Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
January 28, 2016
UMA Holocaust Center
Augusta, Maine

PRESENT: Bud Buzzell, Peggy Akers, Peter Morgan, Gerry Kamke, Robin Spencer, Dud Hendrick, Regis Tremblay, Peter Woodruff, Martha Morrison, John Morris, Dan Ellis, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Doug Rawlings, and Clarence Smith

  • As our opening inspiration, Richard read from a note written by Dottie Blanchette thanking us for attending Tim’s memorial service.  She said it gave great comfort to her and her sons to see Tim’s VFP brothers and sisters there (I think there were ten of us in attendance).  Robin has a picture of Tim to share with us; Dud was impressed by Tim’s life that we learned about at the service. Bud shared his personal journey of bouncing back from depression and anxiety. Rita announced that Nicole and Bre got married in Florida (we passed around a card to send to them).
  • Last month’s secretary’s report was accepted as written.
  • Dan presented the treasurer’s report. Our funds are now totally in a Midcoast Credit Union in Brunswick under a not-for-profit account. Dan is the only signatory on the account, but Richard (president) and Doug (vice-president) will soon join him. The balance as of this date is $9,647.45. It is split between a savings and a checking account.
  • Richard reported that he is working on this year’s MaineShare yearly statement. He pointed out how important MaineShare is to us (we received $6,113 from them last year), and we to them — we raise funds for them and represent them at all of our events. We receive our donations from them twice a year — in May and December. Apparently, MaineShare was not diluted by adding more groups like WERU since their total balance increased $1,000 over the previous year.
  • Dan presented the membership report — we have 133 members (87 veterans, 23 associate members, 10 honorary members, 12 donors, and 1 life member). Of these 133, only 52 are delinquent in their payments. Dan will send out reminders by the end of this month.
  • For the Education/ Outreach report, Regis showed us the opening of his new documentary “Three Minutes to Midnight” that includes Gerry Kamke’s moving song as the credits roll. Regis has about 30 minutes of a 75 minute film completed. The film will includes interviews of luminaries from around the country who are concerned about our military’s over-reach and imperial designs. His next four interviewees will be Ray McGovern, William Blum, K.J. Noh, and David Hartsburg. Regis requested funding from our chapter to cover the expenses of conducting these interviews. Peter Woodruff moved and Smitty seconded a motion to provide $1,000 for Regis to continue his work. The motion passed unanimously. In our discussion we agreed that for a substantive change to take place in this culture, we will need massive civil disobedience — Regis is hopeful that his film will be part of the movement to awaken the American public. Gerry pointed out that with only one percent of the population serving in the military, war profiteers have stepped in to profit from mechanized wars to a degree unheard of in this country’s history.
  • Richard, Peter Morgan, Doug, and Bud reported back on the recent meeting with Senator King’s staff about gun violence. We have not heard anything back yet from King.  Fred from the Elders group sent along a big thanks for our participation and contributions to the discussion. Having people who hunt, like Richard, around the table added a great deal to our credibility. To note: after the staff reminded us that Senator King will not support an assault weapons ban because of the difficulty of incorporating the best language into legislation (as Richard pointed out, there would be ways for manufacturers to work in loopholes based on ambiguous definitions of “assault weapons”), Richard emphasized the other point that we pushed — banning clips that exceed three rounds. That point, reinforced by a hunter, seemed to gain some traction with the staff. We’ll see. Martha reminded us that the Elders group is going forward with a positions paper about war and peace in general. The draft of that paper is currently being circulated.
  • Richard once again made an impassioned plea to have the secretary’s pen ripped from the current interim secretary’s hands. There were no takers. Perhaps a few more of these reports will encourage someone to step forward.
  • Bud reported on his upcoming appearance on USM’s radio show (WMPG 90.9 FM) with Maureen Kopa (sp?) on the topic of violence. It will be on February 3rd from 1:00pm to 1:30pm. Bud and Peggy had a ninety minute preliminary meeting with Maureen about the show. Future shows might deal with Agent Orange.
  • Richard turned the floor over to Smitty to give us more information on Julia Lane’s father, Cabot Lyford, who was a WWII veteran. Mr. Lyford died just recently. Smitty was working with him as an end-of-life hospice volunteer. Julia reached out to us because her father, suffering from PTSD, was increasingly angry about his experiences, and she hoped Smitty could offer him some solace. It turns out that Mr. Lyford was a highly regarded sculptor whose work has appeared in many museums. The last efforts Smitty made on his behalf were to get him involved with combat veterans from the Veterans Center in Portland.
  • Richard passed around a thank you card for the recent Peace Walk. The upcoming walk in October will tentatively focus on the slogan “Stop The War on Mother Earth.”
  • Dud encouraged everyone in the chapter to write a letter to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for Memorial Day this year. Our national goal is to gather 1500 letters to be placed at the foot of The Wall on Memorial Day. More information about the project can be found at the national VFP website and the website.
  • Richard announced a recent “victory” of sorts for those of us concerned about military expansion in our state — the project to have a missile defense system set up in Redington Township has been cancelled. There was much resistance to this project at local town hall meetings and official hearings.
  • Dud reported briefly on the latest VFP actions in JeJu Island and Okinawa that he, Bruce Gagnon, and Russell Wray were involved in ( the latest issue of PEACE IN OUR TIMES will feature this event). Bruce will be presenting a talk about the action in Brunswick on February 7th and Dud will be presenting a talk in Blue Hill on February 4th. Dan has designed flyers for both talks. The Blue Hill talk is co-sponsored by Island Peace and Justice as well as the Peninsula Peace And Justice group. Dud asked if we would provide $50 to help cover expenses for his presentation. This request was immediately denied to be replaced by a motion from Doug (Smitty seconded) that we provide $100 to help defray expenses. The motion passed unanimously. Our chapter thanks both Bruce and Dud for their continued good work.
  • Richard requested that we take $500 from our recent MaineShare contribution to send over to VFP Chapter 003 in Bangor. Smitty so moved (Bud seconded) that we do this to support them in their good work. The motion passed unanimously. Dan will contact Dan Avener at 003 with these funds to continue their work.
  • Peggy suggested that we develop an honorary membership for women involved in the peace movement. Discussion followed that included more than a few names of local activists to consider. We also discussed how we would recognize the honoree, settling on at least awarding a plaque to the person (greatly influenced by Robin’s input of how much a found plaque meant to others upon her father’s passing). Peggy will study the issue at great length and come up with some suggestions at our next chapter meeting.
  • Richard then opened up a very fruitful discussion of how we can continue to sustain members and attract new ones (an ongoing discussion at all levels of VFP). We all agreed that we have to work on internal issues as well as external ones to reach our goal of being an inclusive, open, and active chapter.
  • Richard will provide his annual year end report to the chapter at our next meeting.
  • The meeting adjourned at 8:56pm, EST.


Doug Rawlings
Veterans For Peace