Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
November 20, 2014
UMA Holocaust Cernter
Augusta, Maine

Present: Clarence Smith, Richard & Rita Clement, Bruce Gagnon, Robin Spencer, Dan Ellis, Peter Woodruff, Bud Buzzell, Doug Rawlings, Dud Hendrick, Dovey Balsam, Gerry Kamke (Robin arranged for the new meeting place.)

Secretary Report: Minutes from last meeting accepted and are on the web site

Treasurer Report: Treasurer’s report accepted. We now have $7,675.46 in our bank account.

Membership: Now have 134 members, 118 are currently paid-up with dues. We got a couple new members from the recent peace walk.

MaineShare: Still not enough of us have donated to MaineShare for their annual Hike & Bike fundraiser. (It should be noted that longtime VFP member Bob Dale was the originator of the Bike-a-thon idea for MaineShare. Then chapter leader Tom Sturtevant later added the ‘Hike’ bit to the program. So our chapter has a long history in this event.) We are going to resend the donation form to our chapter list serve and ask those that can to make a donation to MaineShare putting “VFP” in the ‘For’ line of the check so we get credit.

Media Committee: We got some coverage in the media about our October peace walk. WERU covered the story and front page articles were in the Gray and Saco weeklies. Also got reported in BDN, a Scarborough paper, the Daily Bulldog in Farmington and a nice feature story in the Colby College paper. The BDN also recently interviewed Dud about his time in service and in the peace community. See that good article here

Board Member: Robin volunteered to take Peggy’s place on the board.

Tomas Young Presente!: Iraq war vet Tomas Young died recently after a long time of decline. Phil Donohue made the film “Body of War” about Tomas – a must watch.

SOA: Richard just wanted us to know he put the chapter on the list to endorse SOA at Ft. Benning, Ga. We were glad he took that initiative.

Lily Yeh: Remarkable Chinese-American artist/activist from Philly is coming to speak in Blue Hill on Dec 8th at 7pm. VFP will co-sponsor this event and give $200. Lily helped convert 120 condemned spaces for positive purposes in her community. She works on Palestine and Africa issues as well.

PeaceWorks Holiday Meeting/Party: This annual holiday event will be held on Dec 10 at 7pm at St. Charles Catholic Church in Brunswick. Mary Beth Sullivan will be the speaker and music, finger food and friendship will be included.

Portland Meetings?: Richard joined a couple of other local vets at the Portland Armistice Day parade on Nov 11 with banners and signs. The Portland guys wondered when we’d meet again in that city? At least three Portland-area members now travel north for meetings in Augusta & Brunswick. It was decided that Smitty would look around for a place to meet in January – with particular emphasis on a spot in a restaurant where we could mix social time with our political work.

Hospice PTSD Event at Togus: Richard and another member went to this event and a couple hundred folks turned out. Dr. Tick was the keynoter and mentioned our chapter’s work on PTSD and asked if any Chapter 001 members were in the room. Fortunately we had a couple there and they yelled back. Good event.

Beautiful Trouble: Doug talked about a February creative non-violence workshop in Farmington and would like VFP to support. Was agreed to add us.

Ivan Karakashian: A lawyer, journalist from Jerusalem spoke at UMF and met with Amnesty Int’l students. Also spoke in Blue Hill. He reported that 40% of all Palestinian men have been in jail.

Dr. Alice Rothchild: The author/medical doctor is coming to Maine to speak in Brunswick and Blue Hill. She’ll be showing her film which chronicles the 1948 Palestinian Catastrophe. Chapter gave Dud $200 toward organizing the Dec 7 Blue Hill event. While in Maine Rothchild will meet with Angus King.

Vietnam Full Disclosure: Doug was recently in DC during Armistice Day and did the ‘Walk on the Wall’ which covered the names of those killed while he did his own time in the war. It was 25 pages full of 9,800 names. The government is currently saying that 150,000 GI’s were wounded during Vietnam. In fact 300,000 were wounded in the war. The VFP national committee to challenge the Pentagon’s ‘re-writing’ of the war story is now gathering steam.

Ferguson Protests: Protest was being planned in Portland for Nov 24 to support Ferguson movement. Chapter agreed to endorse this action. Good discussion about the growing militarization of domestic police departments and the harsh clampdown on the black community. Is it a VFP issue? The national organization has adopted a program “The war at home, war abroad” where we are trying to show these links and reach out to the large numbers of veterans of color across the nation. VFP members from various cities have been going to Ferguson to stand with the black community. Bruce is going to Ferguson next week. Been happening in other cities as well. [It should be remembered that many local police in the US are now being trained in population control tactics by the IDF in Israel.]

Smitty: Continues with his Hospice visits with veterans who are dying. One wife of a vet, who is also fading, recently said to Smitty, “I need a hug.” Smitty feels honored and privileged to do this volunteer work.

Mary Sturtevant: Rita urged us to drop our dear departed Tom’s wife Mary a line as she asks about the chapter whenever they see one another. Her address is: 270 Maine Ave, Farmingdale, ME 04344.

Next Meeting: Will meet on Dec 18 at 7pm in Brunswick at the Unitarian Church across from the library.