Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
May 30, 2013
McLellan Multipurpose Room
Brunswick, Maine

Attending: Dan Ellis, Dave Crowley, Doug Rawlings, Tim Blanchette, Regis Tremblay, Clarence Smith, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Dovey Balsam, Bob Dale, and Peggy Akers Guests: Margy Burns Knight and Keith Ludden

In secretary Bruce Gagnon’s absence, Doug Rawlings agreed to take the minutes. Caveat Emptor.

Margy Burns Knight began the meeting by discussing a project she brought to our chapter in September — the construction of a peace pole in Tom Sturtevant’s memory in the town of Winthrop. She showed us the design that John Jennings, a Winthrop stone mason, is working on. He will take two pieces of granite from Tom’s yard and create a pole and a bench that will be established on Winthrop’s Main Street in front of their “Inch By Inch” garden. The Winthrop town council has given its permission for the pole to be constructed. One side of the pole will read “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” which is the traditional statement on peace poles around the world. The dedication of the pole will take place in October. The project will cost $1300.00. After discussion, Doug Rawlings made the motion that our chapter donate $700.00 to the project with the stipulation that we have “the rights” to make a statement for one side of the pole. The money will be used to encourage matching gifts to reach the $1300. Peggy Akers recommended that our statement read: “Let peace begin with me.” And that a VFP logo be ascribed to the pole if possible. Margy will stay in touch with our chapter. Peggy will contact Tom’s daughter, Suzanne, to get her perspective.

Keith Ludden is an oral historian who wants to use our chapter’s 501(c)3 standing to seek grants that will be used to fund a veterans history project through the Library Of Congress and the American Folklore Center. His plan is to interview Maine veterans, as he did with Tom Sturtevant. He came to our meeting to seek permission for the project. Doug Rawlings will contact the national office to see if they will allow the project to go forward. Peggy Akers made the motion that we look into the grant possibilities with the National office, and if they approve, that we charge Keith with the responsibility of writing the grants but not sending them in until we review them. He is looking at the Maine Humanities Council for his first grant — their deadline is in October.

The April Secretary’s report was approved and accepted as written. Rawlings motion. Balsam second.

Treasurer Dovey Balsam presented the Treasurer’s Report. Banks will be switched over by the end of June.

President Richard Clement reported on the recent MaineShare annual meeting that he attended. There are presently 41 groups in MaineShare — 7 groups joined last year but 3 dropped out over the year. The new CEO was present. Our next check will be arriving in June. The major fundraiser Hike and Bike was discussed at the meeting. Richard wanted to know what our chapter will do as part of this fundraiser. Perhaps we could hold a bike ride in Tom’s honor, as we did last year, in October, ending in Winthrop for the dedication of the peace pole. Richard also shared the CEO’s concern about an ongoing government review of MaineShare and encouraged us all to provide input to the government’s survey. Dan will post the survey link to our list-serve and website. Please write in and tell the government how much we appreciate MaineShare.

Membership Chair Dan Ellis presented his monthly membership report. We currently have 162 members (112 are veterans, 29 are associate members, and 10 are honorary) with 82 paid up in their dues. Dan asked for help in writing a letter to those who are delinquent in their dues (Smitty andDoug will help).

President Richard Clement recommended that we combine our Education, Media, and Outreach committees because committee numbers are dwindling. We agreed to combine them.

President Clement suggested that we continue our tradition of financially supporting members so that they can attend the national convention. He recommended that we provide that support this year for Regis Tremblay who may be presenting his recent documentary on Jeju Island at the convention. Peggy Akers also suggested that we support Dan Ellis since he has been active in preparing the convention booklet, etc etc. We agreed to provide $750 each to Regis and Dan — that will cover their convention registrations, travel and lodging expenses. Dovey will cut them checks this week.

President Clement asked for further clarification on the convention booklet ad that our chapter has committed to. We agreed to put in a half page ad ($125), but Bruce and Dan were asked to design the ad, and Richard wondered what it looked like. Dan didn’t know. Peggy suggested that we might use the Sturtevant Peace Pole as an image. Bruce had suggested “The Ghost of Jeju Island.” Dan and Bruce will work on this.

Smitty reported on his work for our chapter by-laws. He took the national by-laws and modified them to fit our needs. He has posted it on our list-serve for us to comment on. He suggested that we discuss elements of the modified document and vote on each one. His opening gambit was to discuss membership dues — how do we handle national and chapter dues? After much discussion, your humble scribe thinks that Dave Crowley came up with a great idea: since $15 (our current dues requirement) is too low, we should increase the annual dues to $50, and that would automatically enroll a member as both a chapter and national member. We would send national the required $40 and keep the other $10.00. Tim suggested that if the cost is too high for members that the chapter pitch in to help out. At this moment some of us realized that a decision of this import would be too difficult to deal with during a regular monthly meeting. So we decided to hold a marathon by-laws meeting on Saturday, November 2nd to discuss all of Smitty’s recommendations.

President Clement reminded us that the Ninth Annual Peace Fair will be held in Brunswick on August 3rd. The planners are still discussing the format of the fair, but Dan mentioned there will be more emphasis on interaction this year. Our peace buttons will be featured.


  • Dovey reminded us that we need to pay $125 for membership in the Community Television Network — but we already may have paid it, so she is checking their records.
  • Dan wants to show “WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM” as an educational event. Doug owns the film. The question is where and when? TBA.
  • The veterans conference at UMF scheduled for September 21st (whoops! Same time as the Common Ground Fair) is in early planning stages. Dovey agreed to staff a VFP table and to present a workshop at the conference.
  • Doug will post the national Strategic Plan to the list-serve for us to review and discuss at a future meeting.
  • Richard, Rita, and Dan said that the Memorial Day Parade went well. Tom’s drum, VFP flags and the JeJeu flag were used.
  • Tim Blanchette reported a conversation he had at the war trauma symposium with a young Afghan veteran and his wife. The veteran was a drone instructor, and he’d be willing to talk about his experiences. Tim thought we might benefit from his talk just prior to our Drone Walk in the fall.