Veterans for Peace
PRESENT: Tom Whitney, Victor Skorapa, Kristina Wolff
(vice-president), Dan Ellis (Membership Guru and Web Servant), Richard Clement,
Rita Clement, Stan Lofchie, Bill Rixon, Bruce Gagnon, Tim Blanchette (Treasurer),
Robin Spencer, Bob Lezer (President), Arthur Whitman, Marianne Whitman,
Clarence Smith (archivist), Jack Bussell, Tom Sturtevant, Suzanne Hedrick,
Tom Whitney, Peggy Akers, Dud Hendrick, and Doug Rawlings (Secretary)
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
held as part of January, 2008 Retreat at
Chewonki Institute, Wiscasset, Maine
After a delightful evening of good food, good entertainment, and a hearty
night in the yurts for some of us at the Chewonki Institute, the members
of VFP William Ladd Chapter gathered for a business meeting on Saturday,
January 26th. Note: once again, the Chewonki staff are to be thanked for
their hospitality, including breakfast and lunch on Saturday.
President Bob Lezer began the session with an hour and a half "introduction":
each member around the table introduced herself or himself and then provided
some personal history - why he or she joined VFP, etc etc. It was great
fun and an excellent opportunity to learn more about our brothers and sisters
in the chapter.
The Business Meeting began at 11:10am.
- Last month's Secretary's Report was accepted (Bussell
motion; Whitman second).
- Treasurer's Report: Tim Blanchette gave us the
- We received a check from MaineShare for $4,628
- We received a check from RESIST for $350 (RESIST
provided all recent grantees with a "bonus" check; we had received
a grant from them for our Calendar Project)
- We received $200 in membership dues.
- We paid out $698.09 to MaineShare as part of our
- Available funds as of January 26th: $11,800.
- Treasurer's Report was accepted (Whitman motion;
- Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that he
thought membership reminders by e-mail were not effective. As of January
26th, there were 118 members who were paid up for the year (93 veteran
memberships and 25 associate memberships). Of our membership base, there
were 50 who had not yet renewed for the year. Dan sent out 63 reminders
in November alone (with 36 renewals as a result). Following monthly
renewals were not as successful. Dan will continue to send out snail
mail and e-mail reminders.
- Bruce Gagnon pointed out that non-profit research
has shown that the best months to ask for donations and membership
renewals are January and February when people are more likely to
give. The next best month is September.
- It was suggested that members willing to call for renewals do so,
and quite a few people around the table agreed to make those calls.
- Tim reported that so far we have raised $1640 in
membership dues for 2007, which is lower than we usually get (about
$2200). We did receive $646 in donations during 2007.
The floor was then opened for discussion. No more nominations
were forthcoming. President-elect Dud Hendrick thanked the assembly for
their confidence in him and then offered some reservations: since he lives
in Deer Isle, the trips to various business meetings can be onerous, so,
on occasion, he would have to turn our meetings over to our very capable
vice-president-elect. He definitely sees August as a month when that would
occur. No one saw that as a problem. He also suggested that we hold every
fifth meeting in Belfast. Dud acknowledged the magnitude of the job he has
been nominated for and urged us to spread out the responsibilities of all
positions to more members. He would like to see an organizational chart
designed and implemented that would share our commitments and take advantage
of the skills our members possess. He also suggested that we should consider
limiting officers' terms to two or three years each and begin to look for
successors at every two years. We should also stagger terms to allow for
- President Bob Lezer announced his decision to resign
as president, effective February 1st, 2008. Bob's decision was greatly
influenced by his doctor's advice. He will remain active in the chapter.
Bob received a resounding round of applause for his great work as our
president, with special emphasis on his Herculean efforts in putting
together our 2007 PTSD Symposium. We all acknowledged that Bob's efforts
have advanced the interests and standing of our chapter immensely.
- The VFP William Ladd Chapter Nominating Committee
(Art Whitman, Tom Sturtevant, and Stan Lofchie) presented a slate of
officers for the members to consider:
- President: Dud Hendrick
- Vice-President: Kristina Wolff
- Secretary: Doug Rawlings
- Treasurer: Tim Blanchette
Peggy suggested that we seriously consider car-pooling to various meetings.
Tim suggested exploring videoconferencing to increase participation in meetings.
Kristina suggested that we take the opportunity to use the Belfast meetings
as joint meetings with the Bangor Chapter. Dud agreed to contact them to
see if that would be possible. He also suggested that we use our next meeting
to establish terms and site locations for this year's business meetings.
Vice-president-elect Kristina Wolff remarked that she would be thrilled
to continue what she's doing as the vice-president. Her research is important
to her (and will be important to the chapter as well). She and a colleague
are exploring the nature of Junior ROTC around the country and have tentatively
concluded that ROTC programs have a negative impact on college-going rates
among high school students. Stan suggested that Dr. Wolff present her findings
at a VFP National Convention.
Secretary-elect Doug Rawlings said that he'd be glad to serve another term.
Treasurer-elect Tim Blanchette accepted his nomination and suggested that
officers' terms be held to 2 or 3 years, max.
Discussion of the nominees and the nomination process was then concluded.
The nominating committee had invested in standing president Bob Lezer the
power to cast a single vote for the slate of nominees. He did in the affirmative.
His vote was applauded by all around the table. The new officers will take
office beginning February 1, 2008.
- Bob Lezer announced that we have an Eric Hoerter-produced
DVD of the 2007 PTSD Symposium and asked how many copies we'd like to
have. Each copy would cost $1.75. We recommended making up a dozen copies
for circulation (perhaps at tables or to send to prospective speakers
at future PTSD Symposia). We officially thanked Eric for his contribution
to the chapter and his excellent work as "unofficial" VFP Chapter 001
- Jack Bussell and Bruce Gagnon announced an upcoming 1st
District Forum for people running for Tom Allen's vacated seat, sponsored
by our chapter and various peace groups around the 1st district. The forum
would focus on U.S. Military Foreign Policy. It will be held at the Rhines
Auditorium in Portland on March 11th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Five of six
Democratic candidates have confirmed attendance. The auditorium would
cost $155.00. Snacks and other amenities about $350.00. Jack and Bruce
requested $500 from our VFP Chapter to help sponsor the event. VFP would
have a table at the event. The event will be videotaped and moderated
by Rev. Bill Bliss of the United Church of Christ in Bath. After opening
remarks (5 minutes each) by the candidates attendees would have the opportunity
to question the candidates. Rawlings moved and Wolff seconded the proposal
that VFP Chapter 001 contribute $500 to the event. Approved.
- Children of War Project: Doug shared an e-mail message
from Jerry Genesio urging us to start working on organizing/preparing
for wounded Iraqi children (there are 10 ready for flight to the U.S.
within the next several weeks). We need to contact hospital administrators,
find hosts and transportation providers, and translators (Spoken Arabic).
His website (www.childrenofwarrescue.org) provides more information. Volunteers
from the chapter are needed. Please contact Doug Rawlings at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you're interested in helping out. Doug will see if the Farmington area
might have the infrastructure to help out. Other towns?
- After lunch Bob Lezer encouraged us to sign up for committees
to carry on this year's work. His goal is to "flatten out" the organization
and get more of the work spread out to as many members as possible. Bruce
suggested that we establish a year's calendar and then send out committee
announcements. Each committee should have a chair to coordinate activities
and to report back to the chapter officers.
- Kristina Wolff began a discussion of the group's
organization, based on suggestions that arose at the organizational meeting
earlier in the month. Her suggestions:
- We maintain the same structure to accommodate the
demands of MaineShare and other potential granting agencies
- We need better lines of communication and we need
to involve more people
- We need to formalize the president's and vice-president's
jobs more precisely. Background administrative work is too much for
the president to do, so we need to set up major committees ("Groups
of Ostentatious Fun") with clear organizational responsibilities.
These committees (GOOFS) would cut down on business meeting time and
keep more members better informed.
- President would be in touch with half the GOOFS and
the vice-president with the other half.
- Kristina agreed to do more of the "paperwork."
- Dan Ellis has created a new e-mail address for the
chapter that will never change, regardless who the officers are. It
- Doug Rawlings discussed his current role as secretary
and "gatekeeper" of the list-serve. He wanted to clarify the list-serve
function: i.e., that he has been making decisions about what goes
on to the list-serve and what doesn't. Dan Ellis, our web servant,
has already included a disclaimer at the end of each message that
explains the purpose of the list-serve (it's not a blog nor is it
a place for personal messages). Doug wanted to find out if members
felt comfortable with his process. They do. He then suggested that
officers and board members maintain an informal oversight function
to ensure that he doesn't suddenly get too whacked out and start posting
inappropriate messages. He seemed to think that might be a possibility.
- Dud posed this question: how do we get younger people
to join our chapter? Kristina (the youngest member in attendance)
suggested that her generation would be tough to bring on board: we
need to encourage non-combat veterans to join us. How do we reach
them? Put small cards onto posters. Put small ads into local newspapers.
- Dan Ellis asked for $100 to get website calendar software
for our site. That would help get word out about our future meetings
and actions. Doug moved and Jack seconded the proposal that $100 be
given to Dan for the calendar software. Approved.
- We spent the remainder of the afternoon watching the
documentary ""Soldiers of Conscience," a beautiful film about Iraq
and Afghan veterans who decide to seek conscientious objector status.
- The meeting officially adjourned at 3:30pm.
Veterans For Peace
William Ladd Chapter
PO Box 274
Freeport, Maine 04032-0274