Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 001
Minutes from Business Meeting
May 28, 2009
Belfast Public Library
Belfast, Maine

Present: Dud Hendrick, Tom Sturdevant, Rob Stuba, Kristina Wolff, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Dan Ellis, Rob Pfieffer, Bob Lezer, Bruce Gagnon, Carl Stoddard

Opening: Dan Ellis played his guitar and sang the song “ Let Them In Peter” music composed by John Gorka from an anonymous poem written on a British hospital wall during W.W. Two.

Well done. A moving piece.

Minutes of April meeting: Minutes were posted on our web site. Kristina moved to approve as distributed. Seconded by Rob Pfieffer. Approved by all.

Treasurers report: Distributed, reviewed. Move to accept by Tom, seconded by Rob pfieffer. Approved by all.

Membership report: Dan Reported 181 members of that number 151 are veterans and 30 are associate members. 118 are currently paid members.

Nominating committee: Tom reported that the nominating committee now is comprised of Stan Lofchie and himself. Art Whitman is no longer on the Committee due to health issues. Everyone wishes Art well.

Tim Blanchette has indicated that he wishes to step down as treasurer at the end of June. The nominating committee has approached Richard and Rita Clement to see if they are interested in this role. They are considering the opportunity. It was noted that Tim has done a lot of work to upgrade our financial systems for which we are thankful.

Maine Share: Tom reported that Maine Share will hold a large fundraising party this September in Brunswick. Details will be forth coming.

Symposium: Judith Hermann, the Symposium keynote speaker, has notified us last week that due to personal reasons (family and personal illness) she may not be able to attend the symposium on June 6th. Following much discussion centering on the importance of Judith Hermann, as the recognized expert in PTSD, being the major reason many of the 56 pre-registrants (25 for CEU’s) plan to attend. It is recognized that the other participants on the Symposium program are of high quality and bring a vast amount of useful knowledge about various treatments of PTSD. There were suggestions that perhaps we could find an alternate keynote speaker and utilize our planned format. It was expressed that rather than disappoint many of the pre-registrants and registrants on the day of the event it would be most honorable to cancel the event and plan another in the late summer or early Fall.

Bruce Gagnon made a motion to cancel the 2009 Symposium and plan a future event involving Rob Pfieffer and his fellow therapists and alternative health practitioners. Seconded by Rob Pfieffer. Motion carried unanimously.

Discussion following the vote centered on notifying people who are planning to attend (pre-registrants), people who may attend but not registered as yet, VFP membership, other list serves, contact organizations planning on tabling, and having a presence at the Abromson center Saturday, 6 June, to let anyone that did not receive word about the cancellation. Everyone agreed to contact people they were already in touch with, about the cancellation.

The tasks are as follows:
Notify USM– Jack
Write cancellation notice – Kristina
E-mail list serves – Dan
Notify agencies – Dud
Notify VA – Bob
Notify other participants – Rob
Hannaford Hall 6/6 8:00 am to 9:15 am or so – Bob and Richard

Tom and Rob wondered if perhaps Bates, Bowdoin , USM or another local college might have a strong Psychology Department that might want to be involved. Rob is a Bowdoin grad.

Decided that more discussion ought handled at the Symposium Committee level

Dud agreed to discuss planning the suggested fall Symposium with Michael. Details to follow.

Honorary member nomination: Bob put forward the name of John Branson, Esq. for consideration to become an honorary member of the William Ladd Chapter, Maine Veterans For Peace, Chapter 1. Stating:

John Branson, is an individual who is active in Maine’s Peace community and holds views similar to those of Veterans for Peace regarding the need to maintain vigilance over, and work against, militarism by our government and in our communities. John has demonstrated his commitment to Peace through his actions, as an individual and as an Attorney.

John has assisted our Chapter over the last two years by providing legal advice ( not always what we wanted to hear), service and representation to and on behalf of our chapter. John has worked resolving legal issues including renaming our Chapter, advice regarding the legal liability we might incur by proceeding with actions, dealing with the IRS regarding our 501 3 (c) tax status and working with the National VFP to rectify legal issues stemming from our status as the founding Chapter of Veterans for Peace.

Bruce asks that the statement also include mention of John’s legal assistance on behalf of members who have been involved in civil disobedience. Motion by Kristina, Seconded by Rob.

Approved by all.

Bob will notify John and invite him to the June meeting in Portland. Bob will order a plaque and a VFP gift for John.

2010 National Convention Committee: Dud asked if there were any present who would like to be on the Convention Planning Committee. Bruce volunteered to be added to the committee.

Dud asked if there was anyone who wanted to go to the 2009 VFP Convention in College Park, Maryland. The purpose is to gather information on the planning and execution of the 2009 event. Use as a learning tool for us in 2010. Jack is unable to go. Tom, said he might go if absolutely necessary and if he is available. Other people may be available if Tom cannot attend.

It was noted that the National VFP Board would be holding a meeting in Portland, in October.

Dud suggested that we hold our own planning meeting with all involved to see where we are in planning and what we need to do. Perhaps assign committees and sub-committees based on interest.

It was felt that it is important that the committee meet before the National Convention in August so our representative will have an outline of needs, interests (ideas for speakers) and questions to ask.

Dud will ask Jack to schedule and will follow-up with Michael on the hotel reservations for the National Board in October.

Brunswick Memorial Day Parade: Those present reported that the crowd of spectators was up with lots of support exhibited for VFP. The overtly negative responses were down from years past, Participation of VFPer’s was down.


Dud stated that Bruce does an excellent job of keeping the Iraq and Afghanistan situation in the forefront.

Lisa Sawyer is hosting a discussion, in Augusta at 11 King Street about the Afghanistan and Pakistan issue on Saturday, June 13 from noon to 3:00 PM.

Dan Ellis, relayed a request from Stan Lofchie asking if our VFP Chapter is opposed to having a banner identifying VFP as part of a send off on July 5th from the Brunswick green for a group going to Pastore, Cuba the sister city of Brunswick. There were no objections.

Dud: report on his trip to Arkansas to visit and interview some of the 2,000 to 12,000 Marshall Islanders who live in and around Springvale, Arkansas. No one seems to have an accurate count. The Marshallese just need a passport to enter the US. They pay taxes, do not receive full health care benefits, and live communally. There are also concentrations of Marshallese in Oklahoma and Oregon. They are relatively disorganized They are a very insular community.

Dud got several very good interviews from people who had been displaced due to the atomic testing. Many have been exposed to radiation poisoning.

Kwajalein, an Island in the Marshall islands, was a target for ICBM’s. residents moved.

Ten to twelve thousand people on the Island of Ebeye, a small island, are in horrible circumstances.

The Marshall Islander who live around Springdale mainly work at the Tyson, Georges, and Cargill’s chicken processing plants. They enjoy working the night shift.

Springvale seems to be a good community. The school system is made up of 33% white students, 33% Black students and 33% Marshallese students.

Dud has now interviewed indigenous peoples, displaced by the U.S. military, in Diego Garcia, the Inuit’s of Greenland and the Marshall Islanders.

Great work !!! Dud.

Rob Pfieffer: Appreciates the $1,000 donation for use in establishing Veterans Helping Veterans program. To date he has used $400 for brochures and outreach. He has 19 or so Practitioners who want to contribute an hour or two a week to Veterans. These Practitioners are in the fields of Reiki, massage therapy, Psychologists (3), Acupuncturists and others.

The remaining $600 will be used for patient care.

The program is up and operating.

Rob states that Gretchen Higgerman who is in charge of assistance in the Maine National Guard is willing to set up a meeting with members concerning the Veterans helping Veterans program.

Dud moved to adjourn, seconded by Kristina. Approved by all.

Next meeting in Portland on June 25th.