National Association of Atomic Veterans
Radisson Hotel, Branson, MO
September 13, 2017, Wednesday
Board members present: Bob Pfeifer, Keith Keifer, Haskell Watts, Robert Ruyle, Fred Schafer, Barb Schafer
Excused: Gillie Jenkins, Lincoln Grahlfs, Frank Farmer
National Commander, Fred Schafer, opened the board meeting at 7:10 P.M. with Pledge of Allegiance. Board members were introduced and recognized. Fred thanked the members and
board members in attendance for their participation in this meeting.
Fred introduced Alan Owens, Chairman of British Nuclear Veterans, from England. Cham Meredith will play fiddle at the banquet on September 15. The ambassador for the Marshallese
will be in attendance at the convention.
Alan will present a power point informational program about British Atomic Veterans.
Eldon Ali, the Marshall Islands Ambasssador from Arkansas will also present at the convention.
Fred announced that Oregon has dedicated 20 miles of I-5 Freeway as the “Atomic Veterans Highway” Signage will be completed January 1, 2018.
The general meeting will be at 9:00 A.M. There have been 37 members and spouses attendant at this meeting. The banquet will be informal dress.
At 7:25 P.M. the meeting was adjourned until 9:00 A.M. Friday.
For the good of the order, the NAAV flag was on display and was discussed. Meeting will be called to order 9:00 A.M. Friday Morning.
September 15, 2017 N.A.A.V. Annual Convention General Meeting 9:00 A.M.
Fred Schafer, National Commander, opened the General meeting with the Pledgeof Allegiance.
wo guests were introduced: Alan Owen, British Chairman for Atomic Veterans
Alek Ali, Marshall Islands Ambassador forArkansas
Board members present: Keith Kiefer, Bob Pfeiffer, Robert Ruyle, Haskell Watts, Fred Schafer, Barb Schafer
Board Members excused: Frank Farmer, Gillie Jenkins, Lincoln Grahlfs Sick Call: Judy Farmer, Joan Grahlfs, Betty Jenkins and Bernice Ruyle. Welcome to 2017 convention.
Announced the Atomic Veterans Highway in Oregon will include 20 miles of Interstate Highway I-5 between Salem and Albany. The legislation also includes the Nuclear Veterans
Highway 97 to Hanford Nuclear Waste Storage site. Those signs will be posted by January 2018. Oregon is the third state to have highways designated to Atomic and/or Nuclear Veterans. Kansas and Georgia have
previously achieved those goals.
Fred requested that state commanders work toward three goals:
- Work for veterans to be awarded the Atomic Veterans medal
- Help to create an National Atomic Veterans Day
- Strive to have state legislators create a section of highway dedicated to Atomic Veterans in every state.
Fred announced that South Carolina now has an Atomic Veterans memorial.
Fred announced that N.A.A.V. federal tax exempt status has been renewed with the I.R.S. We continue as a 501(c)3 organization.
Keith Keifer talked about Radiated Veterans of America, RVA. He shared copies of his information.
RVA is a 501(c)19 organization which is able to lobby congress. Members are currently in process of
reinstating their non-profit status.
Radiated Veterans of America, RVA has 4 officers. Has 35 members who are mostly NAAV members as well. No assets and no liabilities. In good standing with the state.
They have lost non profit status because failure to file 990. There was information and discussion following.
Fred presented the Treasurers Report on behalf of Frank Farmer, Treasurer, who is excused.
As of September 1, 2017
Checking account $17,415.80
Savings account $14,262.13
(further new business)
Regarding next years convention: Fred requested Portland, Oregon as next site. Other suggestions included
Portland Convention Center, Tigard American Legion, Spokane, Chehalis, Shilo Inns.
Eldon Ali presented a brief program on Marshall Islands. He is Counsel General for the Marshallese at Arkansas. More than 15,000 Marshallese live in Arkansas. He began his post as
Ambassador 2 months ago.
The Marshall Islands people, due to atomic testing on their homeland, have suffered radiation exposure, leukemia, as well as thyroid, stomach and colon cancer. In fact, the people
of the Marshall Islands along with Atomic Veterans carry the highest rates of illness and death from radiation causes. The ambassador stated that although
the health issues have been catastrophic, it is the
complete loss of culture and tradition which has most impacted the islanders. They have lost a cultural heritage of thousands of years. They have lost traditions, customs and skills. Currently most live in
need of social services, healthcare, basic rights and privileges that would allow them to learn
new skills and create better lives for themselves and their families now legal residents within the United States.
They have become a displaced people.
The ambassador thanked N.A.A.V. for its support that has helped the Oregon Legislature to unanimously approve medicaid for people of the Marshall Islands who reside in Oregon. Prior to
that initial step, the Marshallese people had been denied health insurance for 20 years although they were already legal citizens of the United States. He concluded by saying, “We will require your full
continuing support. You will have our full support for contninuing cooperation between our organizations.”
After a brief break, meeting was resumed at 10:55 a.m.
Members cooperated to ride shared from hotel to Springfield airport Friday morning. Veterans stood to introduce themselves and tell about their own experience in service. Recess for
After lunch, Vic Skaar presented information regarding radiation exposure.
He discussed how he went to the Freedom of Information Act to get background information regarding his exposure to radiation while in the service.
A DD-214 is not enough.
You can use witnesses who were with you to verify likely exposure.
If you had a particular occupation which was demonstrably
within likely exposure incidence, take that documentation.
You need proof that you were in certain exposed area at particular time.
He discussed methods of research he employed to prove his case. He talked about NOT giving up. Appeal.
The final level is the court of veterans appeals.
Keith Kiefer presented a legislative update. Keith has been asked to give testimony for some veteran compensation legislation.
Regarding RECA,Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, Keith was consulted and did make some recommendations. One bill
includes Anawetok Atoll, recognized for the first time.
Atomic Veterans Service Medal has 8 co-sponsors. Has been put into National Defense Conservation Act. At a roll call vote, 435 voted favorably and so it has passed the
House. Now it will be introduced into the Senate. Atomic Veterans Day. No offer on that bill to date. In the Minnesota Senate, the bill passed the senate but did not pass the house. Meanwhile, the Minnesota
Governor passed a resolution to have July 17 Atomic Veterans Day, but that is not continuous.
Senate Resolution 25 designating a day of remembrance for “Downwinders.”
Operation Stand Together occurred in Washington, D.C. Keith spoke at that event. Erin Brocovich also attended that event. Toxic veterans from several categories of exposure to
hazardous situations were represented.
Meeting Adjourned 2:40 P.M.