Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Community should be proud of Chapter 310

When I finally reached John Kinzinger this week to ask him his thoughts on being named Vietnam Veteran of the Year last month at the national convention of Vietnam Veterans of America, he was at the VFW hall, where he is commander, preparing for an upcoming event on Sunday.

Kinzinger is always preparing for something. He is a man filled with uncommon dedication and energy. He invited me to a fund-raiser at Sidetracks in Depot Town Wednesday night; he wanted me to make it to the WWII event at the VFW on Sunday to take pictures. Once Kinzinger gets a hold of you, he does not easily let go. His passion pulls you right in.

There has never been a parade I have attended that I did not see Kinzinger marching. He appears tireless in his pursuit to assist and support veterans.

I talked with other members of Chapter 310, which was named Chapter of the Year at the national convention, and I don't know that I have talked with so many men who have as clear a purpose and as sharp a focus as they do.

Gary Lillie and Pete Belaire will tell you story after story to illustrate the work Chapter 310 does to support veterans.

Here's one Pete told me that I couldn't fit in this week's article:

There is a soldier from Parma named Tim Lang who was badly injured by an IED in Iraq. He was at the VA and Chapter members had taken to visiting him. There came a time when Lang was ready to head home, but would need to make regular trips back to the VA for physical therapy and other treatment. He couldn't arrange a ride from Parma to the VA that would fit his schedule so the Chapter made some calls and got the VVM car lot in Milan to donate a car to Lang. It was all set. But Lang never got to drive the car. Shortly after, he had a setback and was transfered to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda where they amputated his foot. Belaire and Kinzinger took a trip to Bethesda to visit Lang and learned he needed new shoes to fit his prosthetic foot. They took Lang on a small shopping spree to find him shoes.

That is supporting our troops. That is the best of the human heart.

My hat off to Chapter 310 -- not just for the honors they received at the VVA national convention -- but for their generosity, caring, dedication; in short, for their humanity.

They should make us all proud.

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