Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
June 28, 2012
Mediation and Reconciliation Center
Augusta, Maine

Present: Victor Skorapa, Bud Buzzell, Doug Rawlings, Nicole Moreau, Tim Blanchette, Dan Ellis, Peggy Akers, Bob Lezer, Dud Hendrick, Herb Hoffman, Bruce Gagnon

Minutes Approved: Minutes from last meeting were approved as presented.

Treasurer Report: No report available

Nominating Committee: Dud expressed gratitude for the help on the committee from Tim, Dan, and Bob Lezer. Getting good input from various members and committee believes we need to be creative in developing new leadership model. Wants to continue meeting with the couple of people who are interested in coming forward to fill openings. More at next meeting.

Membership: Now have 153 members in the chapter with 94 of them currently paid-up with dues. Doug said that we have a large number of chapter members compared to most chapters across the country.

Education Committee: No recent meeting. Got pamphlets from Rosie Tyler Paul (AFSC) to take to high schools. Will bring new button maker to the Peace Fair in Brunswick on Aug 4.

Common Ground Fair: Really only need 2-3 tables since we are sharing space with Bring Our War $$ Home campaign and will have a couple of artists sitting on chairs working on easels. Need to be thoughtful about how much/what kind of literature we display. Want to make sure we have room for Americans Who Tell the Truth cards since they sell so well. Bob, Bruce and Dud will design a lay-out plan for space utilization at the fair. Gary Lawless is concerned about us creating a backup in the tent aisles if we draw in a bunch of kids, etc.

Media Committee: Sent out news release to publicize this meeting. The committee looks to the chapter for direction on what PR needs we have. Was suggested that the committee place an Op-Ed in various newspapers (daily and weeklies) at least six times per year. One suggestion was doing an Op-Ed on Bradley Manning right away. Members are encouraged to keep writing Letters to Editor as frequently as possible along our issues of concern.

Outreach Committee: The committee (Tim, Bob Dale, Dan, Carol Huntington) have met twice to plan the Aug 25 Brunswick Air Force Thunderbirds airshow protest. Flyer was handed out. Two Maine artists (Natasha Mayers and Nora Tryon) have volunteered to make us a banner for the airshow protest. Also handed out was the flyer for VFP showing of the film called “The Welcome: A Healing Journey for War Veterans and their Families”. The film will be shown at the Frontier Cafe in Brunswick on August 2 at 7:00 pm. PeaceWorks in Brunswick is co-sponsoring and is kicking in $100 toward the $200 cinema rental fee. The Frontier is a popular place and they will help promote the film. We should set up a VFP literature table at the event. We need the Media Committee to help do advance PR on both of these events.

Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign: A new bumper sticker with the campaign message was available for $1 at the meeting. The campaign will share table space with VFP at Common Ground Fair and has purchased 150 T-shirts that will be pre-printed with campaign art on it and then sold for $5 at the fair. (If anyone wishes to help with the T-shirt printing you can join on August 18 at 1:00 pm at Steve Burke’s place in Warren.) The campaign has also purchased a rubber stamp that will advertise our message and will be used at the fair to stamp people’s money.

PTSD/Tri-County Mental Health Event: An all day event is being organized by Dovey in Farmington on Sept 15. The VA and Vets Center are involved as well as VFP. Doug will arrange for a table to display VFP membership brochures and a few pertinent articles on PTSD.

National Convention: Dan has been hired to layout the convention booklet. Doug reflected on how much he appreciates all we did here in Maine when we hosted the convention a couple of years ago. In Miami there are basically two guys doing the work and national is having to pick up the slack. Doug and Bruce are going and each will get $500 from the chapter to cover their expenses.

Tom’s Tree: During the Common Ground Fair (on the Saturday, Sept 25) a ceremony will be held to honor Tom Sturtevant. More details later. Tom’s wife Mary wants to plant a tree in Winthrop at the middle school to honor Tom. Peggy called Mary and it is obvious that Mary needs help with this plan. We agreed to leave it up to Peggy to determine cost and move the process along. The group agreed on a plaque as well being appropriate. No date yet set for tree planting.

Tom’s Stuff: Peggy, Bob Lezer and Smitty went through Tom’s personal things and sorted them. It was a moving experience for them. Smitty is now archiving many of the letters, articles, etc.

Bike-a-Thon: Oct 20 is the date we set for the Bike-a-Thon to benefit Maine Share that will be done in Tom’s name since this was one of his favorite events. Will do the Augusta-Hallowell trail. Mary and Tom’s two children will be involved. Maybe we could tie this in with the plaque being presented in Winthrop at the middle school tree? A committee was formed to work on all this: Richard, Rita, Bob Lezer, Tim, Peggy, Dud, Nicole.

Peace Fair: The fair in Brunswick is on Aug 4. The table fee has been paid. We have volunteers to staff the VFP table. We should use the Peace Fair to pump up the jam for the Aug 25 airshow protest. Would be good to hang the new banner that day. The fair organizers will hand everyone a passport that they can take to various organization tables and get tasks to do stamped. We will have three tasks on the VFP passport page that will include writing a letter, coming to Aug 25 airshow protest, and making a button and talking to people about peace.

Drone Tour: Medea Benjamin is coming to Maine in mid-July on a drone speaking tour. The Ellsworth event seems to be falling apart and there is a possibility of Blue Hill picking up that date. Dud asked if VFP would sign on as co-sponsor if a Blue Hill event was created. All agreed.

Veterans Peace Team: VPT is now officially a project of national. A meeting of VPT will be held on July 3 in Philadelphia during the big Occupy national gathering. (Bruce will attend the VPT meeting.) There is strong interest in having VPT do a non-violence training here in Maine. Peggy will move it along by contacting Tarak Kauff.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation: Herb (just back from New Mexico) reported that while in Albuquerque he helped the VFP chapter there organize a speaking event by Mikey Weinstein from the MRFF. The growing Christian fundamentalist evangelizing in the military should be a huge concern to all of us. You can watch a powerful video about this at the MRFF website:

Paul Chappell Talk: Former Army officer and Iraq veteran will speak at UMF on Oct 26 in the middle of the day. Talk with Doug for more details.

Meeting Rotation: Decided to make Brunswick and Augusta our two meeting spots in the future and will rotate them each month. We seem to get our best attendance in Brunswick. Next meeting will be July 26 in Brunswick.

Minutes by Bruce Gagnon (Secretary)