Veterans for PeacePRESENT: Peggy Akers, Bob Lezer, Kristina Wolff, Tom Whitney, Pete Cavanaugh, John Herrick, Al Norton, Jeffrey Phillips, Louise Somlyo, Stan Lofchie, Bob Dale, Dave Crowley, Dan Ellis, Dud Hendrick, Herb Hoffman, Bruce Gagnon, Michael Uhl, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Tom Sturtevant, Tim Blanchette, and Doug Rawlings
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
December 4, 2008
Meg Perry Center
The meeting began at 7:10 pm.
Our announced guest speaker, Judith Southworth from Catholic Charities of Maine, could not make the meeting since she was busy preparing for the arrival of 200 Iraqi refugees.
Chapter 001 Business Meeting Report:
The October 2008 Minutes were accepted (Wolff motion; Lofchie second). The motion was based on minutes provided over the internet. The secretary, upon arriving late to the meeting, distributed six copies of the minutes later on in the meeting.
Treasurer’s Report: Tim stated that there was little activity over the past month. We will be receiving money from MaineShare in January. Our balance as of October 28, 2008, was $6369.78. After incurring expenses of $1493.20 for the month (postage and supplies equaling $37.20; donations to Global Network and Peace and Justice Center equaling $300; payment to Chewonki for last year’s retreat equaling $906; and the deposit to the University of Southern Maine for the 2009 PTSD Symposium equaling $250) and receiving income of $306.17 (membership dues and donations), we ended up on December 4, 2008 with a balance of $5182.75. Our Legal Defense Fund is holding steady at $1730 and our 2010 Convention account is holding steady at $2000. Lezer moved and Wolff seconded that the report be accepted. It was.
Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that we have 185 members to date (151 veteran members and 34 associate members). 113 of these members are fully paid up. Stan, Pete, Bob, Tom, Dud, Herb, Dave, and Peggy agreed to help Dan contact members who had not paid their dues to date and remind them of their obligation.
Nominating Committee: Tom reported that there has been no need for the committee to meet.
MaineShare: Tom reported that he’ll mention our chapter’s work with the PTSD Symposia and the closing of bases at the December 10th MaineShare meeting.
Rob Pfeiffer: After thanking everyone for her/his commitment to VFP and our causes, Dud introduced Rob to further discuss Rob’s idea of extending counseling services to Iraq and Afghan War veterans who are suffering from PTSD. As mentioned in earlier minutes, Rob has been meeting informally with veterans for quite awhile. He’d like to see if our VFP chapter would be interested in funding his efforts. Rob talked of his faith in non-invasive, alternative techniques that do not employ heavy medication. He’s interested in getting some funds to help advertise what he can offer and also, perhaps, to hold a workshop at our next PTSD Symposium. Stan asked if he’s seeking VFP name to be attached to his services; Rob replied that that would be a nice idea, but he’s unsure of how we feel about that (there are still concerns about liability issues).
To give us a better idea of the alternative services Rob is interested in, he introduced Janet Leeson (?) from Camden, ME, who has been involved in “Emotional Freedom Techniques” for the past 8 years. She claims that techniques like this can help people deal with trauma by releasing their traumatic memories. According to Janet, the Los Angeles VA hospital has been using this technique with great success. Bob Lezer confirmed its success; Peggy Akers mentioned that firefighters have been using this technique with great success. Stan asked Janet if she were licensed (she is not). Janet recommended going to the website www.emofree.com for more information.
Dud echoed our concerns about insurance issues and asked Rob to submit a formal proposal. We are interested in Rob’s idea of workshops during the symposium and perhaps at the 2010 convention, but we need more information. Rob was here tonight, looking for a “green light” from us and to introduce Janet’s work as an example of the alternative approaches he’s interested in. Rob would like us to provide him with $1,000 to use for printing up a brochure, for distributing the material, and to further expand awareness of his offerings. Kristina asked about our chapter’s level of commitment to this project and if we could sustain that commitment long enough to make the operation successful. Michael remarked that we should be involved in outreach programs for veterans, but that we shouldn’t get into the business of evaluating treatments for PTSD. He endorses the concept that Rob has presented (trauma treatment for veterans) because it dovetails nicely into VFP’s mission (particularly, our concern about the costs of war). Stan insisted that we should have something in writing from Rob about this project, something that we can take to our PTSD committee for further review. Dud affirmed that this is an issue we can undertake and asked for a motion from the membership. Michael moved that we offer our support to Rob’s proposal contingent upon his presenting a formal proposal to our VFP chapter that is accepted by the membership (Doug seconded). During the discussion of the question, Herb asked Rob to please “spell out” what he’s after – how are you going to involve veterans? Is it clinic without walls? How will you get the service to the veterans? Stan mentioned that he is uncomfortable with medical proposals that are not firmly supported by research. The vote was called, and all but one were in favor of the motion; one member abstained.
Miles Freeman: Herb informed us that Miles will be recognized as Ogunquit’s “Citizen of the Year” this December. Miles would like to have as many VFP members at the celebration as possible. It has been moved up to December 20th at 3:00pm. Dud mentioned that we should send a contingent of VFP members down and that he, as president, would write a letter to the townspeople of Ogunquit acknowledging Herb’s many contributions to VFP and the cause of peace. For those of you who don’t know, Miles is currently 85 years old, was a conscientious objector during WWII, and has been an active member of VFP since its inception. Our presence at the celebration would be greatly appreciated.
Chapter Annual Retreat: Dud announced that the retreat will be held at the Chewonki site again this year, starting in the evening of January 23rd and continuing through the afternoon of January 24th. On Friday evening (the 23rd), there will be a pot luck dinner, great conversation, music, and, perhaps, a movie. Saturday will begin with breakfast at 7:00am (yurts are available for overnight stay Friday night). Dud opened the floor for discussion of how Saturday should unfold:
2009 PTSD Symposium: Michael suggested that the committee needs to begin communicating again; he will review more PTSD material and will open up a discussion with our keynote speaker (Dr. Judith Herman) about the day. Doug will contact Dr. Herman as well.
2010 Convention Update: Nothing new to report.
No Bases Conference: Bruce reminded members of the Conference in Washington, DC on February 27th, 28th, and March 1st at American University. There will include am protest at the Pentagon as well as lobby day on Monday. The focus of the conference is to organize peace groups around the issue of national U.S. bases as well as international ones. AFSC, VFP, IPS, and American University are co-sponsors of the event. Bruce encourages our membership to get down there since Dud, Michael, and Bruce are key organizers of the event (and, of course, the issue is of utmost importance to all of us).
Gerry Oleson’s Sunny Corner Fuel Assistance Project: Dud wanted to officially recognize fellow VFP member Gerry Oleson in his efforts on behalf of the poor. So far he has raised $34,000 to support 131 families in need of fuel assistance. There is a backlog of 80 more families needing assistance. Bob moved (and Kristina seconded) that we donate $200.00 to the project. All agreed.
Fundraising: Stan talked about Ted Weegan and his fundraising techniques (Weegan is an entrepreneur who lives in Portland). Stan met with Weegan and asked about how we could raise some funds. Weegan recommended that we make common cause with IVAW and use them for a unifying fund drive; he also recommended getting the board to seek out donations (up to $500 from each donor); to divide up a membership list to act as callers. We should use person-to-person contacts and set up high goals (perhaps raise $5,000 in a given year?). Money raised should be for specific actions (Rob’s project or the PTSD symposium or . . .). Stan suggested that we continue this discussion at our retreat.
Bring the National Guard Home Campaign: Tom Sturtevant passed out material about the campaign. New Jersey has a model resolution that we could copy. Tom said that he’d do some work in Augusta (contact supportive legislators) and try get this issue into the hopper as a possible bill for January.
Louise and Ron Fisher: Louise brought Ron’s web page to our attention (www.wethepeoplenow.org). Ron is a member of VFP living in Arlington, Va who is encouraging peace groups to get together to pressure the Obama administration to follow a more progressive agenda.
Dud and the Iraqi Refugees: Dud mentioned that Judith Southworth and Danny Muller are working to support the 200 Iraqi refugees coming to Portland this winter. The refugees are supported by catholic Charities; they’re looking for furniture donations, appliances, supplies, etc.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00pm.
NEXT MEETING: FEBRUARY 19TH, 7:00 PM, BUKER COMMUNITY CENTER, AUGUSTA, MAINE
DON’T FORGET THE RETREAT ON JANUARY 23RD!!!