At the Veterans Breakfast Club,

Stories Unite Us.

Check out our online & in-person veterans storytelling programs and see our full event schedule below. All are welcome to join us!

Military Dog Handlers on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, March 13 @ 7pm ET

Date: March 13, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, YouTube, Facebook
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

We celebrate National K-9 Veterans Day with a conversation with former and present military dog handlers from all branches of service. If you were a dog handler in the military, please joins us to share your story and educate us about your service.

Dog handlers receive intensive training to work with expert dogs which assist with all sorts of security-oriented operations, from intelligence to bomb detection. “As a Military Working Dog Handler,” reads an Army recruiting website, “you’ll work with K-9 units and be responsible for training and caring for dogs, both at home and abroad, supporting missions and daily law enforcement. Military Working Dogs search for narcotic drugs or explosives and work with their human counterparts to neutralize threats in law enforcement operations.”

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

Vietnam Veterans Day 50th Anniversary Event | March 29, 2023

Date: March 29, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
All Events | In-Person Events | Online Events

Sponsors

The VBC and the Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center are holding a special Vietnam Veterans Day 50th Anniversary Event on March 29, 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

The event will be held in-person at the Heinz History Center and will also be available online on Facebook and YouTube

This free Vietnam Veterans Day event will honor and recognize all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location.

Non-Veterans are especially welcome to attend and pay tribute to our Vietnam Veterans, hear their stories of service, and thank them for blazing the trail for every serviceman and woman who came after them.

The event will feature refreshments, a social hour, and then a program with special guests, stories, and a pinning ceremony.

Every Vietnam Veteran registered for this event will receive a gift bag as a token of our gratitude for your service.

For those who will be joining us virtually, the gift bag will be shipped to the home address provided.

Register for the event here Register for the event here .

Sponsorship Opportunities Available

We have a range of sponsorships available with speaking opportunities, social media logo placement, and vendor tables and signs. If you have ideas for sponsoring not covered in the information below, let us know.

Sponsorship Information

Welcome Home Gift Bag

Now is your chance to say thank you to a Vietnam Veteran who did not get welcomed home 50 years ago.

Every Vietnam Veteran who attends online or in-person will receive a Welcome Home Gift Bag, either in person or in the mail.

Please consider sponsoring a Welcome Home Box for a Vietnam Veteran for $20. We can include a custom thank you note from you to the veteran.

Just click the button below and add a note that your donation is for a Vietnam Veteran Gift Bag.


 

“Brothers Like These”: Veterans Who Write . . . and Heal – Monday, April 3 @ 7pm ET

Date: April 3, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, YouTube, Facebook
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

 

This photo, titled “Coming into Country,” is of American soldiers in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Troy “Butch” Gudger, one of the Brothers.

Join us for a conversation with veterans who’ve written their stories in poetry and prose, and the Creative Writing Professor and Medical Doctor who co-founded the Creative Writing Program at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

In spring of 2014, Joseph Bathanti, Creative Writing Professor at Appalachian State University and then North Carolina Poet Laureate and Dr. Bruce Kelly, a primary care physician at Charles George, began conversations about launching a creative program for Vietnam Veterans in Kelly’s care who were struggling with PTSD.

Kelly had been pioneering Medical Humanities at the VA, as well as a community-based Arts in Medicine program – programs that transformed what healing looks like for wounded veterans. Bathanti, in his two-year signature project as poet laureate had worked with returning combat veterans and their families to harvest their war-time stories through various strands of creative writing.

After months of strategizing and wrangling with red tape, Bathanti and Kelly began meeting with cohorts of Vietnam Veterans in Classroom B, an out of the way room in the basement of the Asheville VA, where they gathered weekly to write. In January of 2016 –through the generosity of the NC Arts Council, the NC Humanities Council, the cooperation of Appalachian State University, and Kelly’s unflagging determination – Bathanti assumed the role of Charles George VA Medical Center Writer-in-Residence.

Those weekly sessions yielded extraordinary, breathtaking writing. In Classroom B those Vietnam Veterans – none of whom would have ever called themselves writers, but boy could they write – committed to paper stories that had been banging around inside of them, often deviling them, since their service in Vietnam – the same stories that empowered and lifted them, and for which they discovered language and voices. Each time one of the men read his story aloud to the others, there were nods of recognition.

Those men gave one another the strength and permission to tell their stories – and it’s crucial to mention that these men had not known one another before crossing the risky threshold into Classroom B. Nevertheless, they had been brothers, of course, long before they had ever met. They understood one another perfectly and understood as well their respective stories of the war they had each kept secret for fifty years – and then those stories came out, first in trickles, then in torrents, and it hasn’t stopped, nor will it.

Brothers Like These, a staged reading of those Vietnam Veterans reading the work they produced in Classroom B, premiered on August 31, 2016 at the Asheville Community Theater, and was later reprised at Appalachian State University on April 19, 2017. It’s been performed in Franklin, NC, Old Fort, NC, at the Vietnam Veterans of America annual mid-Atlantic Convention in Durham, NC, and was excerpted at the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville, NC in September of 2019 and at the North Carolina Writers Network Annual Conference in Asheville, also in 2019. What’s more, it continues to be performed in venues across the state.

Brothers Like These weaves the remarkable voices of unimaginably brave soldiers who gave their all during the Vietnam War. These are stories and poems, large and small, funny and heartbreaking — not just invaluable to succeeding generations of soldiers, but to every citizen of our country, and beyond. In April of 2017, the book, Brothers Like These, was published by St. Andrews University Press, and remains the Press’s best-seller.

A number of the original group of men from Bathanti’s and Kelly’s workshops have since launched the foundation, North Carolina Veterans Writing Alliance, also known as Brothers and Sisters Like These (https://brothersandsisterslikethese.com/shop), which includes women veterans, and veterans of all stripe, from all wars . They are now going forth like evangelists to continue the work of harvesting veterans’ stories.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

“Rock and War” with Music Legend Billy Terrell on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, April 10 @ 7pm ET

Date: April 10, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

It’s hard to imagine a more eventful life than the one lived by music legend and Vietnam Veteran Billy Terrell.

Desperately poor, Billy dropped out of school to support his family by waiting tables in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He taught himself how to play guitar, began performing, got discovered, and landed in New York City as a songwriter for Kama Sutra Records. His first record was “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” by The Duprees, B-side of the hit “Around the Corner.” Billy was on his way.

Then, he got drafted. In May 1966, he arrived at Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. One of the few bright spots of a brutal year was Billy’s volunteer work helping Catholic nuns build the Mang Lang Orphanage.

His time with the children there remained a buried memory after his return to the World in 1967. Like so many other Vietnam veterans, Billy came back to an ungrateful nation that treated him like a paroled criminal, rather than a soldier who’d sacrificed for his country. Billy turned to alcohol to escape PTSD and the isolation he felt in a country so changed from the one he’d left.

Just how Billy regained his balance, started writing songs again, and found a prominent place in the music and entertainment industry are among the stories captured in his memoir, The Other Side of Rock and War: One Man’s Battle to Save His Life, His Career, His Country, and the Orphans He Left Behind

The book tells of traveling with Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Cream in the summer of 1968. He shares about writing and producing hit records for Shangri-Las, Debby Taylor, the Three Degrees, the Manhattans, Frankie Avalon, Helen Reddy, Bobby Rydell, Larry Carlton and dozens of others.

But Billy’s story is more than an account of music and show business. It’s an inspiring memoir of service, before the war and after, when he returned to Vietnam and re-connected with the nuns and children he’d known at the orphanage decades earlier.

Join us for a wide-ranging conversation with Billy Terrell, a Vietnam veteran with a one-of-a-kind story to share.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

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