Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
October 24, 2013
McLellan Multipurpose Room
Brunswick, Maine

PRESENT: Bud Buzzell, Clarence Smith, Richard Clement, Peter Woodruff, Bruce Gagnon, Doug Rawlings, Tim Blanchette, Tom Whitney, Dovey Balsam, Dan Ellis, Dave Crowley, and Bob Lezer

Inspiration: Doug Rawlings told a story from the Maine Drone Peace Walk about Kathy Kelly. On the way out of Waterville the walkers stopped at a local store for a break and to use the restroom. A group of retired gentlemen were sitting around a table over coffee. One of them asked Kathy, “You ever see a drone?” Yes, she replied. “Where?” was the response from the man. In Afghanistan and Pakistan Kathy responded…….

Thanks from Bud: Bud thanked the chapter for donating to support him walking in the recent Portland White Cane walk. Secretary Report: Last month’s minutes accepted. They are on our web site.

Treasurer Report: All our chapter funds have now been moved from our previous corporate bank to Franklin Savings Bank. Drone peace walk expenses so far come to $469.88 – not counting Dud’s gas receipts not yet turned in.

Membership Report: Now have 163 members, 86 are currently paid up in dues. Got one new member at Common Ground Fair and a couple of renewals.

Tom’s Peace Pole Dedication: The chapter will hold a Hike & Bike fundraiser in conjunction with the dedication of the Tom Sturtevant peace pole in Winthrop on Sunday, November 3. We’ll meet at Winthrop Town Hall (17 Highland Ave) at 10:00 am that day and ride bikes nearby to satisfy our need to do a fundraiser for MaineShare. Folks who don’t come can send checks made out to MaineShare to Richard Clement and we’ll get more credit that way. Richard will send more details on this event to our list serve.

By-Laws Changes Meeting: We urge folks to go to our web site to read the new chapter By-Laws here. It was suggested that we combine our next chapter meeting on Nov 21 in Augusta with a meeting to review and approve By-laws. Richard will see if he can find a meeting place for 4:00 pm on Nov 21 and then we could have dinner together before our regular 7:00 pm meeting. Thanks to Smitty for his efforts to re-do the By-laws.

Maine Drone Peace Walk: Bruce told a couple stories about the walk and passed around some news clips from BDN and Waterville Sentinel. TV and newspaper coverage (all the major papers) went statewide during the first couple days of the walk. Nearly 100 people gathered in Augusta on Oct 18 for the closing ceremony. Shenna Bellows amongst the speakers that day. On Oct 19 more than 40 gathered at BIW for protest against the new Zumwalt “stealth” destroyer that was supposed to be given the blessing of Jesus Christ that day but due to the “shutdown” that event was cancelled. Doug walked several days and felt it was a deeply spiritual walk. He hosted the large Japanese group at his home. Dud drove the shuttle bus the first couple days up and back to Aroostook County. Dan made great effort to keep the walk info updated on the Internet which proved useful to folks who wanted to find us during the walk. Doug and Tim volunteered to work with Bruce early next year to meet with ACLU about a new drone bill in the next legislative session.

BIW Protest: The word is out that BIW will put the Zumwalt destroyer in the water on Oct 25. Bruce will hold a vigil at BIW from 3:00 – 4:30 pm that day.

Declining Membership: Dave Crowley reported that there are 140,000 veterans now alive in Maine. Why don’t we get more of them as members? He went on to say that the American Legion has the same problem of declining membership. Various reasons were thrown out including the fact that the public does not join organizations much these days of TV and personal isolation.

Thanks from Regis: Regis Tremblay was winging his way to the west coast as we met. He is going on a tour to show The Ghosts of Jeju documentary film in California, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota. He sent Richard a note thanking the chapter for all its support. You can order the film here.

Veterans Day: There was no interest in marching in the Portland parade this year. Doug has been invited to speak at a couple of schools around Veterans Day.

National News: Doug is leaving Oct 25 for Asheville, NC for national board meeting. Some of the top current issues with national include: Moving the office from St. Louis to DC, New York or New Jersey; By-law changes; International chapters; Fundraising (now in the black); Membership is stable; Work on new strategic plan; and search for new director. Bruce made strong statement against moving office to DC where the organization would get sucked into the political vortex which the corporations already own and control. We should stay grassroots-based he said.

Next Meeting: Will be held November 21 in Augusta. Time will likely be 4:00 pm and location to be announced.