Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
December 18, 2014
Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick
Brunswick, Maine

Present: Clarence Smith, Richard & Rita Clement, Bruce Gagnon, Dan Ellis, Peter Woodruff, Bud Buzzell, Doug Rawlings, Gerry Kamke, Devin Cusler, Regis Tremblay, Bob Dale

Secretary Report: Minutes from last meeting accepted and are on the web site

Treasurer Report: We now have $7,345.35 in our bank account. Maine Revenue Service sent a letter to VFP member John Grant who lives in Philadelphia that asked for $700 from our chapter. Trying to figure out what the story is on this.

Membership: Now have 135 members, 114 are currently paid-up with dues. Tim Blanchette had rotator cuff surgery and has been unable to attend meetings. Bob reported that Victor Skorapa is having a difficult time and urged folks to send him a note… mailing address is: 9 Hawthorne, Brunswick, ME 04011

MaineShare: Our annual report is due by the end of the year and Richard is working on it now.

Media Committee: Regis reported on continued success of The Ghosts of Jeju which is now being translated into five different languages. He recently returned from the west coast where he interviewed VFP member Brian Willson for his coming series of videos about veterans who became peace activists.

Portland Meetings: Smitty working on a Portland meeting place. We will meet in Augusta in January and Portland in February. Is the idea of having a Portland dinner/social/meeting still an option?

Stipend for Dan: Was agreed to pay Dan $750 for 2015 in recognition of his work on web site and list serve.

Social Justice Portland: An 8th grader contacted the chapter wanting to do some volunteer work on our behalf. It was decided to invite the student to participate in the veteran song program in the spring that is going to work with kids of vets. Doug will follow-up with the student.

January 8th Rally in Augusta: The Alliance for the Common Good will hold its 3rd annual Rally for Unity in the Hall of Flags in Augusta on January 8 from 10:00 am to noon. We strongly encourage our members to participate.

Hell’s Angels Coming Back: The Navy’s Blue Angels will once again headline the Brunswick air show on September 5-6. We will discuss possible protest at future meetings.

Peace at Home, Peace Abroad: This national VFP program (that links local social justice struggles in the US to our work against endless war) continues to be discussed by chapters across the nation. Richard said he is 1,000% in support of the program; Doug said we have to support the black community at this moment in history; and several others agreed that we must be visible and active to show support for this VFP program. It was decided unanimously that we would send a letter to national in support of the program – Bruce will draft the letter and Richard will sign and mail on behalf of the chapter.

Vietnam 50th: Doug reported that he is working with several members to organize a Teach-In on Vietnam at UMO in 2015 as part of the national VFP Full Disclosure project.

Reimburse Bruce for Trip: It was agreed to reimburse Bruce $699 for travel to St. Louis and Ferguson following the Grand Jury refusal to indict the cop who killed Michael Brown. Dan was thanked for sharing on VFP email list the blog reports Bruce sent while in Missouri.

Lily Yeh & Alice Rothchild: Dud sent a message thanking the chapter for financial support for the recent speaking events by Yeh and Rothchild in Blue Hill, Ellsworth, and Bangor. He said there was good attendance at the events.

NAACP Thanks: We got a letter from Rachel Talbot Ross in Portland thanking the chapter for co-sponsoring the December 7 protest in that city in solidarity with black people across the country speaking out against the militarization of police and their unrestrained attacks on black citizens.

Smitty: Visited Kennebunk Habitat for Humanity (HfH) which is building a home for a veteran. He requested the chapter make a donation toward the house project. $100 was approved. HfH is also building a house for a vet in Brunswick.

Tri-County Mental Health Gala: It was agreed that the chapter would spend $220 to reserve a table at the January 31 gala in Lewiston-Auburn. It is good visibility for the chapter and members are encouraged to attend the event at our table. Contact Doug if interested.

Don’t Mean Nothin: Gerry Kamke (Litchfield) has written a poem (his first and inspired to write by Doug) about his experience in Vietnam. The poem was turned into a song that Gerry played at the meeting. The music and singing was performed by his daughter Erin’s boyfriend – Matthew Kresge. It is a beautiful piece and Regis asked if he could use the song in his next documentary. Gerry quickly agreed. The poem ends with these lines: “We search for meaning of that god-damn war. While the rich keep stackin’ treasure and laughin’ with a roar. And working class people send their children off to war.”

Next Meeting: Will meet on January 29 in Augusta.