Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
August 26, 2015
USM Wishcamper Center
Portland, Maine

PRESENT: Peggy Akers, Peter Morgan, David Larsen, John Spear, Richard Clement,Bill Laidley, Rita Clement, Tom Whitney, Dan Ellis, Clarence Smith, Bud Buzzell, Robin Spencer, and Doug Rawlings

*Doug Rawlings provided this month’s inspirational statement by reading the following letter:

My name is Mike Peterman. I am a 32-year-old army veteran (2002-2006) and currently live in Pottstown, PA. I was an E.O.D. tech while in the “service” and was in Afghanistan in 2004. I am married and have a 6-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. I am currently pursuing a bachelors in liberal arts, focusing on writing, peace and conflict studies, and religion. I’m not sure what life will bring after college but I do know that I plan to continue promoting peace. The uncertainty in my future can be difficult at times, but, after meeting so many dedicated members of VFP at the convention this year, it is clear that I am headed in the right direction. Thank you all for standing up for peace.

We met at the VFP convention. I just want to thank you for all the work you put into VFP over the years. Just the existence of VFP has made my life a little easier. The convention was an amazing experience. I learned so much in a brief period of time and am thankful for every bit of it, even though some of it was difficult to handle. The convention gave me the courage to speak up. Tonight I went to my local school board meeting and proposed that they remove JROTC from the school. I wouldn’t have had the courage to do that if it weren’t for VFP. To my surprise, my presentation went over well and I was thanked by many of the school board members for raising such an important issue. So, I just wanted to say thanks. You have helped me find the courage to try to make the world a better place.

Bud Buzzell then shared his personal journey in the hospital after suffering a stroke.

* The previous month’s secretary’s report was accepted after a couple of changes — the correct name of the credit union (cPort) we are now using was put into the minutes; Peggy Akers is not on the board, as was erroneously reported.

* Treasurer’s Report: Robin provided us with a brief account of our treasury as it currently stands in the credit union. She was unable to provide more information because our previous treasurer, Dovey Balsam, was not present and had not provided Robin with that information. Tom Whitney asked what our balance is; Richard will go to Dovey’s house to complete the transfer of funds to our new bank. We at the meeting agreed to give Robin discretion to purchase a Quicken software program that she will begin using with Dan’s assistance.

* MAINESHARE: Richard announced that he could not attend the annual MaineShare meeting and asked for someone to take his place. Peggy Akers agreed to do that — September 9th at the Gulf Of Maine Research Institute in Portland from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Bud Buzzell will accompany her. They will join forty other MaineShare groups. We will also set up a table at the meeting — Richard will provide brochures, etc. Richard also informed us that we need to accumulate fifteen points each year to satisfy our commitment to MaineShare — if we provide the group with help during the Common Ground Fair, we will gain four points (training sessions are recommended before working their table — two sessions are planned for September 15th [Falmouth] and September 17th [Augusta]).

* COMMON GROUND FAIR ( September 25, 26, and 27): We will have one more meeting before the Fair, so we need to take care of logistics. First off, we need people to staff our table — please contact Smitty if you can work the table — if you can, you will get a free pass to attend the fair. We Also decided to print up more brochures and business cards to distribute not only at the Fair but elsewhere. Dan has the prototype to print generic cards and brochures. Doug will ask the national office to send us material for the table. Richard has purchased more button material for the machine, always a big hit at the fair. Richard also will have VFP bumper stickers, brochures, and copies of the PEACE IN OUR TIMES papers. Doug will be giving a half hour poetry reading at the Russell Libby site on Friday afternoon. Smitty passed around a staffing sign-up sheet; so far, only four people have signed up for Friday, two for Saturday, and three for Sunday. We need more people. The hours of the fair are 9-6 on Friday and Saturday and 9-5 on Sunday. The table costs us $200, and each year donations are enough to cover that cost. If you have an article you want featured on the table, get it to Richard and he’ll print it up.

* Robin informed us that she passed out a number of PEACE IN OUR TIME newspapers at the Auburn Library event she attended on our behalf.

* BLUE ANGELS: Richard remarked that although we never firmed up plans to demonstrate at the Blue Angels Show in Brunswick over Labor Day weekend, as many of us as possible should show up. There was some concern about Tom Sturtevant’s son’s reaction and some concern that a lack of numbers would look worse than no attendance at all. Dan mentioned that he, Bruce, and Rosalie met with the officials planning the event but had little response from them. Dan also pointed out that the video he put out to various list serves concerning the Blue Angels noise and air pollution, and the real danger of crashes, did not elicit any responses. So what to do? We decided to encourage people to be at the gate by mid-morning on Saturday if they could.

* PEACE WALK: Bruce sent a note that the planning for the walk is going well. All towns along the way have arranged for evening programs and suppers. Promotion for the event will be focused on next. Bruce will have a banner and flyers for our table at the Common Ground Fair. The Smedley chapter from Boston will host the next planning meeting on September 9th at Pat’s York house. It’ll be a BBQ event, so call Bruce and let him know if you’re going to the meeting. Doug remarked that his efforts to have acupuncturists involved in the walk have not provided any results. He will continue to pursue this possibility.

* BELFAST PEACE FESTIVAL TABLE (August 29): Dud cannot staff the table because of a funeral. He is trying to get someone from Chapter 3 to cover the table.

* Smitty spoke eloquently of the work he is doing with the Veterans’ Hospice service. Over the past seven years he has worked with many veterans; it is very satisfying work but hard to do. It is especially important for veterans to work with fellow veterans. He encouraged us in Veterans For Peace to join him in this work. Bud mentioned his volunteer work at Togus V.A. hospital; Robin spoke of her nursing home experience with veterans; Doug mentioned his weekly volunteer writing sessions at Togus. Doug gently reminded folks that the person sitting next to him (Smitty) was chosen from 400,000 volunteers as the Number One Volunteer in the country. Smitty passed out brochures and asked members to step forward and serve.

* Richard spoke of the recent National Day of Action “No War In Iran” in Portland during which Martha Speiss read VFP’s national statement for the settlement. Martha remarked that VFP figured prominently in the action.

* Richard shared a request from Move.On to have VFP help deliver a petition on September 1st in Waterville. Since the request was somewhat vague, Doug volunteered to contact the individual to get specifics and to see if we are interested.

* Richard announced that Dan Ellis has stepped forward to fill the current Board vacancy. Peter officially nominated him and Peggy seconded. The motion pass unanimously.

* Richard read a request from Dud to help support a Bangor Peace and Justice initiative to honor Marty Kelly at their annual Harvest Supper on September 26th. We can do that by buying an ad in their program booklet. Peggy moved that we provide a half page ad ($125) that Dud will write; Doug seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

* Richard announced that Kathy Kelly ( who serves on VFP’s national advisory board) will be speaking in Maine on October 3rd and 5th: for both the 100th anniversary of WILPF and for Code Pink. Smitty moved and Bud seconded the motion to provide $100 to Christine DeTroy to support the WILPF celebration and $100 to Jacqui Devereaux for the Code Pink celebration.

* Rita and Peggy have been working on the MaineShare fundraising effort from our chapter. They have agreed to hold a bowling tournament on Saturday, November 7th in the afternoon. Rita will be checking out bowling alleys to make a reservation. We agreed that our chapter would cover the alley expenses if people are willing to make pledges that would go directly to MaineShare (for example, Richard has already made a $20 pledge). The pledges can be made to the website or to Richard.

* Richard announced that the Brunswick Peace Fair was a success– we made $30 in donations and his opening remarks were much appreciated.

* Dan announced the Bill Stains concert on September 26th at the Brunswick UU church.

* Doug spoke a bit about the national convention that he and Russ Christiansen attended at the beginning of August in San Diego. The keynote speaker was Seymour Hersch: highlights include remarks by Phyllis Bennis, films and remarks focusing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Comments by Christian Appy et al about the use of the media to advance the causes of war; spokespeople addressing the Israel/Palestine horrors; remarks by Beau Berghdahl’s father; a letter addressed to VFP from Edward Snowden. And the launch of the Golden Rule VFP boat. It was a great convention.


The meeting adjourned at 9:03pm.