Connect With VVA VVA on Facebook Faces of Agent Orange on Twitter VVA on YouTube
Find A Service Officer
vietnam veterans of america
vva logo

Aftermath & Recovery From Hurricane IKE
A message from the vva disaster relief committee

It’s been quite a spring and summer.  We’ve seen floods in the Midwest, and now hurricanes, with Gustav and Ike striking the northwest Gulf shores. 


It is clear that many lessons have been learned by FEMA, the Red Cross, and other First Response Agencies.  Supplies have been staged well in advance, and have reached major distribution points quickly.   But a weakness in the system remains getting supplies and man-power to outlying areas.  Chapters that were not impacted directly, but are proximate to the stricken areas can help by reaching out to these smaller communities.  Assistance you can provide includes providing transport of supplies from the larger staging areas to smaller communities, coordinating with local churches and community and safety agencies like fire departments.  Also, seek out where FEMA is distributing tarps.  A tarp is just so much canvas unless one is able to get it in place on the roofs.  Put together teams of members with ladders, nails, hammers, roofing tar and lathe to provide installation of the tarps for those unable, particularly the elderly and disabled.  The FEMA tarp distribution points, local churches, and service agencies I’m sure would be able to provide you with enough work to keep you busy.  Check with your local Lowe’s, Home Depot’s and hardware’s for donation of the materials necessary.


As for donations, we are currently asking that all donations be sent to the Texas State Council, to assure prompt distribution. Credit Card donations can be made through the VVA National web site ( through the disaster relief page.  The address for the Texas State Council is: PO Box 1860, Fritch, TX 79036.

A message from the vva disaster relief committee
September 2008

As we have learned from past hurricane events, the initial focus of relief by the government, Red Cross, and other such agencies is focused on those areas with the largest population, as well as locations where the storms come ashore with the most severe weather.  However storms generally retain strength well inland, wreaking havoc with both torrential rains and high winds, leaving small and often rural communities suffering at the end of the emergency supply line. Aid is needed in these remote locations to repair infrastructure. Emergency assistance are desparately needed in these communities.

From lessons learned, both by other service organizations and agencies as well as VVA, there are some very valuable activities we can be doing that do not interfere with others' efforts. These do not require substantial expenditures but can provide much-needed services. 

While in Louisiana on a supply run post-Katrina, I was approached by a FEMA representative.  He was located near a major distribution facility, and had pallets of tarps for roofs.  Having the supplies available was just not enough.  Most people coming to him needed tarps and help installing them -- the elderly, single moms, and others who had neither the ability nor the support system to actually get the tarps up on their roofs. 

A proposal for chapters wishing to help would be to put together crews with ladders, hammers, nails, wood slats, and roofing tar to provide this most-needed service.  With a plan in hand, I’m sure companies such as Lowes, Home Depot, Ace and/or True Value Hardware, etc., would be willing to donate building materials for such a cause.  Also, as our members often have pick-up trucks and/or trailers, they might be welcome to work along with the volunteer agencies and FEMA to provide local deliveries of supplies to those unable to get to them otherwise. 

These are just a couple suggestions that VVA members can do to help generate relief at the local (chapter) level.  I’m sure those members and chapters of VVA located in the stricken areas can find other needs to fill also.

We, of the National Disaster Relief Committee, remain available to assist.  Funds are available for qualifying grants to chapters and members, and donations are still accepted through the Disaster Relief page of the National Web Site.  But more important, we can advise and assist based on our experience and the lessons we have learned.

VVA’s National Disaster Relief Committee lacks the ability to lead in local relief efforts, but is here to react to your needs and efforts at the member, local, and state levels.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me at the numbers or email address provided below, or Tom Hall at (813) 655-7129 and .

Craig Tonjes
Chair, National VVA Disaster Relief Committee
(239) 482-6903
(239) 482-2385 fax

A message from the Disaster Relief chair
July 2008


I’m glad you and Chapter 776 have taken the initiative to help our members and the communities stricken by the flood.

I received a copy of your letter with John’s response, but did not receive the attachments.

Tom Hall, who usually handles this aspect of the relief effort left today for a return trip to Vietnam, so as you identify needs we can meet, make the requests through me.

If you are assisting individual members, please provide their membership number, social security number, and a description of the circumstances of need. Photos will be greatly appreciated. Grants are currently capped at $500, depending on need. If members in the area are providing emergency services (food, building and cleaning supplies, clothing, etc), I hope first and foremost you are seeking donations locally. We can provide funds to purchase or reimburse assistance efforts. Either provide receipts and how the provisions were distributed for reimbursement if qualified, or provide a proposal of efforts you wish to undertake, including a description of supplies desired and an estimate of cost. All requests can be done by internet, and as indicated, supporting documentation and photographs are requested.

I hope we can help. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to call or email.


Craig Tonjes,
Disaster Relief Chair

Disaster Relief Committee Report


vva logo small©2006- 2010, Vietnam Veterans of America. All Rights Reserved. 8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Report Website Errors Here | Advertise | Photo Descriptions & Credits