Potential new VVA would encompass Jeff Davis, Acadia parishes
By: Jeannine LeJeune
JENNINGS – In 1978 the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) formed. Since then, numerous local chapters of the organization have been created.
Now, there are plans in place to create a chapter close to home for Vietnam-era veterans from both Jeff Davis and Acadia parishes.
“There are a bunch of Vietnam veterans in the Jennings, Jeff Davis and Crowley and so on areas,” said Daniel Doucet, one of the several who are spearheading the formation of a Jennings chapter.
The organization is a not-for-profit that is exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. It is also the only Vietnam veterans organization that is congressionally chartered.
Doucet and several others began inquiring about forming a chapter recently and it has started to take off.
Of course, not every veteran from the era knows of the existence of the VVA and those who do may not realize it is not just for veterans who served in Vietnam.
“There were many soldiers who served at home as sort of a support system for those serving in Vietnam,” said Doucet. “those soldiers are eligible as well.”
The VVA has three main goals according to its website, to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create new identify for this generations of veterans and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans.
It has over 50,000 members, 46 state councils and 630 local chapters. In Louisiana there are 14 chapters currently.
“The VVA is all over the country and this state,” said Doucet, “but there are none that are local.”
The VVA does many things. For example, local chapters do a lot of work in the community
“We have ceremonies, we go to funerals, we visit local veterans homes and will cook for them; it’s a lot of community service,” said Doucet.
As a national solitary entity, the VVA aggressively advocates on issues important to veterans, seeks full access to quality health care for veterans, seeks to identify the full range of disabling injuries and illnesses incurred during military service, holds government agencies accountable for following of laws mandating veterans health care, creates a positive public perception of Vietnam veterans, seeks the fullest possible account of America’s POW/MIAs, supports the next generation of America’s war veterans and serves its community.
To form a VVA chapter 25 members are needed to get the ball rolling. Once Doucet and his friends have 25 members, they will be able to have someone from the state department come in and if all goes well earn a chapter number.
Doucet urged all eligible and interested participates to get in contact with him by telephone (337-824-2151 or 337-794-3225) or Mike Smith (337-580-0958).