COVID-19 VACCINE FOR VETERANS

The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has provided hope that this pandemic can come to an end. The Minneapolis VAMC has a limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines at this time.  They have already started vaccinating Veterans who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in select populations. We will be gradually opening it up to more Veterans as we follow national guidance of phased priority groups.  If you are eligible to get a vaccine during a specific phase of vaccination, our VA COVID-19 Vaccine Team will mail you a letter to your address on record with the VA, with instructions of how you can set up your vaccine appointment. For select groups, we will call you to schedule your vaccine appointment and mail you a letter. Please do not come to or contact a VA facility to receive a vaccine until your appointment is scheduled. Our staff cannot provide vaccines to anyone who is not eligible based on national guidance for the current stage of vaccination that we are in. What you can do now:  Express interest in getting the vaccine and subscribe for information updates about the vaccine. Visit www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/ and select the button “sign up to stay informed.” By signing up and expressing your interest in receiving the vaccine, you can help the VA better prepare as they work to offer vaccines to more Veterans.

MN DAV CHAPTER 39 MEETING SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 14, 2021

MN DAV Chapter 39 and MN DAV Auxilary Unit 39 have scheduled their monthly meetings for Thursday, January 14, 6:30 PM at the VFW, 1919 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids, MN 55433. Attendance requires wear of mask THROUGHOUT the meeting, maintain social distancing, and no more than three people per table. More volunteers are needed for the clothing program. The Unit will be accepting nominations for officers with elections scheduled for the Feb. 11th meeting.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Stephen “Butch” Whitehead, DAV National Commander, reflects on THE ROAD AHEAD… “One year ago, many of us were excited for the year ahead. Planning and preparation for events like DAV’s centennial celebration, national convention and National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic were in full force as the organization was hyper focused on and dedicated to ensuring it properly celebrated 100 years of service to America’s disabled veterans and their families. But then, seemingly as quickly as we turned the page into 2020, our country was blindsided by COVID-19. At the time, we had no clue this pandemic would force us all to dramatically change how we interact for the foreseeable future. We had little idea that the cancellation of small local gatherings and events would spiral to schools and businesses closing their doors nationwide. And we certainly could not predict that more than 200,000 Americans would die and millions more would be unemployed as a result of the virus. To say 2020 has been a challenging year for our nation is an understatement. Now, as we enter this holiday season and prepare for 2021, many of us are taking stock of all that was lost this past year. But it’s also important to remember what we’ve gained, and for me, that’s plain to see: Increased appreciation for the men and women who make DAV the nation’s premier veterans service organization. Appreciation for those who worked behind the scenes to set up and promote DAV’s COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Fund so we could provide financial assistance to disabled veterans who lost employment in the wake of the virus’s outbreak. Appreciation for the many generous Americans who donated to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Appreciation for our dedicated service officers who work on the front lines of our disaster relief efforts and continue to provide no-cost services to disabled veterans in need every day. Appreciation for our many volunteers, including Transportation Network drivers, who remain dedicated to serving veterans in the midst of this pandemic. Appreciation for an employment program that seamlessly converted our in-person career fairs to virtual events nationwide to keep veterans connected with employers. Appreciation for corporate partners like Ford Motor Co., who donated more than 1 million face masks to be distributed to DAV’s service offices, VA medical centers and our separate headquarters to protect veterans, their caregivers, volunteers and staff working to support the men and women who served. The list goes on much longer than we have room to print on this page, but I want to leave you with what I’m most appreciative of: your effort and dedication. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for your service to this nation. And thank you for your service to each other.  Stay safe and Gold Bless America.

1968: “Merry Christmas and God Bless all of you on the good Earth.”

“Merry Christmas and God Bless all of you on the good Earth,” a message broadcast 52 years ago from three veterans orbiting our moon that we share with all our members and supporters.  Apollo 8 is perhaps best remembered today for this broadcast the three astronauts made when they entered the moon’s orbit on Christmas Eve in 1968. As part of 1968’s Apollo 8 mission, astronauts, U.S. Navy Captain Jim Lovell Jr., U.S. Air Force Colonel Borman, and Major General Anders spent the night before Christmas orbiting the moon.  The operation was originally planned to test out the lunar module—later used in the Apollo 11 moon landing—in Earth’s orbit.  But when work on the module fell behind schedule, NASA ambitiously changed the mission plan to a lunar voyage.  Apollo 8 went on to result in a series of breakthroughs for manned space flight as he three astronauts became the first men to leave Earth’s gravitational pull, the first to orbit the moon, the first to view all of Earth from space, and the first to see the dark side of the moon.  Watch the historic broadcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLIq9Amyizo

MEMORIAL FOR KENNETH SHOLES

Sholes, Kenneth P., age 71, a resident of Minneapolis and Blaine, Minnesota, passed on Nov. 4, 2020.  A graduate of Hamline University, Ken had a passion for theater, cooking, annual summer vacations with his siblings in Wisconsin, was an equal rights activist, and loved volunteering for fundraising events as a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans.  He shared his life’s story on stage at college campuses, the Minneapolis Veterans Home, and the Guthrie Theater as a touring member of the 2015 Telling Project ( thetellingproject.org ). In 2017 his story reached into the homes of millions of viewers, sharing his experiences as a Navy cook during a controversial war as a cast member of the Telling Project and Twin Cities Public Television’s production of Minnesota Remembers Vietnam ( pbs.org/video/the-telling-project-performance-minnesota-remembers-vietnam-zmuqin/ ) Shortly following the televised production, he suffered a stroke and began an arduous journey of recovery dealing with aphasia and partial paralysis.  Undertaking extensive physical and speech therapy he graduated from a nursing home bed to wheelchair, to cane.  With the help and support of his friends, distant family members, Coon Rapids American Legion, Anoka DAV, and Hope Church, he moved into Crest View Senior Community in Blaine, MN. His recovery was a testament to his resiliency and the help and support of his family, fellow Veterans, life-long friends, therapists and doctors of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, U of M School of Dentistry, the DAV, along with his friends and family.  Four months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Ken was able to travel, leaving behind his Crest View Senior Community friends and staff to the sanctuary of his sister Jan’s home in Frederick, Maryland.  Utilizing VA telemedicine and support of local veteran organizations he continued his recovery enjoying walks in the outdoors, tackling puzzles, writing cards to his family and friends, and consistently beating his sister at games of scrabble in front of the fireplace. He is preceded in death by parents, Sylvester G. & Margueritte M., and step-sister, Sandra McDaniel.   He is survived by siblings John (Patty) Sholes, Deborah Sholes, Vivian (Jeff) Juneau, and Janet Sholes, along with many beloved nieces, nephews, loving relatives, and friends. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made through a donation to his local DAV.  Your check should be made to “MN DAV Chapter 39” with annotation, “Ken Sholes Memorial.”  Funds will be used to sponsor the 18th Hole at the June 8, 2021 Chapter’s Golf Tournament, held at the Refuge Golf Course in Oak Grove, MN, supporting area Veterans.  Mail to: MN DAV Chapter 39 Adjutant, 3443 136th Ave. NW, Andover, MN 55304.  A Virtual Celebration of Life Ceremony and internment at Fort Snelling Cemetery with military honors to be announced. Guest Book to share your memories of Ken at https://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/0000374706/

FUNERAL SERVICE FOR MN DAV CHAPTER 39 COMMANDER, TERRY PLASTER

Terry Plaster (November 24, 1942 – November 15, 2020), beloved Husband, Dad & Papa. passed away at the age of 77.  Survived by “His World,” his loving wife, Gloria (Sampson) of 57 years; their sons, Terry Jr. “TJ” & Douglas; his beloved 11-year-old granddaughter and “Light of His Life,” Audrey; grandsons, Cody & Brandon; mother like sister-in-law, Betty Loughrey; siblings Janet, Bill, Mary, Michael & Archie. Preceded in death by his “more than a brother-in-law,” Bob Loughrey.  Terry was loved & respected by many Nieces & Nephews.  Terry served in the U.S. Army and is an active and lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).  He was recently elected as the 2020-21 Commander of MN DAV Chapter 39.  Funeral service at KOZLAK-RADULOVICH BLAINE CHAPEL (107th Ave. NE & Hwy. 65) Monday, November 30th at 10:30 AM with visitation one hour prior.  Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery.  All COVID Regulations will be followed.  Please RSVP using the following link to maintain capacity restrictions.  https://www.tributearchive.com/obituaries/19008746/Terry-Douglas-Plaster/Blaine/Minnesota/Kozlak-Radulovich-Funeral-Chapels

REMEMBERING KEN SHOLES AND TERRY PLASTER

We are saddened to learn of the passing of two of our MN DAV Chapter 39 members… Ken Sholes and Terry Plaster. Please keep their families in your prayers.  Memorials for Ken Sholes will be sponsoring the 18th Hole at the 2021 MN DAV Chapter 39’s Golf Tournament.  Terry Plaster chaired the 2020 Golf Tournament which was canceled due to the pandemic and was recently elected as the Chapter’s Commander.  Services, Celebrations of Life, and details of memorials will be published when details become available.

VETERANS DAY PROGRAM

Minnesota DAV Anoka Chapter 39 and The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs invites the community to celebrate and honor Veterans who have served our country. The State of Minnesota Veterans Day Program will be held virtually this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 30-minute program can be viewed on the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs website at https://MinnesotaVeteran.org/VeteransDay2020. The National Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery starts at 10 a.m. Central Time, with a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and honors and thanks all who served in the U.S. uniformed services. VA will live stream the ceremony at https://www.facebook.com/VeteransAffairs.