Advocate of the Year- Gary Holden
Gary Holden was awarded the first ever Recovery Advocate for the year award in 2009. Gary provided his PA system for our events in 2008 & 2009. He is a member of The Wisconsin Association of Treatment Drug Courts and served on the committee to organize and plan the 2010 WATDC Conference in Eau Claire, WI.
He served on the core Advisory Team of Western Wisconsin Advocates and he told his story as one of 4 speakers at the 2008 Recovery Rally.
Gary volunteers whenever he can while balancing his parenting and work as a Wisconsin Certified Substance Abuse Counselor for Pierce County.
Thuy Smith International presented the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award to Greg and Behni Johnson and family.
The Johnson Family has been volunteering with our organization since 2008. They have been a part of serving our Vietnam Veterans and their families at our Annual Vietnam Veteran Appreciation banquets. They were also a big part of the planning for our very first Official Vietnam Veteran’s Day Celebration for Wisconsin in 2010. Greg was responsible for getting many businesses to come on board as a sponsor and also coordinated with the Eau Claire Fire Department Honor Guard to be a part of our Aisle of Honor procession.
They involved their son Tre (14) and daughter Mercedes (16) with their community work. It is very evident that Greg and Behni are loving and caring parents, as well as genuine community minded individuals. Every time I called them, they were ready and willing to be of assistance. We thank them for their commitment and service to Thuy Smith International and to all Vietnam Era veterans and their families. You have honored all of us and continue to set a great example for your children and others in the community.
Thuy Smith International Outreach (TSIO) has awarded Phuong and Thanh Thach and family the Volunteers of the Year Award for 2010.
Phuong has been our coordinator for the Vietnamese Community participation in our Annual Vietnam Veterans gatherings, and of this year’s First Official Vietnam Veteran’ Day Celebration. Her family and the Vietnamese Community Volunteers have put in countless hours to make it happen. Phuong and her family, along with the rest of the Vietnamese Community, stepped up without hesitation to be a part of helping honor all of our Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans.
Phuong and Thanh are originally from Vietnam. Phuong is from Kiena Giang and her husband Thanh is from Tra Dinh (both south of Ho Chi Minh City). Phuong came to the United States in 1980 and met her husband in the U.S. Phuong and her family moved to Chippewa Falls in 1999. Phuong and Thanh have three children ages seven, ten, and twenty. Phuong works at Model Nails (who has also been a sponsor for our Veterans gathering) and is also a volunteer and Youth Mentor at the Chippewa Falls School District.
Phuong and her family said they got involved because they wanted to give back to their community and they wanted to pay tribute and acknowledge all the Vietnam Veterans for their service. Phuong also says they had a lot of fun.
Thuy Smith International Outreach (TSIO) presented the 2009 Volunteer of the Year Award to Terry and Deb Carr in recognition for all their hard work as volunteers for TSIO.
Terry and Deb were volunteers for the 2009 Annual Vietnam Veteran gathering. They helped organize the meal and t-shirts that were made available to the vets. They arranged for a DJ and worked hard serving the meal to all the Veterans and their wives. Deb also volunteered at the 2008 event. Deb and Terry moved to Altoona and became members of the Altoona VFW and Auxiliary in 2009. It is very clear they truly support their Veterans and their families. Terry is also a Vietnam Veteran.
TSIO appreciates Terry and Deb for volunteering with us and all their hard work on behalf of Veterans and their families.
Larry and Al are being featured for several reasons. For starters they have a new CD (second one). They are also a couple of genuine down to earth guys who are very involved with their community. We love these guys and we love their music.
We first met Larry and Al when they performed at our Annual Vietnam Veteran's gathering in 2009. Their music is from the Era of the Vietnam Veterans and they have also written their own music.
The Veterans and their families truly appreciated their music and them taking the time to play for all of us that day. Our event also lead to getting another gig for another all Veteran get together. So as you can see, these guys definitely support their Veterans.
For our first Official Vietnam Veteran's Day celebration for WI, Larry and Al also hooked us up with another artist who happened to write a song about his brother and close friend that served in Vietnam.
Larry and Al's music is very soothing. I shared with them one day before interviewing them that I was a little stressed out. However, as soon as they started playing their music, song from their new CD called Calling, I just sat back and took it all in. It calmed my spirit and I was no longer stressed. This is what their music does for me. Watching them perform live is very evident they are simply just having a good time.
Please check out them out at their Website
Featured Person- Beverly Lane
Some of the places Beverly has sewn for:
Thuy Smith International (Vietnam & Local) ,Dr. Patch Adams (All over the World), Honduras, Philippines, Guatemela, Peru, Mexico, Israel, and all over the midwest. Children Hospitals, Orphanages, Foster Care, Hospice, and other Missions.
Featured Person-Michael Muller
Recently, after twenty-seven years since I wrote the first draft, I published my novel on Kindle. It is A Dream of Heaven, written under my pen name, Michael FitzGordon. I hope that people will read it and enjoy it. Bob Kerrey read an earlier draft and wrote that it was “a compelling portrait of the destructive force of hatred, the ravaged psyches of those who have experienced war, and the enduring power of faith and love.” I hope that people will gain a greater understanding of how one can develop PTSD. The main characters are both American and Vietnamese, and I hope that readers will see war from both sides, see the folly of war, and work harder to avoid war.
Here are some links:
The book, A Dream of Heaven
The Michael FitzGordon author page on Amazon
Mikes Blogs for our Veteran Common Bond Page
Harold, better known as "Diz" by EVERYONE, is a retired teacher, coach, golf pro, and baseball player. He also wrote several books and helped start an Annual ALL Veteran Golf Outing. He keeps himself busy always doing things to reach out in his community. Diz has also contributed items for our Annual Vietnam Veteran's Day event. He has taken the time to do a real nice job in honoring Veterans and their families by documenting their service information and some of their experiences.
Diz also took the time to reach out to the Hmong in our area. He actually went to the local airport when a Hmong son was reunited with his mother for the first time in many years and filmed them. He gave them a copy of the DVD. If it wasn't for Diz, that moment would not have been captured in such a way.
Thanks Diz for all that you do! We the community love you! TSIO is honored to know you and have you as a friend. We also induct you into the Number One G.I. Club!
To see Diz on our Veteran Tribute page, please go here.
Featured Person- Joe Vondrachek
People Making a Difference
Too many times there are people who do great things (big or small), but never get recognized. Sometimes its because people don't give proper credit to where credit is due and so other people's ideas, accomplishments, or other acts of Greatness never become known.
I admire those who do things without any thought except to do the right thing and to help someone in need. However, I feel it's important to acknowledge "Greatness" when we see it.