Veterans for Peace, Chapter 001
Notes from Retreat
20 January 2007
Held at the Chewonki Foundation

From Bob Lezer and Doug Rawlings

Doug Rawlings, the President of VFP Chapter #001, welcomed the twenty five attendees to the all-day Saturday session (Ten VFP members spent Friday night chatting by the fireside, listening to Dan Ellis pick tunes on his guitar, after about sixteen showed up for a delicious pot luck supper). The Chewonki Foundation facility was perfect for this kind of event: roomy, good accommodations, and a very supportive staff. Breakfast and lunch on Saturday were superb.

Notes on the Saturday Meeting:

  • We’d started the day by asking folks around the table to tell us where they were born, when they were born, the branch of service they were in, and something about themselves related to VFP. Ages ranged from 42 to 85, places of birth from California to Maine, anecdotes about life as a VFP member were all over the map. Great fun.
  • Doug announced that Michael Uhl has a book being published this spring entitled Vietnam Awakening. Michael spoke briefly about his book. Sounds like it is a must read. Congratulations Michael.
  • A draft prototype of the planned 18 month VFP Chapter # 001 calendar was explained and a sample passed around with a request for comments. We hope to have the calendar distributed to selected Maine high school teachers by mid-August. The calendar features the portraits of “Americans Who Tell the Truth” by our own Rob Shetterly with a brief quote by or statement about the individual. Great work by Doug, Dan Ellis and Kristina. Dan is our chief designer and Kristina is providing the “peace activist” information for many of the dates. Our plan is to get some foundation funding to help pay for the costs (Doug will write two grant proposals); we’d like to have an initial “run” of 500 calendars – 250 for high school teachers and 250 to sell to generate more money for printing more copies. We discussed printing options.
  • Art Whitman announced that we have $11,711.00 in the bank.
  • Tom Sturtevant mentioned the Service Aptitude Battery Test being administered in high schools. This is a recruiting tool designed to assist recruiters in selecting students to target. San Francisco has thrown the JR. ROTC out of its high schools, and Tom would like us to work on getting it out of Maine schools as well.
  • Doug acknowledged Dan Ellis for doing a great job as our Web “Servant.” He received a round of applause for his good work. If you haven’t been to it lately, check it out:
  • Smitty Smith has agreed to be our chapter archivist and is seeking all archives anyone might have pertaining to Maine VFP. Doug will send him material he received from the estate of Howard Hede.
  • Organizational Structure: There was considerable discussion around this topic. Art presented a draft for discussion of a structure and officers that he and Tom had worked on. This plan featured a President (Dud Hendrick in 9/07) , Tri VP’s (Richard Clements, George Goodwin, Suzanne Hedrick), Treasurer (Art Whitman), Secretary (Bob Lezer with helping recorders, Membership (Tim Blanchette), other Board Members Peggy Akers, Jack Bussell, Stan Lofchie, Doug Rawlings, ????? Lots of excellent discussion followed including but not limited to election of officers, Board, By-laws ours nationals, other chapters term limits (1 year). And more. This subject will continue to be discussed at our next regular meeting in February. Dud impressed upon the group that we would be well served to look for other Presidential candidates as he is not sure he would be able to perform as he would like due to his busy work schedule and other commitments. Options are good.
  • Responses to Iraq Occupation & general discussion followed.
  • Doug announced that on March 22nd, students at UMFarmington will be holding a Teach-In about war. The plan is to hold concurrent workshops/presentations/films from 9:00am to 9:00pm. Faculty members and students will be holding some workshops; we also have a commitment from Shenna Bellows of MCLU; but we’d love to have VFP members present as well. Tabling will also be available. Please contact Doug if you’re interested.
  • There was discussion about a call for the removal of John Libby, the Adjutant General of Maine’s National Guard, for sending the National Guard to an illegal war.
  • Dud has initiated the Maine effort to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney. Go to The goal is to get 10,000 signatures by the end of March to present to the Maine legislature. Petitions are circulating around the State.
  • Having a quorum of directors present, we convened and by unanimous vote of all present and by acclimation following a motion by Don Hardin donated $500.00 to the Maine Impeach campaign, seconded by Jack Bussell. Following vote returned us to the retreat.
  • Dud will appear on Maine Watch on 1/24. Other guests include Major Libby of Maine National Guard, and the wife of a Maine National Guard person serving in Iraq. Susan Sharon hosts.
  • Imperial Life in The Emerald City, is a book worth reading.
  • True Cost Of War symposium scheduled for Saturday, June 2nd in the Portland Library. Jack will see if he can reserve the function rooms and auditorium at the Portland Public Library for the event. This is seen as a follow up to last year’s highly successful PTSD Symposium. Don will work on CEU’s for professionals. Scope: PTSD, Depleted Uranium, Agent orange, Assault of women, land mines, cluster bombs,, economic loss, social costs, loss of national reputation and diminished industrial capacity are among subjects that may be included. Symposium costs. Last year $6,000. Much of this covered by grants and fees. This year will be much less since the space will be less expensive. Possible speakers discussed Congressman McDermott, Charley Clements, James Carroll, Howard Levy or Paul Farmer.
  • Tom: Blue Angels are coming to Brunswick Naval Air Station 9/15 and 9/16. Another demo opposing their presence should be planned

We closed off the retreat at 3:00pm with some members going on a quick tour of the grounds with Chewonki staff members. A few members stayed to discuss 9/11 with Jim Nesbitt. We all headed home by 3:30pm at the latest after cleaning up the facilities. Total cost for the retreat is still to be determined (we’re awaiting the invoice. It should be under $1,000).

Our next business meeting will be held on Thursday, February 22nd from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Lewiston College.