Thursday's Opening Program Schedule
Check out the Overall Final schedule
We will be having Tours of the NU Athletic department and the Speedway Motors Museum, World's Largest Collection of Exotic Racing Engines & Vintage Speed Equipment. You can also take part in Golfing and Bowling and we will once again be hosting a Ladies Luncheon!
After the Banquet on Saturday be sure to Stick around and Hear the classics from Smoke Ring!
Speakers and BiosWILLIAM ALBRACHT
Abandoned In Hell
Bill “Hawk” Albracht was born and raised in Rock Island, IL. After graduating from Alleman Catholic High School in 1966, he joined the US Army. Bill attended Infantry Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1967 at the age of nineteen. He spent his commissioned career in the US Army Special Forces, commonly referred to as the “Green Berets.” At age twenty-one, he was the youngest captain to command combat troops in
Vietnam. As the recipient of three Silver Stars for gallantry in action, three Purple Hearts, five Bronze Stars, as well as several other awards for combat valor, Bill is one of the most highly decorated veterans of the Vietnam War.
Returning to civilian life, he worked his way through Augustana College in Rock Island. After graduation, he became a Special Agent of the US Secret Service. Over the next twenty-five years he protected six Presidents and their families, as well as visiting foreign heads of state. He also worked to safeguard America's monetary system, and conducted criminal investigations for the Department of Treasury. Bill retired in 2001 as the Assistant Special-Agent-In-Charge of the Secret’ Service’s Washington D.C. Office. He then went on to manage Ford Motor Company’s Executive Security Operations and in 2005, he moved back to the Quad Cities and opened a security consulting firm.
Bill's book, Abandoned In Hell, tells the story of his most challenging time in Vietnam: In the autumn of 1969, he took command of Firebase Kate and its 150 soldiers. Within hours, they were under attack by a well-armed and determined enemy force of some 6,000. Under a rain of fire and steel and menaced by almost constant ground attack, Bill and his men held out for five days. Cut off from supplies and reinforcements, with all means of resistance exhausted, Bill led his men through enemy lines under the cover of darkness in a desperate attempt to escape and evade the enemy.
Bill lives in Moline, IL and is married to the lovely and talented Mary Moran of Coal Valley. Together they have five children and eight grandchildren.
Cherrie Beam-Callaway, Women’s Lunch speaker
The Courage to Continue: Changing Homesteads in Nebraska
Sponsored by Humanities Nebraska
Cherrie Beam-Callaway doesn’t lack for stories as she has spent nearly 25 years gathering and recording historic tales from Nebraska families. Cherrie boasts of being a “true Nebraskan,” as she has lived in both ends of the state and is a fourth generation farm girl. The pioneer stories are factual and reflect the diversity of the people and land from western to eastern Nebraska. Cherrie is an educational storyteller who speaks with an Irish brogue, dresses in period attire and delivers spell binding one-act plays that make audiences laugh and cry. Speaking for more than 35 years to all ages, her venues include elementary, especially 4th grade, through high school, libraries, museums, adult and youth church groups, senior centers, banquets and festivals. Cherrie traveled Nebraska as a storyteller on the wagon train commemorating the 150th birthday of the Oregon Trail. She is co-founder of John C. Fremont Days, one of Nebraska’s largest annual historical festivals, and founder of “A Day in the Past,” an annual day for 4th graders. She is recipient of a number of community and statewide awards for historical preservation.
Bill Fitts Bio
Bill Fitts, a native New Mexican, served as a medical corpsman in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the 91st Evac, Tuy Hoa for all but the last few days of 1968. Happily married to Sharon for soon-to-be forty-two years, they have a son, Stephen, an EMT. Bill has taught literature and composition classes at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the past thirty years and also currently works with veterans entering college classes. He enjoys playing guitar and singing vet songs, especially from the Vietnam era, and working with incarcerated veterans at the Nebraska State Penitentiary with Roy Schoen and Jamie Obrecht.
Legacy Writing about Vietnam:
War history is often told by reporters, historians, and those who micromanaged from the air. Before we pass into history, our children and grandchildren need to know the war from those deployed and those affected when they returned. You can email your stories to Bill Fitts at email@example.com for editing and revision suggestions before the August Lincoln Reunion to better use our time at the workshop. Publication submission is optional, but we owe our families a legacy of what has helped shape us.
Vets’ Writing Workshop
Friday’s Breakout Session (1:30 pm) includes looking at some models to choose as a prompt to write/begin writing a piece on the war or its aftermath. You may choose your audience: a family member, friend, historian, relative of someone with whom you served, a young person contemplating joining a branch of the service, or other. We are valuable historical resources for our communities, and our children and grandchildren may one day want to know what serving was like. You will also receive writing handouts with good examples of powerful ways in which to revise your writing. You need not have even graduated from high school to begin to sound like a Tim O’Brien or Oliver Stone.
Saturday’s Session (3:45 pm) will focus on applying the revision handouts so that we sound like a Churchill, Kennedy, King, MacArthur, or Stone, or O’Brien. We can then share portions of our writing (optional; I know how scary this can be the first time). We will follow a rule from comp class: responses must be encouraging. I may ask for a copy of your work to edit for you free of charge and send back to you to suggest publication. You can simply email the copy to me, and I will shoot it back to you. My handle is firstname.lastname@example.org. All handouts are free of charge.
NPTV Screening of Vietnam War Series
Mary Kay Hansen
Social Security and Disability, Friday only
She is an attorney whose practice primarily focuses on family law mediation and Social Security Disability. Together with her crew (which includes an Iraq war veteran she served as a medic), she represents clients before the Social Security Administration, who due to accident, illness or mental health challenges, are unable to maintain employment. They assist clients through case development and providing guidance and advice to our clients as to what they can do to make to assist us in helping to develop the best case possible under the circumstance. I have been practicing in this area since graduating from law school over 30 years ago. My presentation will include an overview of the social security disability process, the difference between Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) and what individuals' can do to help make their disability case stronger. More information and helpful forms and information can be obtained at:
Mary Kay Hansen Law & Mediation, PC LLO
1045 Lincoln Mall, Suite 200, Lincoln, NE 68508
"Searching for Stanley"
Her father Harold Dwyer will be here also if his health holds up.
World War II did not end in 1945 – at least not for the Dwyer family of Hastings, Nebraska. For decades, Kay Hughes was unaware of her family’s unresolved mystery. After her grandparents, Harold W. and Ellen Dwyer, received a telegram stating that their son— 2nd Lt. Stanley Dwyer—had become MIA over Austria on May 10, 1944, they began a relentless search. Left with only unanswered, nagging questions, they endured a lifelong private grief. Years later, one question would rekindle the search which, in turn, led Kay and her father, Harold E. Dwyer, Stanley’s brother, on an intriguing journey across two continents and four generations. In their quest to understand Stanley’s fate, Kay and Harold developed friendships, visited with eyewitnesses, stood on hallowed ground, and observed the dedicated work of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. In her poignant narrative, Kay details how clues salvaged in the charred rubble of a fire revealed the essence of Stanley—an almost forgotten World War II hero. Searching for Stanley is a timeless, real-life tale that illustrates one family’s dedication to finding their beloved Stanley who, like thousands of other American patriots, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Maynard Kaderlik, VVA National Agent Orange Committee Chair, “Faces of Agent Orange”
I was raised on a farm by Montgomery, Minnesota. After graduating in 1966 I enlisted in the US Navy for 4 years. All said and done I spent a total of 3 years overseas. 2 years plane guarding for down pilots off the coast of north and south Vietnam and then a 1 year, tour up the rivers of the delta with the 9th Infantry Division Army. After my service to our country I went to trade school (2years) for refrigeration. I spent 45 years in that trade and retired. In 1989 I joined Vietnam Veterans of America. From 1998 to 2002 and again 2006 to 2012 was VVA Minnesota State Council President for a total of 10 years. During that time, I attended VVA Board of Directors Meetings at the national office. Mokie Porter (Director of Communications) at the national office asked if there were any problems in my family. Yes, there were! My son has a severe learning disability, dislocated hip at birth, my granddaughter has autism, and a rash in her private area. I also have had cancer which is VA service connected disease. So when I attended the first VVA “Faces of Agent Orange” meeting at our national convention in Louisville, Kentucky 8 years ago Mokie handed me the microphone to tell the group what has happened to my family because of my exposure to agent orange. From that point forward I have been very involved with doing “Faces of Agent Orange” townhall meetings thoughout the Midwest. Myself and 3 other Minnesota VVA committee members travel to educate the veterans, their families, and the public on what has happened to our children and grandchildren is not a coincidence but due to agent orange. We have completed 25 such meetings since 2012. After our 2015 national convention the president asked me to chair the national agent orange committee and I did accept because I care for our veterans and their children and grandchildren. We are working on 2 bills to help our kids. S901 the senate bill and HR1769 the house companion bill. We will not stop until our children are taken care of by the VA.
3 hrs. Friday 3:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am
CINDY M. VAN BIBBER
OMAHA NATIONAL CEMETERY
Cindy M. Van Bibber was named Director of Omaha National Cemetery, effective Sept. 6, 2015. She is responsible for all administrative, burial and maintenance operations at the cemetery.
Prior to her assignment, she served as Assistant Director of Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California from February 2014, Director of Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin, California from May 2010, Director of Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, Texas and Fort Bayard National Cemetery in Grand County, New Mexico from January 2008, and as Assistant Director at both facilities from September 2007.
Ms. Van Bibber completed the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) comprehensive, year-long Cemetery Director Intern Program in September 2007.
Prior to joining NCA, she held positions with the Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Ameilia, Virginia from 1997 to 2006 as a Cemetery Program Support Technician and as the Superintendent. During this time she established a Veterans and auxiliary volunteer program to assist with operations during a statewide budget crisis.
Ms. Van Bibber has more than 10 years of service with the U.S. Army. Her service included assignments in Korea, Kansas and with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium.