VFP Gainesville Chapter 14

Veterans For Peace

Korean War Veteran

Maryanne is a Korean War vet and is 80 years young.  She told me that people don’t believe her when she says she is a Korean War vet. I asked if it was because they did not believe a woman could have served in Korea.  Maryanne said no it was because they did not belive she was old enough.20150418_124119

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Morning previews of the afternoon sessions

20150418_112838we are hearing from Diane Zumatto now who will speak on Empowerment and Toxic Wounds. She is doing a roll call of who served in what Era.  We have two WW2 Vets, 3three Korean War vets and a scattering of Vietnam Vets.  A large number who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and during the cold war.

She’s telling us that in the 70’s 75% of congress were veterans and today it is 19%.  She is urging veterans to run for office. She works for Amvet as a legislative liason. Check out one of her slides above.  Her report from Congress is not good.

We are getting a lesson on how to influence bills in congress.

She has great slides – one last one before lunch:20150418_114506


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Veteran Entrepreneurs

Veteran entrepreneurs is one of the themes of the conference.  we are listening to Michael Zacchea, survivor of Iraq and the battle of Fallujah, disabled vet who retired as a Marine Lt Colonel.  Mike has received numerous medals including a bronze star, purple heart and the Order of the Lion of Babylon from the Iraqi government.  He is also a member of Veterans for Common Sense.

He directs the U of Connecticut School of Business’s Entrepreneurial Boot Camp for Veterans (EBV) . i will be going to attend his breakout sessions this afternoon.


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Keynote speaker

Lind maloney seaking

Lind maloney seaking

Linda Maloney is speaking right now.  She is a jet pilot who flew off carriers in a support role and is telling her ejection story from an A6.  They lost both hydraulic systems while on the way to Jacksonvile.  They went into a roll and ejected through the canopy. They landed in the water and got into the raft successfully.  A P3 was overhead within 3 minutes rocking his wings. When the helicopters and they hauled her out of the drink one of the crew exclaimed “You’re a girl!”

Linda is also an author with an award winning book Military Fly Moms and is organizing and speakers bureau for women veterans.  She believes that it is important for us to tell our stories.

Linda mentioned some interesting statistics:  Florida is third in the country with 165,962 women veterans .

Only 10% of the US population are veterans

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Service Dogs

You may not think of women vets having service dogs but here are two sets of service dogs and their owners at the conference.

Leslie and her service dog

Leslie and her service dog

Holly and her service dog

Holly and her service dog

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My first Vietnam Women vet

I was looking for a fellow Vietnam Vet at the meet and greet.  A lot of younger vets are attending this conference and I didn’t find a fellow Vietnam vet but this morning I met Ann who is actually an organizer of the conference.  Her husband also served and had a military career around the world.


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a gallery of women veterans

I will be posting photos of women vets attending the conference.  Here is the first post.  They are World War 2 vets and also twin sisters.  If you look carefully at their t shirts you will see they got and honor flight from SW Airlines to transport them to the conference.  They are our celebrity attendees.womens veterans conference - 1

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Opening ceremonies

Opening  Ceremonies

That’s Nadine at the podium And you will see some of our friends from Veterans for Common Sense at the back of the room in the second photo.

Opening ceremony

Veterans for Common Sense

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Womens Veterans Conference

Here we are at the Women’s Conference in Sarasota.  Thanks to Veterans for Peace for sending us.  There are over 100 Women vets registered here today – most form Florida but some for as faraway as Vermont and Los Angeles. We are listening to the introductory speeches from the Mayor of Sarasota who is a Vietnam Vet and a representative form Senator Nelson.  All led by young fireball and Veterans for Common Sense Nadine Noky. Iwill be blogging the conference today to give you some high points on our VFP blog.



Rev. Griner will be at The Clock restaurant this Saturday morning at 10 am. to protest the treatment of a
veteran and his service dog.
On Wednesday, January 21st, Mr. Jeff Woods, a Gulf War disabled veteran from Lake City went to The Clock Restaurant with his service dog, Tinie to have a meal. After he arrived, as chronicled in today’s Gainesville Sun written by reporter, Cindy Swirko, Mr. Woods was treated very harshly and with no respect at all because of the presence of his service dog, and attempts were made to bar the dog from the restaurant, which is against federal law. Not only was the restaurant management rude and harsh with Mr. Woods, but also with officer Crystal Castor of the Gainesville Police department upon her arrival.
  Mr. Woods was humiliated and embarrassed by what took place, and because of this, as a member of the community, a pastor and president of The Rosa Parks Quiet Courage Committee, I intend to seek and demand that a written apology be written to Mr. Woods, a man who gave service to his country, was wounded for that service, and did not deserve the harsh treatment he received after coming all the way from Lake City, Florida to eat at The Clock Restaurant when he could have chosen to eat somewhere else.
    I am going to arrive at The Clock Restaurant at 10am, and if I am not allowed inside, I am going to speak to this matter on the public sidewalk outside of the restaurant, and call attention to the inhumane treatment of Mr. Woods and his loyal service dog, Tinie. I am going to copy this media release out to many of my fellow clergy, fellow believers in justice and to organizations such as The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, The NAACP, and others who desire to speak out against injustice, and for our for citizens, and especially war veterans who deserve respect for what they have done for this country.
  I am asking all who care deeply about this situation to join me at The Clock Restaurant this Saturday, January 24th at 10am, and let us stand together and support Mr. Jeff Woods and Tinie! For more information or questions, Rev. Griner can be reached at
665-4066, or by e-mail at: mlgriner@yahoo.com
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