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In Memory of 15 ASMC members killed in the Pentagon attack.  9/11/2001


    September 11, 2001 had an enormous impact on the lives of many Americans whether they were close to the tragic events or far away and did not even know any of the victims who were killed or injured.  Many, many people wanted to do something so their overwhelming frustration at not being involved in making things better could be eased.  One man in rural Michigan, Bob Van Oosterhaut had an idea and communicated that idea to his Senator, Debbie Stabenow.  She and her office worked with him and USA Act was born.  USA stands for Unity in the Spirit of America, and it was given official status on January 10, 2002 by President George Bush when he signed legislation charging the Points of Light Foundation with organizing several thousand volunteer projects, each to be named in honor of one or more of those who lost their lives in the attacks.  See http://stabenow.senate.gov/infocus/usa.htm and http://www.usa.pointsoflight.org/default.html for more information.
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Ms. Jean Berg, Coordinator of the Arlington Volunteer Center, and the kickoff, and Elsie from the VFW Auxiliary get ready for the influx of volunteers.
Both the ASMC National organization and the local chapters, decided to participate in this “Spirit” to pay tribute to the 14 members we lost, as well as those who were injured.  The kickoff event was held on June 20, 2002 in each of thirteen cities, including Arlington, VA.  The Potomac and Washington Chapters sent workers to Shirlington where two organizations who serve people in the area were joined by several groups of volunteers to help flesh out Bob’s original idea and give real service to those who were impacted. 103-0384_IMG.JPG (49289 bytes)
Bob explains to Clara Weston how his idea became this great endeavor.
The two organizations are the Arlington Street People Assistant Network (A-SPAN) and specifically its Emergency Winter Shelter clothing bank, and the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s (AFAC) food bank.  Both of these agencies use many volunteer groups throughout the area, and both experienced a large increase of individuals needing aid following 11 September.  Many of the workers at the airport, local hotels, motels and restaurants were laid off while the airport was closed and the tourist industry slowed to a standstill.

So both the short ceremony at the kickoff and the work performed by the many assembled volunteers was meaningful and useful and greatly appreciated by the people who assist those who are in need in Arlington.

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Points of Light volunteers arriving in a convoy of cabs.
The extra influx of volunteers from the Points of Light (who came in a convoy of cabs due to the limited parking in the area), the VFW and its Auxiliary, various church groups who volunteer on a regular basis, and ASMC members were put to work doing those jobs the regular volunteers never seem to find the time to do.  We washed down shelves, cleaned out the walk in refrigerator, washed entry ways, cleared areas so shelves are more accessible, and sized, folded and stored clothing.  The office got vacuumed and dusted, the volunteer database was automated, etc.  Us resource managers could learn a thing or two about efficient utilization of resources.  While Coy (my husband) was waiting for his ride home, Tyron put him to work folding up boxes.  Nancy, one of the managers of the food bank quickly realized that I was not going to be much use for heavy work so she had me add up all the volunteer hours logged for the month. 103-0387_IMG.JPG (45796 bytes)
Ms. Jean Berg making opening remarks
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Jay Fisette, Member of the Arlington County Board and its past Chairman
One of the “dignitaries” who came for the kickoff was Arlington County Board member and past chair, Jay Fisette.  One of the nicest comments I heard that day was, what a wonderful and helpful person Jay has always been to these agencies who help the needy, to which the lady added, and he was like that even before he became an elected official.

Some of our group took home work to help the AFAC automate its volunteer database and calendar.  In all, it was a great beginning to community service projects that will honor our fallen members and help us do something positive to help ourselves overcome the trauma of September 11.  We will be scheduling other opportunities to help these organizations and will discuss how best to honor our members.  If any members or coworkers have recommendations on this, either specific projects or commemorating specific fallen members, please let me or a Washington Chapter board member know.  Thanks to all who helped!!!

Clara Weston, Community Service Chair,  weston@erols.com


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Patty Bouch from Senator Stabenow’s office, Pam Warwick, Senior VP of Knowledge Leadership and Model Program of Points of Light organization, two unidentified volunteers in the foreground, Bob and Clara

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Pam Warwick, Senior VP of Knowledge Leadership and Model Program of Points of Light making her remarks and explaining how all the groups and organizations fit together

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One end of the group of volunteers, including Virginia Oleszek a corporate member form PFCU of the Washington Chapter and in the back John Raines from the Potomac Chapter.

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The other half of the group with Clara Weston of the Washington Chapter on the far left.

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Volunteers sizing and sorting clothing.  Washington Chapter member, Hettye Kirkland worked folding clothes but missed having her picture taken.

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Linda Coats, Director of Operation Place, A-SPAN

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This is part of the food bank – not a glamorous spot by a long shot -- getting ready for the day’s clients.

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Tyron Williams, the Warehouse Manager of AFAC, who directed the food bank area cleaning.

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Virginia Oleszek (with red shirt) of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union and Washington Chapter Corporate member, getting ready to scrub out the walk-in refrigerator.  Later she put on a coat to continue the work.


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