Local Vietnam veterans group forming | SierraSun.com

Local Vietnam veterans group forming

John Wills is looking for a few good men.

Six weeks ago, Wills decided to start a North Tahoe and Truckee chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. Three weeks ago, VVA representatives from Sacramento visited Wills to help him set up the local chapter. Wills and fellow Tahoe VVA organizer Ernest Alioto were all set to go except for one drawback – they were 10 members short of the required 25 to start a chapter.

Wills hopes to find the last 10 members soon because he said there is no local organization to help vets like himself sift through paperwork and red tape to get the services offered those who fought in Vietnam.

Wills, who is 50 percent disabled, managed to get the help he needs by taking back-and-forth trips to Reno and now wants to help other Tahoe area vets. VVA was formed in 1978 to address the special needs of Vietnam vets. It is funded entirely by private contributions, although it is a U.S. Congress chartered organization. Some of the special programs the group runs include government relations advocacy, a task force of homeless vets, health care, a national scholarship fund and assistance to veterans seeking benefits from the government.

VVA membership costs $20 a year. Vietnam veterans living in Truckee, the North and West Tahoe areas, Donner Summit or Sierra Valley interested in becoming a member should call Wills at (530) 582-8633 or Alioto at 587-7442.

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