VVA 862



  Southwestern, Pa.

Now over 75,000 members in the United States

VVA 862 is the "Largest" VVA Chapter in Pennsylvania.

as of the March 31st, 2016 Roster

VVA  748  total w/ LIFE Members  - 643

  3rd "Largest Chapter in the United States"


"Special Announcements (Below)"

Well, I sent out 1,5000 Friday morning, assuming everyone got them. I watched my email a few times thru the day and none came back.

I thought everything was working beautifully. Now over the weekend, None of you got anything. So! We'll be on the phone againg tomorrow to get Comcast to figure this mess out.

Sorry Folks.

There will be No More Bulk emails to all members until we get this issue up to date.




May 6         Blood Drive, Red Cross Center at Med Center @ 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM Contact Terri Carr 330-692-1849


Vietnam Veterans of America joins lawsuit suing the VA on behalf of Camp Lejeune veterans

Vietnam Veterans of America


April 27, 2016
No. 16-10
Mokie Porter

Veterans Groups Sue VA for Withholding Information Demanded by Veterans Poisoned by Camp Lejeune's Toxic Water

VA's Controversial "Subject Matter Expert" Program Keeps Public in the Dark

(Wash., D.C.)---Today Vietnam Veterans of America, along with The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel the Department of Veterans Affairs to produce records on the Camp Lejeune Subject Matter Expert (SME) program. The VA created the SME program in 2012 to evaluate disability compensation claims. Since that time, the public has filed numerous requests for information on the SME program, but VA has largely ignored such requests.

"It is high time the federal government and all of its entities stop lying and withholding evidence on the toxic substances to which veterans and their families have been exposed. To have anonymous subject experts is not the American way, and in a democracy, this lack of transparency is not acceptable," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Between 1953 and 1987, nearly one million veterans, their families, and civilian employees at Camp Lejeune, a Marine training base in North Carolina, were exposed to toxic drinking water in one of the worst contaminations in U.S. history. Many have since developed illnesses like kidney, bladder, and breast cancer, and many have lost their lives as a result. Thousands of veterans have applied for disability compensation for diseases related to their exposure to toxic water aboard Camp Lejeune. The VA has denied the vast majority of these claims.

Initiated in 2012, the SME program tasks an anonymous group of clinicians with issuing medical opinions on the disability compensation claims of Camp Lejeune veterans. Since the VA created the SME program, the grant rate for these claims plummeted from approximately 25 percent to 8 percent.

From the limited information publically available, veterans groups and medical professionals have identified concerns about the clinicians' credentials, methods, and expertise. SME program clinicians have repeatedly cited scientific reports that VA officials have admitted are outdated. In at least one case, the VA relied on a report by an SME program clinician who cut and pasted a Wikipedia entry to provide a medical opinion on a rare type of cancer.

Veterans groups submitted a FOIA request to the VA in December 2015, seeking comprehensive records on the Camp Lejeune SME program, including policies, procedures, and objectives; fiscal impact; data and statistical information; and training records. The VA has not responded to this request.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said, "the SME program has been using incorrect and outdated information. The alarming drop in the grant rate of Camp Lejeune claims deserves real, penetrating scrutiny."

"The VA claims it created the Camp Lejeune SME program to assist veterans, but it is adversarial and unjust. Everything we know about the program indicates it should be scrapped," said retired Marine Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger, founder of The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, who lost his daughter at age nine to childhood leukemia linked to exposure to Camp Lejeune's toxic water.

"The VA's lack of transparency is alarming. The qualifications and methodology of the SME clinicians are concerning. Given that the VA has called this program a model for toxic exposure compensation claims in the future, veterans need to understand how this program works." said Rory Minnis, a former Marine and law student intern at the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School.

Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans' service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. In keeping with its founding principle, "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another," VVA aggressively advocates for all veterans


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Election Results  2016 - 2018

Executive Committee

President - Larry Googins

Exec Vice President - William "Duckman Laughner

1st Vice Pres - Phil Morris

Secretary - Michelle Wilcox

Treasurer - Jake Barsottini


Board of Directors

3 Yrs - Ron Heitzenrater

3 Yrs - Ron Ippolito

3 Yrs - Nick Pavkovich

2 Yrs - Terri Carr

2 Yrs - Rich Raich

2 Yrs - Gary Shaffer

1 Yr - Don Villella

1 Yr - Chuck Inman

1 Yr - Lee Corfield


Delegates (15)

Larry Googins

Bill Laughner

Phil Morris

Michelle Wilcox

Jake Barsottini

Lee Corfield

Chuck Inman

Nick Pavkovich

Rich Raich

Ray Rapp

John Szatkiewicz

Bob Weismantle

Terri Carr

Dave Walker

Gary Shaffer


Don't forget to check under the Agent Orange Tab in case of any Special Announcements.

I post them as I get them!

Sometimes this happens on a Daily basis.

VVA WEB WEEKLY - Up to date items from VVA National every week! 



You may now obtain a Life Membership for $75.00!

VVA 862 has agreed to continue to pay the $25.00 discount for life membership applications for  our chapter?  Even if all remaining Chapter 862 “non-life” members take advantage of this, we will still receive more money in life membership rebates than the cost of this discount. 


Official Chapter 862 Mailing Address

We now have a new PO BOX address to be used for VVA 862 Mail

VVA Chapter 862

PO Box 26

Rochester, Pa. 15074


Please Welcome Our Newest "LIFE"  VVA 862 Members:



Ed Adams

Dan Benincase

James Boyce

Bruce Briggs

Terry Burgess

Gary Dashield

Ron Dominici

Tim Duffy

Wesley Field

Mike Force

Willie Gilmore

Andy Gira

Jim Gryck

Al Hartman

Dave Hendrickson

Chuck Jenkins

Rich King

Larry Laughlin

Goerge Lokey

Charles McClevish

Rich McDaniel

Pat Murray

Mike Patterson

Russ Potts

Jim Puhala

Greg Rice

Chuck Roksandich

Jim Rose

Rick Ruperto

Bruce Sasser

Charles Smith

Dennis Smith  (Beaver Falls)

Louis Steff

Charles Talbott

Murl Thompson

Mike Tkalcevic

Ralph Trautman

Thomas Tray

Joe Tucci

Bill Weiss

Jim Wolfe


Our meetings are currently held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the:


179 Virginia Ave

Rochester, PA. 15074


We are one of very few, "Board of Directors" that meet monthly!
 The Board of Directors meets in the "Board Room"

every 2nd Wednesday of every month at 7:00 PM. 

VVA Chapter 862 is located in Southwest Pennsylvania.

Our membership includes all of Beaver County as well as the following surrounding counties. Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington & Westmoreland Counties. 
 We also have many members scattered out all over the United States. 


(Brief History)

When did it all start? We needed 25 to sign a charter,
 Our first meeting was organized by Lloyd "Skip" Haswell and held on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 at Boscov's Department Store in the Beaver Valley Mall in Monaca, PA.  We only had 17 attend.

We waited for 3 months, Skip put an ad in the Beaver County Times and tried again!
The next meeting was held at the Monaca American Legion on Wednesday, July 19, 2000 where we had 53 attend, therefore, we signed the charter that night and we have met every month since then. An "Election of Officers" was held that evening, and we were on our way

President - Lloyd "Skip" Haswell

Vice President - Michael Mikulich

2nd Vice President - Jon Neely (Dec)

Secretary - Frank "Lee" Corfield

Treasurer - William T. Muns

Delegate - Tracy King

This chapter was organized under the Law of 1988 and filed Articles of Incorporation with

the Pennsylvania Department of State on the 2nd day on November, 2000.