Letters to the Editor
It was great to see everyone at this year’s convention. I hadn’t been to a national convention for a while and was blown out of my mind by all the effort and the professionalism that went into the conference. Keep up the good work.
You cannot imagine what our conventions were like 40 years ago when there was only an Acting Executive Director, a Secretary, and me (Field Service Program Director).
Here is what happened in back in 1974: We had worked hard to secure a banquet speaker from the White House. It ended up being Brigadier General Ted Mars, Special Assistant to the President. General Mars’ job was to gain support for President Nixon from the veterans organizations. When the afternoon of the banquet arrived, we received word that a plane was being sent for General Mars so that he could return to the White House immediately. The Commandant of the Air Force Academy down the road was to be his replacement. We later learned that the White House had called the Commandant while he was in the middle of a round of golf!
We always wondered if he thought that he was receiving a big promotion since it was a call from the White House. However, they told him to be the replacement speaker at the BVA convention that evening in Denver. He gave a great speech, considering the circumstances. We were all focused on the breaking news and together watched President Nixon resign from the Presidency!
Past National President
Everyday Conversation Brings Extraordinary Response
Routine encounters that occur seemingly by chance can nonetheless bring results that later seem meant to be. Such was the case for Region 1 National Service Officer Wanda Grover as she traveled recently by subway to the VA Medical Center in the Bronx.
“We never really know how much of a difference we can actually make in ordinary situations and on ordinary days” she said. “I think we all need to be reminded to be courteous in explaining things to others in this day and age of technology.”
Wanda’s “chance” encounter occurred with Philip Reilly, a member of American Legion Post 2001 in New York City, as the two made their way to the same facility but for expressly different purposes.
Wanda explained to Reilly the purpose of her travel, what it was like to take public transportation in a place like New York as a legally blind visitor, and how he could best guide her. She made a strong enough impression on her new acquaintance that the latter used the contact information on the business card Wanda gave him to later send the following message to her by email:
“Dear Wanda: My name is Philip Reilly and I am the gentleman that met you on the #1 train, where we were both going to the VA Hospital. I was so inspired by your demeanor and your abilities to inspire other veterans. It was such an honor for me to meet someone as inspiring and dedicated as you are to other veterans. God certainly made you a special person! If you are ever going to the VA Hospital in the Bronx, I would like to attend one of your presentations. If you are ever in New York again, I would be honored to take you and a colleague out to lunch.”
Opportunities such as Wanda’s are out there for all of us if we simply look for them!