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112TH VFW NATIONAL CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS

New Commander-in-Chief DeNoyer Sets Forth Bold Agenda

Denoyer

The record-breaking heat in San Antonio, Texas, wasn’t enough to deter thousands of members, friends and supporters of the VFW away from its 112th National Convention held in the “Military City.” The Convention was held August 26-September 1, 2011 at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.

Hundreds of delegates to the Convention attended Sunday’s annual memorial service where Army Col. Karl O. Kuckhahn, Jr., chaplain of the 502nd Mission Support Group at Fort Sam Houston, delivered the memorial address. And later, the 52-member Texas Children’s Choir, a non-profit group based in San Antonio, sang “Song for the Unsung Hero” and “Mansions of the Lord.”

On Monday, thousands attended the Convention’s Joint Opening Session, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who served as a C-130 pilot in the Air Force from 1972-77, offered praise for Vietnam War veterans, telling the mostly Vietnam-era audience, “I was never called into battle, but I know some names on The Wall. You are the American heroes of Vietnam, and I salute you.”

He also announced a new program to be run by the Texas Veterans Commission called Housing for Heroes, which provides $3 million to help Texas veterans with rent, renovations and home building.  

The audience also received a special visit from, Hiram Sasser, the director of litigation for the Plano, Texas-based Liberty Institute. He provided a detailed update on the status of the Mojave Desert Cross in California—a highly regarded issue among the VFW community. Sasser announced that by Veterans Day, his organization hopes to have the WWI memorial re-established in the Mojave National Preserve.

Among many generous donations to VFW and its affiliates, Doug Waite, a Navy reservist, VFW member and president of the General Motors Veterans Affinity Group, presented a $35,000 check to VFW’s National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids, Mich. 

Kelsey Woo, the 2011 National Voice of Democracy scholarship winner, also stopped by to deliver her award-winning speech to the crowd.

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney addressed delegates, calling for defense-related unity. “The final image that Osama bin Laden took with him straight to Hell was not a party symbol—not a Republican elephant or a Democratic donkey—but an American flag on the shoulder of one straight-shooting U.S. Navy Seal,” said Romney.

VA Deputy Undersecretary Scott Gould also stood before the VFW audience, outlining key areas in which VA is progressing. Telling the crowd “we will be rigorous in our stewardship of VA services.” Retired General James Conway, who served as the 34th commandant of the Marine Corps from 2006-10, received VFW’s Armed Forces Award. In a vigorous acceptance speech, Conway offered high praise for VFW and Vietnam War vets.

Another special guest included Medal of Honor recipient Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry. Petry met with attendees at VFW’s Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Workshop and was later honored at the VFW’s Patriotic Rally. Petry received the nation’s highest military award on July 12 in a ceremony at the White House.

The Convention concluded on Thursday with the installation of newly elected VFW officers. Richard L. DeNoyer, a resident of Middleton, Massachusetts, was elected VFW Commander-in-Chief, earning VFW eligibility during the Vietnam War while attached to Ammunition Co., Force Logistics Support Group “A,” 3rd Marine Division. Also elected were John Hamilton, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, of St. Augustine, Florida, and William Thien, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, of Georgetown, Indiana.

Watch coverage of the convention, including replays of events that were streamed live

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