Hanoi, Vietnam & Washington, D.C. (Jan. 11, 2010)
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) announced today that it will receive a $1 million grant from the U.S. government to assist with demining activities in Vietnam, announced Jan C. Scruggs, the organization’s founder and president.
Last month, the U.S. Congress approved and President Obama signed into law a defense funding bill that included a provision directing the U.S. Secretary of Defense to award a $1 million grant to VVMF for demining activities. The grant will be used for VVMF’s Project RENEW—a nine-year-old humanitarian program charged with Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of War.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund applauds the U.S. government for its continuing efforts to assist Vietnam with the deadly legacy of the Vietnam War—the more than 350,000 tons of explosive remnants of war (ERW)—that continue to contaminate the country and harm its people,” said Scruggs today during a VVMF press briefing in Hanoi. “This grant will be used for Project RENEW and its many successful programs in Vietnam.”
Scruggs’ announcement kicked off a week-long educational and humanitarian delegation to the Southeast Asian country. The VVMF delegation is led by Gen. Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret.), the former U.S. drug czar under President Bill Clinton and a terrorism and security analyst with NBC News.
McCaffrey and Scruggs are joined by Peter M. Holt, CEO of the Holt Companies, whose holdings include Holt CAT—the largest U.S. Caterpillar dealer. He also is the owner of the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and several other San Antonio, Texas professional sports teams. The delegation is comprised of American war veterans and their families in addition to others whose loved ones served with the U.S. military in Vietnam.
In addition to its two-day Hanoi stop, the delegation will visit Hue, Quang Tri and Da Nang before departing Jan. 17 from Ho Chi Minh City. The full-day visit to Quang Tri Province on Jan. 14 will allow delegates to gain a better understanding of the country’s ongoing ERW problem and VVMF’s efforts to help through Project RENEW.
Project RENEW is a mine-clearance and public-safety program collaboratively developed by VVMF and the Quang Tri Province People’s Committee. It focuses on safely removing and destroying ordnance, as well as mine-risk education; provision of medical assistance and artificial limbs; vocational training and income generation for disabled families; and community outreach.