Veterans for Peace
William Ladd Chapter 1
Minutes from Business Meeting
October 21, 2011
Buker School, Augusta

PRESENT: Richard Clement, Dud Hendrick, Dan Ellis, Bob Lezer, Peggy Akers, Doug Rawlings, Clarence Smith, Kristina Wolff, Dovey Balsam, Dave Crowley, Tom Sturtevant, and Clarence Smith GUESTS: Ryan Begin, Will Neils, and Priscilla Jenkins

Before the meeting began many members watched the documentary “The Welcome: A Healing Journey for War Veterans and Their Families” that Smitty had purchased at the annual convention. Dan Ellis is leading a proposal that we use this film at one of our PTSD Symposia. A brief discussion of the film followed (see notes later on).

Guests Ryan Begin and Will Neils came to the meeting to give us an update on the Occupy Augusta Movement and the Medical Marijuana cause. Ryan ios a Jackman native who was wounded in Iraq. Will has been working with Earth!First to organize occupations around the state. They pointed out that the Augusta group decided on a few points of unity: to think globally and act locally; to put people before profits; to hold appointed individuals in our government responsible; and to reiterate that corporations are not people. Lynn Williams and Phil Worden are providing pro bono legal assistance. They’ve received strong community support in the form of food and monetary donations. They asked us to stop by and check out their encampment. Needs: firewood, cooking utensils, water containers, non-perishables, and hand-warmers, etc. 4:00pm would be a good time to stop by.

The Secretary’s Report was accepted with a few amendments: Richard Clement’s name had to re-spelled and reference to Olympia Snowe should be changed to Susan Collins. Richard is not part of MaineShare, as was reported. After amendments were accepted, Doug moved and Bob seconded acceptance of the minutes.

The Treasurer’s Report was presented by Kristina. As of October 19, 2011, we have a balance of $10,108.25. Since September 19, 2011, we had income of $390.00 (donations, dues, sales, and returned honoraria checks). We had expenses of $929.52 (Blue Angels material, Common Ground Fair materials, Howard Zinn poster, Tri-County Mental Health Fundraiser tickets, and purchase of VFP material for sale).

Guest Priscilla Jenkins and her granddaughter Amelia were recognized.

No report from the Finance Committee.

MaineShare: Tom announced that the annual Workplace giving campaign has begun. The bike ride that he organized raised $600.00 for Maine Share (thanks to Tom, Dud, and Tim for participating in the ride).

Nominating Committee: There could be a need in the near future to look for a new secretary and a new treasurer. Speaking for myself, since I’m now on the National Board, it might be a good time for me to pass the secretary’s role over to someone else. Any takers? I can’t speak for Kristina, of course.

Membership Report: Dan reported that there are 140 members in our chapter (10 of whom are honorary; 23 associate and 101 veteran members. There is one lifetime member). One hundred and five are paid-up dues-paying members. That’s darn good (editorial comment)!

Conversation with Senator Collins: Smitty reported that the meeting lasted for 25 minutes and was “pretty good.” He thinks that she listened well. She’s working on constructing homes for homeless veterans. Smitty said that they kept lines of communication open with her. We thanked him and Herb and Richard for their representation on our behalf.

“Welcome Home” Project: After watching the documentary, Dan Ellis asked us to comment on its possibilities as a “tool” for one of our PTSD Symposia. Many of us found the film “moving” although some thought it might not be appropriate as a part of the symposium because it would reach a targeted audience (i.e., veterans and their families). It is 90 minutes long and might be too much for some people. Others at the meeting thought that it might be a very effective way to reach out to people who don’t necessarily associate with VFP. Others suggested that health professionals and support groups be available at a showing of the documentary in case it triggers unexpected responses. One member found the film “too touchy/feely” and also objected to the use of the native American angle. Another member thought that the film could “bridge a gap” between those of us who want to help families and those families who need the help. Another member thought that the target audience for the film would be parents and spouses whose loved ones are serving in war right now. We finally agreed to perhaps show the film as a “stand alone” from the symposium and see what audience it would bring in. A film committee formed (Dan Ellis, Doug Rawlings and Dovey Balsam) to discuss how we go about doing this. Doug currently is in possession of the film.

Common Ground Fair: Tom remarked that our participation was “successful.” Lots of people stopped by and there were good conversations. Bruce, Peggy, Kristina, Tom, Smitty and ???? worked the table. We send our thanks to them for representing us. Tom suggested that we try to set up a table at the Fryeburg fair or some other fair where we’re probably not going to be as welcome. He also suggested that we have a table at the medical marijuana Fair on November 5th.

Freedom Plaza Trip (October 5th): Dud reported that he, Doug, Tim, and Herb drove down to Washington, DC for the VFP planned demonstration acknowledging the tenth year of the Afghanistan War. We agreed that it was exciting and energizing to see so many young people engaged in the consensus-building general assembly model. VFP’s efforts were led by Tarak, who eventually managed to get a four month permit from the city for the occupation.

Tri-County Mental Health Dinner: Doug reported that the dinner was successful; that Charlie Clements delivered an excellent keynote address; that VFP got the opportunity to mix and mingle with folks we usually don’t meet up with (we sponsored a table for $300). Members around the table got the opportunity to talk with Dr. David Vann, who is leading the VA initiative for homeless veterans.

Veterans Day: We agreed to meet at Monument Square in support of the Occupation project rather than march in the parade, as we had done for so many past years. Those of us there thought that plan worked out quite well.

Don’t forget to support Dan Hamilton’s new bookstore in Mount Vernon (605 Wings Mills Road).

The meeting adjourned at 9:00pm.