Site Selected for New Location for VA Clinic in Watertown

The Sioux Falls Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System has awarded a lease for a new site for the VA Community Based Clinic (CBOC) in Watertown. SD. Plans will now begin for the contractor, Command and Control Construction, LLC, to renovate the former Ace Hardware building at 12 19th S. NE in Watertown. Construction should start in late fall or early winter of 2018.

The current Watertown CBOC has 6,895 sq. feet; and the new clinic will add nearly 3,000 sq. feet for primary care, expanded mental health and telehealth services, as well as for physical therapy treatment.

Since the clinic’s humble beginning in 2009 as a temporary mobile clinic near the National Guard Armory, it has continued to grow with the support of Watertown area Veterans and the community. Currently located in the Willow Creek Plaza, VA staff serve approximately 2,300 Veterans who reside in 11 surrounding communities. The new clinic will have capacity to see up to 3,000 Veterans.

Memorial Day national events

Friday, May 25
National Cathedral “Blessing of the Bikes
As part of its ongoing Veterans Initiative, the Washington National Cathedral will welcome members of Rolling Thunder on Friday, May 25, at 5 p.m. ET, for its annual “Blessing of the Bikes” ceremony on the Cathedral’s cobblestone Walker Court. The Cathedral will also conduct special tours over the weekend and a national service on Sunday commemorating the honor and bravery of those who have died serving our Armed Forces. The Washington National Cathedral is located at 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Walker Court, in the District of Columbia.

Saturday May 26
VVA on the Mall
This Memorial Day Weekend, visit the Vietnam Veterans of America outreach tent on the Mall near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Sunday, May 27
Rolling Thunder XXXI Ride for Freedom
The Annual Ride for Freedom will begin assembling in the North Pentagon Parking lot at 8:00 am. At 12:00 noon the ride will begin, travelling from Virginia across the Memorial Bridge, through Washington, D.C., to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where respects will be paid to those memorialized on The Wall who gave their lives in defense of our freedoms. For more information: http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/41f266_2be5a794435e46248165113f5f8b20fe.pdf

Sunday, May 27  |  8:00-9:30 p.m. ET; rpt. 9:30-11:00 p.m. ET
National Memorial Day Concert  
On Sunday, May 27, PBS will unite our nation with an evening that honors the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families at home, and all of those who have given their lives for our country. The Memorial Day Concert will be hosted by Joe Mantegna, Gary Sinese, and General Colin Powell. It will be broadcast live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, May 27, 2017, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET; rpt. 10:00-11:30 p.m. (check local listings). For more information: http://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/features/performers/

Monday, May 28  |  11:00 AM
150th National Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to be followed by an observance program hosted by the Department of Defense in Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater. A prelude by the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30 a.m. Attendees are encouraged to be at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or seated in the amphitheater by 9:30 a.m. For more information: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/News/Post/4564

Monday, May 28 |  1:00 PM
Annual Memorial Day Observance at The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
On Monday, May 28, at 1 pm, thousands of veterans and their families will congregate at The Wall to remember and to honor those who served in the U.S. armed forces. The keynote speaker at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ceremonies in Washington, DC, is Dr. Hal Kushner, M.D., COL (Ret.) U.S. Army. For details: http://www.vvmf.org/2018-memorial-day

Monday, May 28  |  2:00 PM
2016 National Memorial Day Parade

Starting at the corner of Constitution Avenue and Seventh Streets NW, Washington, D.C., the parade will proceed west down Constitution Avenue past the White House and ending at 17th Street NW.
To watch the parade live, see the list of local stations nationwide: http://www.americanveteranscenter.org/avc-events/parade/national-memorial-day-parade/watch-parade/

The National Cemetery Administration will host Memorial Day ceremonies at VA national cemeteries across the country with the help of local communities. Each cemetery and community will add its own special touch of patriotism and “thanks” during the events.

2018 chapter election results

President: Jack Kempter

Vice President: Phil Braeger

Jr. Vice: Darrell Berning

Chaplain: Don Zafft

Treasurer: Don Reconnu

Secretaries: Sherry Janssen & Assistant: Rich Felberg

New Board members: Earl Cass, Jim Strom, Bob Syring

Regional Veterans Cemetery Info

A recent city cemetery meeting uncovered the following concerns:

1. The only “veteran” council member (a non-activated guard), said he had only heard negative comments about our cemetery. The mayor and council NEVER met with us beforehand! Please contact the mayor and  ALL council members below (ESPECIALLY the one representing your ward) and let’s flood them with our approval of the cemetery! A map link is included below to find your ward.

2. The council thinks our name “Veterans Cemetery of South Dakota” is illegal and can’t be used.  This is FALSE.

3. They think our cemetery has to be state (or federally) “sanctioned.” That is also FALSE. It was always started as a regional cemetery following all the state (& national)  rules – in hopes of possibily, someday becoming a state cemetery (which is absolutely NOT necessary!)

4.  They think they are giving us land but question the maintenance of it.  This too is FALSE!  We will be using their land but developing and maintaining it ourselves with our own funds.  There is absolutley NO COSTS to the city!!

Here is the contact info for the city council:

MAYOR Sara Caron  605-882-6200 ext.3574 scaron@watertownsd.us
WARD A (NE Wtn)
Mike Danforth   605-882-4896 mdanforth@watertownsd.us
Don Roby         605-753-5679 droby@watertownsd.us
WARD B (N Central Wtn)
Adam Lalim       605-868-3487 alalim@watertownsd.us
Jon Solum         605-520-2803 jsolum@watertownsd.us
WARD C (Central & SW Wtn)
Brad Thorson  605-881-7500 bthorson@watertownsd.us
Beth Mantey    605-868-1114 bmantey@watertownsd.us
WARD D (SE Wtn)
Josh Weyh        605-868-1220 jweyh@watertownsd.us
City Council President:
Bruce Buhler    605-886-6743 bbuhler@watertownsd.us
WARD E (Lake & W Wtn)
Glen Vilhauer    605-886-9320 gvilhauer@watertownsd.us
Dan Albertsen.   605-886-9265 dalbertsen@watertownsd.us

And here is a link to a map of the wards:

https://www.watertownsd.us/DocumentCenter/View/221

Veterans Cemetery City Meeting

Gerry Likness (Regional Ambassador for Make A Wish) received $500 from Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1054 President Jack Kempter. After a hat was passed during the VVA meeting Gerry had a total of $1,457.

Watertown Public Opinion Editorial 2/10/2018

Veteran gene-mapping project (MVP)