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Vietnam veterans group elects officers In 2 months, chapter more than doubled


WESTMINSTER -- After growing from an organizational group of 10 people to 25 in about two months, Carroll's fledgling chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America will install its officers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the VFW hall.

Rick Will, who with Gary Jestes helped organize the chapter, is not surprised that the group was able to become official so quickly.

There has been interest in starting a group -- which addresses social issues facing Vietnam veterans and their families -- since about 1990.

"I hope by [Wednesday] to have about 40 to 42," said Will, of Melrose, who will be the group's first president. "There are some people I have contacted but haven't linked up with yet."

Jestes, a Manchester man who has been cataloging names of countians who served in the war, estimates that there are more than 1,000 Carroll residents who served during that time. Members simply need to have served during the Vietnam era and show Will a copy of their discharge papers to join.

"This is for Vietnam-era vets, not necessarily just those who served in-country," Will said.

In addition to Will, the group's first slate of officers includes: William Schwartz, first vice president; Joe Plough, second vice president; Mike Lerp, secretary; Carl Myers, treasurer; and Jestes, chaplain/historian.

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