Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
April 24, 2008
Belfast Public Library
Belfast, Maine

PRESENT: Bruce Gagnon, Clarence Smith, Dana Williams (Chap 003), Gerald Oleson (Chap 003), Bob McElwain (Chap 003), Dan Avener (Chap 003), Michael Uhl, Dud Hendrick, Richard Clement, Bob Lezer, Peggy Akers, Dan Ellis, Kristina Wolff, Stan Lofchie, Loukie Lofchie, Rob Shetterly, Robin Spencer, George Baggett (Chap 003), and Doug Rawlings

Prior to the Business Meeting, Dud Hendrick and Peggy Akers presented slides and led a discussion of their recent visits to Vietnam.

At 7:00pm, our first joint meeting of the William Ladd Chapter (001) and Chapter 003 began.


Gerry Oleson from 003 reported about his chapter’s poetry project (passing out quite handsome poetry chapbooks of students’ work) and asked about how to spread then word of Chapter 003’s work. Michael Uhl suggested that the chapter submit material for the national newsletter. Dan Ellis volunteered his services to help Chapter 003 improve its website. Gerry then spoke of his chapter’s work with “full disclosure” in local schools, pointing out that we in the “counter-recruitment” movement can have as much access to schools as recruiters do.

Tom Sturtevant from 001 reported that we will have a table at the May 1st Principals’ conference (Cost of $300) at Samoset this year. He, Gerry, and George Baggett will staff the table. Tom expects to have some good literature there and hopes to engage principals in some lively discussions about recruitment at their schools. Kristina suggested that we have the VFP calendars there to give away (Dud has 60 of them to provide for the table).

Gerry Oleson and Bob McElwain reported out on the status of David Gillis, Ron Gillis’s son who has returned from Iraq as a wounded veteran. He is presently in Walter Reed Hospital. His mother is trying to see him as much as possible, but she has limited financial resources. Stan Lofchie moved (K. Wolff second) that Chapter 001 provide $300 to Mrs. Gillis to help defray expenses. Approved. A friendly amendment was then added to send a message via the Chapter 001 list-serve asking for individual donations and supportive letters to David as well. We agreed to do that.

Dud Hendrick opened up the possibility of having both of our chapters combine forces a couple of times a year to host events. Some suggested activities included the upcoming PTSD Symposium in Portland on June 7th; an Arlington East installment (the “sea” of crosses begun in California by the Santa Barbara Chapter that acknowledge the deaths of American soldiers killed in Iraq) that we have discussed earlier in the year; the demonstration against the Blue Angels in September down in Brunswick (contact Bruce Gagnon if you’re interested); Memorial Day Parade in Brunswick; and the Fourth of July parade in Bangor. We agreed that this conversation should continue and that we should try to get together at least twice a year for “combined events.”

Michael Uhl brought up our concerns about dwindling membership at the national level. Renewals are down at that level. Perhaps we should consider a regional meeting for New England members in the fall. Kristina mentioned that this would provide an excellent opportunity to gather support for the 2010 National Convention to be held in Portland.

We agreed that this joint meeting was helpful and productive. We will meet again as the two chapters in six months.


At 7:35pm, the William Ladd Chapter Business Meeting began.

The March 2008 Minutes were accepted as read (Ellis motion; Smith second).

Treasurer’s Report: Dud Hendrick presented the report in Tim Blanchette’s absence. We had a balance of $10,266.10 at the beginning of April. As of April 21st, we have a balance of $8,274.40. The 2010 Convention Fund has $2,500 in it and the Legal Defense Fund is holding steady at $1730.00. We put a deposit down of $500.00 at the Eastland Park Hotel for the 2010 Convention.

Membership Report: Dan Ellis reported that we currently have 173 members on the rolls (139 veteran members and 34 associate members). Of that number, 122 are fully paid up in dues. We discussed ways to increase the number of members paying dues: Dan does contact delinquent members (he is careful to remove deceased members from this data base) but Kristina pointed out that we shouldn’t harass them. Stan made a series of phone calls that did generate some more dues coming in. Rob suggested reaching out to them to involve them in actions. Peggy volunteered to call six of them; Tom will call another six; Doug will call six; and Dan will delegate other names for people to call.

Upcoming Trial of Bangor Six: Dud, Rob, and Doug reported out about the upcoming trial for the March 7, 2007 occupation of Senator Collins’s office (there were 12 people arrested and six are bringing it to a jury trial). We agreed that support for the trial would be good, but that we don’t want a “circus” atmosphere that might take away from the message we’re trying to get across. Editor’s note: all six were acquitted, a precedent-setting verdict.

Rolling Occupation of Allen’s and Collins’s Offices: Bruce Gagnon announced that people will be occupying these offices to encourage Allen and Collins to vote against the upcoming Iraq War funding bill.

MaineShare: Tom Sturtevant reported that the “Hike and Bike” event will not be held any more; instead the MaineShare group will hold a MaineShare Fair with all 37 organizations setting up tables (including us). The event will be held on June 28th at the Pine Street Arboretum in Augusta. It’s expected that each group will raise $500 to contribute to MaineShare. The public will be invited, so Tom suggested that we set something up similar to the Common Ground Fair. The following people agreed to help Tom set up and/or staff the table: Richard, Bob, Michael, Robin, Peggy, Dud, Kristina, and Doug. It was suggested (the passive voice is always used when the recorder forgot who spoke) that personal donations to MaineShare be also encouraged to help raise the $500.

Tabling Committee: Bob Lezer is looking for suggestions to put together a tabling packet that can be used at various events. He asked: what should go into this packet? We agreed that VFP brochures and business cards should be included; also certain AFSC brochures and cards about recruitment; also any VFP calendars or book covers, etc. Richard suggested that we use Chapter 72’s model as a starting point. Doug moved (Stan seconded) that we put aside $300 to use in gathering material for these kits and that we give Bob and Richard discretion to spend these funds. Approved.

PTSD Symposium Update: Michael Uhl reported that we have three excellent speakers lined up for the day. Doug passed out a draft brochure that Dan Ellis had designed. We agreed to print up 1,000 copies of the brochure (color brochure) and Kristina agreed to be the distributor of the brochures. If anyone wants the brochures for distribution in their areas, please contact Kristina Wolff. We agreed that we really have to step up the marketing of this event throughout the state.

National Convention in August, 2008: Peggy moved (Bruce seconded) that the chapter fund Jack’s, Dud’s, and Kristina’s trip to the convention up to $1,000 each.

Hope Festival Report: Bob Lezer and Richard Clement reported that the festival was well attended by presenters, but not so by the general public. We sold $40.00 worth of calendars. We thanked Bob and Richard for their good work.

No Bases Tour Report: Michael reported that the west coast tour is still going on. Bruce suggested that we read his report on the East Coast tour. Jan Tomas received high acclaim. The “Stealing a Nation” film was recommended for community awareness campaigns. Bruce reported that, for some reason, some people at the talks argued that we should not focus on U.S. bases, but Bruce thought otherwise (i.e., with current and future satellite technology, bases in the U.S. will have an international impact and therefore should be taken into account).

Judith Herman Presentation at UMF: Doug reported that Judith Herman’s presentation at UMF as part of their day on the consequences of war was well attended and much appreciated. VFP was publicly thanked for our sponsorship and our work to get Dr. Herman to Maine.

Political Conventions Report: Bob Lezer reported that we will not be attending the Republican Convention (they didn’t want us). We will have a table at the Democratic Convention (May 30, 31, and June 1st) at the Augusta Civic Center. Peggy moved and Stan seconded this motion: that we put a ½ page ad in their program. Tom will write it. Cost: $100.00. VFP will have a table at the Green Party State Convention in Falmouth on May 18th. Jack, Stan, and Tim will staff it.

Memorial Day Parade: On May 26th. The theme is “The National Guard.” We briefly discussed what our theme might be, but Bruce suggested that we ask Military Families Speak Out to take the lead. Gerry Oleson has their banner. The parade will begin at Mt. Ararat High School the morning of the 26th (we should plan to be there before 8:00am).

BIW Christening Demonstration on the morning of May 10th at 9:30am.

Stan reported that he’ll meet with the GITMO demonstration people this coming week (they’re bringing a replica of a QUANTANAMO Bay cell to Maine in mid-June).

Dud began a discussion about recruiting IVAW members into VFP. He suggested that we need to build better relationships with them. Kristina pointed out that it may be too early to approach them. Inviting them to the PTSD Symposium would be a good idea.

Kristina reported that her paper on the impact of Junior ROTC has been accepted by the American Sociology Association for a presentation at their national meeting in Boston on August 1st. She and a UMF colleague have proven that high school graduation rates have declined in schools with JROTC programs and that the JROTC targets schools with high minority populations. The paper will be published this summer. The membership applauded her accomplishments (literally and figuratively).

Jack Bussell’s Portland speech was distributed (and subsequently printed in the VFP list-serve).

NEXT MEETING: MAY 22ND IN AUGUSTA AT THE BUKER SCHOOL (across from the National Guard Armory on Western Avenue). Members should try to get to the Augusta Circle demonstration hosted by Richard and Rita Clement from 5:00pm to 6:00pm before the meeting.