WMA Arizona and California Chapter Clippings
AZ-1 Arizona Roadrunner
On February 11, 2016, Bettie (Pruden) Lerdall made a special visit to Southern California to spend time with Beatrice Ruth “BJ” (Zimmerman) Strong, her bunk mate from recruiting training in 1943. Their friendship, forged during their initial Marine Corps training, has lasted more than 70 years. During the visit, they reminisced about their time in the Corps, their family’s joys and challenges, and their memories of travels around the world. At ages 92 and 97, respectively, Bettie and BJ epitomize that special relationship as sisters and friends that Women Marines have shared throughout our service history. Pictured from left to right are BJ, Linda Ballinger, and Bettie. Linda’s late mother, June (Welsh) McCoy, also served in the Corps and was a good friend to both Bettie and BJ.
CA-3 Greater San Francisco Bay Area
On Saturday, 7 November, CA-3 members Kathy Wright and Maggie Hart attended the Annual All Service Women Veteran’s Luncheon at His Lordships Restaurant in Berkeley, CA. Additionally, Kathy brought two of her WWII Navy WAVE friends with her – Ginger Jacobson and Gladys Bernis. It was a beautiful day and the restaurant was surrounded by water on 3 sides and gave great views of the San Francisco skyline. Both Ginger and Gladys won great raffle prizes. Ginger won a US Silver Dollar celebrating WIMSA and Gladys won a beautiful patriotic quilt hanging. There were two tables of veteran’s from the Veterans’ Home in Yountville, and it is always great to see those ladies. On 11 November, CA-3 member Kathy Wright was honored to be the guest speaker at a Challenger School in Sunnyvale, CA. She addressed three assemblies of students ranging from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Each group selected one class to sing each of the services songs and they did a wonderful job. Additionally, the student council put on a brief program about the history of Veteran’s Day. It was a most enjoyable day. The students were attentive and all 750 of them gave Kathy a hand slap, a hand shake or a hug as they left the assembly area. CA-3 monthly meetings and get togethers continue to be well attended – averaging 20- 25 members and guests at each meeting. At our October meeting – many of our members dressed up for Halloween! On Saturday, 24 October, one of the members of CA-3, Lily Brockmeier, attended a workshop in San Francisco. The workshop was hosted by Swords to Plowshares, the Women Veterans Professional Network (WVPN). This workshop is part of a series of workshops that fosters career advancement opportunities and builds connections among women veteran professionals. They have other workshops that assist you with building your Linkedin profile: how to optimize your profile, and provide personalized advice, dress for success, etc. At this workshop, Lily connected with other Woman Marine veterans, and was able to inform them about WMA and CA-3. On Friday, 6 November, CA-3 members Kathy Wright and Barbara Nass attended the 35th Annual Marine Corps Birthday luncheon at the Elks Club in San Mateo. Marines from all over the Bay Area were in attendance, and it was a very pleasant afternoon. They held a competition for the best sea story, and our own Kathy Wright came in second. It was a very nice event, and we will be happy to participate again next year. At our November meeting, we celebrated the 240th birthday of the Marine Corps. Our oldest Marine present – Lucille Danielson – received the first piece of Birthday cake, and passed it to our youngest Marine present – Bonnie Dabalos-Castro. Then cake was had by all. For many years, CA-3 has donated toys to “Connies’s Kids”, a tradition started by CA-3 member Connie Guaraglia. We continued this tradition by bringing new unwrapped toys to be donated to the Davis Street Foundation which helps local families in need.. They were most grateful to receive the toy donations for their children.
CA-2 San Diego County
The CA-2 San Diego County chapter choose to honor an active duty Marine with the first ever Woman Marine of the Year Award. The individual selected must meet and exemplify the seven pillars of the WMA. The woman chosen was Corporal Cynthia Luna. She was selected from many Marines aboard the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Luna is attached to the 12th Marine Corps District. Cpl. Luna is the Marine Program representative for her command. She has volunteered to the community, helping with the homeless, various veterans’ organization and habitat for humanity. She has also worked with Father Joe’s Village with the feeding the homeless program while still doing her duties as an active duty Marine. Luna is planning a trip to China to help students learn English. She hopes to pursue her education once she returns from China. She was presented the WMA CA-2 award by Colonel E. Hasting during the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. The holidays are a time to enjoy with friends, comrades and family. CA-2 did just that. This year, the Chapter Christmas Party was celebrated with a pot-luck luncheon 19 December at the Alterra Apartment Complex Club House. Michele Kramek is a resident and hosted the event. It was a wonderful time to enjoy the company of our fellow sisters, enjoy good food, desserts and drinks. Everyone had a good time. The chapter held their January 16th meeting at the Veterans Village of San Diego. VVSD staff presented a comprehensive presentation about the facility and their mission. Following the presentation, we toured the facility and the meeting ended with a luncheon in the dining hall. The mission of VVSD is to extend assistance to veterans and their families with housing, food, clothing, substance abuse recovery, mental health counseling, job training, and job search assistance and legal services. It also provides a continuum of care in prevention, intervention, treatment and aftercare. This event gave us the opportunity to understand the challenges facing veterans today and what VVSD is doing to help veterans. This knowledge will help us to understand problems facing veterans and become involved. Knowledge is a very powerful tool and can give veterans the loudest voice ever heard.
CA-7 Edith Macias Vann So. California
With great sadness, we report the loss of our member, Dorothy “Dot” Monroe, on 31 October 2015. Dot had been a member of the WMA since 1967. She was a founding member of the Bay State Chapter of WMA and held various positions at the national and chapter levels. A memorial service was held for her at the Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside. Semper Fidelis, Dot.
For the past few months, our Kathy Kincaid has been spearheading the establishment of a Marine Corps League detachment here in the Oceanside area. She is acting as the organizing officer and interim adjutant. Her determination to have a local detachment is paying off. Many local veterans are signing up to become charter members. In November, some of our members participated in the Annual BVL Tournament. Bowlers to Veteran’s Link (BVL), is a national nonprofit charity that supports veterans and active duty service members through various efforts that include raising funds to provide equipment for VA hospitals and other facilities. In celebration of the 240th Marine Corps birthday, we opted to have a casual birthday luncheon on 14 November in lieu of our regular monthly meeting. Our oldest and youngest members Veronica Alford and SSgt MaryAnn Miller, respectively, were honored in the traditional cake-cutting ceremony. The celebration continued with several of our members attending the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball in San Diego on 20 November. In keeping with our holiday traditions, chapter members donated toys to the Toys for Tots drive and participated in the Wreaths Across America wreath drive to include the laying of wreaths at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego.
On 9 December, CA-7 members Lillian “Lee” Tusa, Norma Wohlfarth, and Loyal Escort Jerry Wohlfarth attended a holiday party at the Pacific Views Event Center, Camp Pendleton. The event was hosted by the Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations WestMarine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Brigadier General Edward D. Banta and Mrs. Banta. The theme was A Winter Wonderland. In attendance were active duty and retired military members, representatives of local governmental agencies, and school officials. The guests donated a large quantity of toys for the Toys for Tots drive. The evening was most enjoyable. With the 2016 WMA National Convention closing in on us, the chapter has been busy with preparations. Our Chapter President, Nancy Arroyavila, was appointed by National to be the Recognition & Awards (R & A) Chair. As such, all CA-7 members planning to attend the convention were “selected” to be members of her committee. We have been busy with judge selections and working out the R & A luncheon ceremony logistics. Our Loyal Escorts have been doing their part continuing to work on plans for the 2016 Convention Hospitality Room, the River Rouge Pub.
Glynis Rates, Kathy Kincaid, Lillian “Lee” Tusa
CA-8 Palms to Pines
Taps was sounded for another CA-8 Charter member. Janice Linares, was given her final orders on 11 November. She was 94 years old and had been in falling health for a number of years and couldn’t attend meeting but we talked on the phone as often as we could. Semper Fi, my friend, and save a seat for me. (Left to Right): Mary Eliseo, Ozell Barksdale, Linda Moore, Jo Walker (LE), Johnnie Williams, Sybl Acree, Sharon Catlett (LE). (Front L-R): Helen Page (LE), Cassandra Thompson-Jervis, Rosemary Abrego-Homes. Our new meeting place at Coco’s in Moreno Valley is great. We have a closed off room that we don’t have to share with others and can get down to business. Johnnie Williams, Sybl Acree, Ozell Barksdale and Helen Page attended the Wreaths Across America Dedication at Riverside National Cemetery. As always, it was very moving. Veterans can now have “Veteran” put on their California driver license or ID. You need to take your DD214 to the County Veterans Service Office to obtain your Veterans Status Verification Form, take to the DMV, fill out your application, pay $5 and you’re all set. You can call your local DMV or go online for additional information. Our Christmas Party was a lot of fun. We had 7 members and 3 Loyal Escorts. The door prize was 2 lb. 8oz. box of Whitman’s Chocolates, won by Mary Eliseo. She donated it to the Saint Francis Church Food Bank in Moreno Valley in the name of WMA CA-8. They were really happy to receive it. I want to thank everyone for their well wishes in my recent shoulder replacement surgery. I am ahead of schedule on my recovery. Mr. Dr. said he would expect nothing less from a Marine. See you in Portland! Semper Fi, Sybl Acree
CA-11 Central Coast
Greetings Lady Leathernecks Central Coast Women Marines have been moving forward on the golden coast of California. We have two great achievements starting off 2016. Our chapter has been accepted for the Adopt-A- Highway program and we are located on Route 1 for a two mile radius. Due to the rains, we have not had the opportunity to start our clean up, but our sign is up and as soon as it stops raining, we will be strapping up our boots to start cleaning up and getting the job done. This advertising for the Women Marines in the local community is a giant step for our chapter. We have officially been given an office space and a name plaque for the Veteran’s Memorial building in Lompoc. Our chapter is a part of the community we are involved in the veterans’ council, and are working with other veterans groups to keep the building functional. We continually interact with fellow veterans and when we least expect it, we are finding women Marines among us. Are chapter is growing one Marine at a time. Semper Fidelis, Soledad Kennedy
CA-29 Twenty Nine Palms
The CA-29 Palms chapter was very active the last quarter of 2015. The chapter participated in the 29 Palms Pioneer Days Parade and shared their entry with the Mojave Vipers Young Marines unit that carried the chapter’s banner in front of their float. Chapter members, Michelle Harrison, Lorraine Chamberlain and Elaine Bowden participated in the wreath laying ceremony at the traveling Vietnam Wall exhibit and Lorraine Chamberlain and Congressman Paul Cook were guest speakers at this event. Our members celebrated the Marine Corps’ 240th Birthday in various locales to include the retiree Marine Corps Ball in 29 Palms and the Marine Corps League’s celebration in Desert Hot Springs. Members also attended the Marine Corps uniform pageant and lunch at the mess hall aboard the MCAGCC in 29 Palms. The chapter is sad to report the loss of long time and founding chapter member, Denne Howard, who passed on December 29th, 2015 after a long illness. Denne contributed much to our chapter and WMA National. Many may remember that Denne played the bugle at the memorial services at many of the WMA conventions as well the USMC honor detail at the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA. Information on the Women Marine Association, 29 Palms Chapter can be obtained from Elaine Bowden at 760-367-6187 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Elaine Bowden