A new place for Vietnam veterans to gather opened amid fanfare on Saturday, April 18. Vietnam Veterans Council of America Post 807 opened at a former synagogue located at 1812 Paulding Avenue. The chapter has almost 100 members, and is relocating into the large space. Its officers are hoping for an increase in membership.
“We had a chapter in Queens and decided to find a larger place so we could get more people involved,” said chapter president Stephan Skipper. “We found out that there are a lot of Vietnam veterans in this area of the Bronx that are not affiliated with any chapter.”
A dedication ceremony took place in the new post’s meeting hall. The ribbon cutting will be attended by Senator Jeff Klein and representatives from the American Legion and the Morris Park Community Association.
Fr. Richard Guarnieri gave an invocation and blessing to the gathering of Vietnam-era vets and their families. Frank Agovino of the MPCA, as well as others, wishes the veterans luck.
The post’s location will serve as a place those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other ailments related to war can go to for referral or counseling.
“A lot of the guys who fought in Vietnam have personal issues and don’t have a place to go,” Skipper said. “Even after more than 30 years a lot of the guys have issues related to the war. They can come here and be with people who share a common bond.”
Paul Nardelli, the treasurer for Post 807, said it would offer referral services to those who need counseling.
“We want veterans to have a place to come if they have any problems,” Nardelli said.
Nardelli also added that though the chapter will primarily service Vietnam-era veterans, those who served in the Korean Conflict, World War II, or other wars will also be welcomed.
The new post is also looking for volunteers who are not Vietnam veterans, but want to help their neighbors who are.
“We want to get people to sign on as associate members,” Nardelli said.
“We are glad they are here,” said Rocky Miano, of MPCA.
For more information, visit www.vvachapter807.org.