John's Open Letters Vol. 1 #16
December 21, 2001
Dear Sirs and Ladies,
I have received word that our good friend and highly respected Director, Mr. John Settle, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, passed away Dec. 15, 2001. He was instrumental in forming Chapter 1, Fort Wayne, Indiana and was its first President.
He was a great supporter of the K.W.V.A. and was very helpful to anybody who would ask. When I was on our Memorial Committee I called John for advise and he generously gave it. Upon learning that he signed up over two hundred new Members in his Chapter, I figured I would set that as my goal, being Membership Chairman for my Chapter. With his encouragement and help from my wife and others I made my goal. He even called me to see how we were doing with our Memorial Project and was concerned about my health when I had several operations.
John will be sadly missed by his family and friends, including many in the K.W.V.A. who knew him. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family.
Having received some recent e-mails that Mr. Pratt sent to expelled Past President Nick Pappas I noticed two looked alike and upon reading them there was much left out of the second e-mail. There was a lot of Mr. Pratt's expressive and opinionated language left out and I felt it was more conciliatory than the first e-mail. These were titled "One Man's Opinion".
My concern was his last paragraph of the Dec. 12 e-mail referring to Mr. Coon's DD214 which was reconstructed by Mr. Coon when he went to the St. Louis Military Record Center. It shows ten campaign stars on his Korea Service Ribbon. I am aware he was in Korea almost the full time of the war but of that period he was a P.O.W. thirty-three months. I have a great deal of feeling for anybody who was a P.O.W. What Mr. Pratt wrote was that he feels:
"A couple of puny stars on a ribbon is pathetic compensation for what our POWs went through at the hands of the communist enemy."
I agree there is nothing that can compensate for their incarceration. What I do not like is his reference to the Campaign Stars as "puny". For the thousands of men who earned those Campaign Stars, when on the line and under fire, I would not think they should be called puny. Then there are the many wounded and killed who also earned these battle stars. I find this a poor choice of words by Mr. Pratt by downgrading deserved awards.
I think Mr. Pratt should cut back on his opinions and get more to the facts. His recent e-mails to Mr. Buckley and Mr. Ferris have been toned down plus his latest determination about terms of office is more in keeping with his position.
I question how I would be disrupting the normal functions of the K.W.V.A. My letters started Aug. 29, 2001, and to the best of my knowledge, there has not been a meeting since. By sending my Open letters I would hope the K.W.V.A. Members would be better informed. If this is disrupting anything I can't see it. Also I don't see how being accused of "hearsay" and "misinformation" can be construed as "Just Cause". I felt, and still do, that my letters have done a service to the K.W.V.A., especially for those who want to be informed. Several very knowledgeable and interested Members have gotten involved since I started my letters and this can only be for the betterment of the K.W.V.A.
Getting at the truth is sometimes not easy, but should Members be expelled for wanting to know the true facts and passing them on to our Members? The use of Mr. Pratt's words to make me look bad appears to try to make a case against me. I find this a sorry way to run a Veterans Organization. Watch what you say or I'll have you expelled. We should be treated with respect for we have all earned the right to be a Member.
Mr. Pratt wrote: "Membership in the KWVA is not automatic nor is it a legal entitlement, but, rather, it is subject to acceptance at the option of the organization based on the suitability of an applicant for membership."
I looked at the Criteria on our Membership Application and it states the Member is required to have had "Honorable Service" plus his "Time of Service". Nowhere does it say it is a "privilege" to be a Member, but I feel it should be, and I would like to see it in the Application.
With my letters seeking the truth there has been a re-awakening of many Members and it especially shook up some who feared the ramifications of what I was doing. If all was right then they had nothing to fear.
I received a call from an elected Officer who told me I could be wrong on the attendance figures. This could be right and to that I apologize. Later when the voting on several important matters came up the numbers changed because several had left and others were in the bar and did not vote. We both could be right. Then he told me that he felt our organization in several instances was not going by the rules (By-Laws). He said my letters have opened up his eyes and he is not afraid to talk about matters of importance anymore. I was happy to hear of his honesty about this and am pleased he has seen fit to do the right thing. Again I feel my letters have had positive results.
What constitutes "Just Cause" in the K.W.V.A.? What crime have I committed and where is the proof? Is it a criminal act to write letters about what I and other Members wish to say? Several Members and Officers did not want my letters and that being their wish, they were removed from my mailing lists. Running a Veterans Organization should not be like running a business. We are not here to see how much money we can accumulate. We need a reserve to cover our expenses plus a backup of savings but we should respect all reasonable requests that are in the best interests of the K.W.V.A. What is the purpose to brag about how much we have as assets?
All appointments should be based on the person's ability to perform in the best interests of the K.W.V.A. and the selection should be done by an "unbiased committee" for approval by the Executive Board. Anything less is not healthy for the future of the K.W.V.A.
Recently I have received correspondence that said some of the official actions were not done according to the By-Laws. There is no rule or provision that allows this. Would this be some of the "shortcomings" and "questionable actions" since the St. Louis Meeting, that I have been hearing about. It is not too late for a wake-up call. From the e-mails and calls I have been receiving the Meeting in January in Nevada should be very interesting.
Again I would like to remind you that Director Dick Adams will represent me in Las Vegas should the issue of Hearing for Expulsion come up. To this day, the 17th, I have not heard of a change about this from Mr. Coon.
I would like to thank all of our Members who have sent me e-mails and other documents since I started my Open letters. In every case I have tried to reply to your many questions to the best of my knowledge and I am sincerely grateful for the trust you have bestowed in me. I did not want to get involved in issues that others were in so I tried to let those who had them to go their own way. My wish and hope was to find out the truth and to be the messenger to pass it on to as many K.W.V.A. Members as I could. Some of my letters fell on deaf ears but overwhelmingly they were accepted.
With good leadership and open minded officers, the K.W.V.A. will be what it should be. Only the Members can make it so.
Your personal opinion would be greatly appreciated.
Freedom is not free, and it never was.
Respectfully, John Kronenberger