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Saturday, December 15th 2007

21:27

Northern Utah State Veterans Nursing Home

This is a VERY LARGE step forward and one that many have been working toward for the past 3~5 years. NOW is the time we each should be contacting our State Senators and House Members asking them to sign on as co-sponsors of this most important, and very over due legislation.

Please see Frank Maughan's message below...! This should NOT be a partisan issue, rather Utah taking a very large step toward thanking Utah's nearly 160,000 veterans for their sacrifices for OUR freedom.

From: FRANK MAUGHAN

As of the minute this leaves my computer, Governor Jon Huntsman will have convened a press conference to announce his recommended budget for 2008.
 
Among the items he recommends to both houses of the Utah Legisdlature will be full funding of construction of the Northern Utah State Veterans Nursing home, to be built immediately west of he Weber County Fair park. By the time federal funding for this approved project comes back to the
state, the Nursing home will have been operational (and filled) for at least a couple of years.
 
This project has been the #1 priority of the Governor's Veterans Affairs Advisory Council for the past four years.
 
Earlier this year, the State Building Board designated this project as their #3 priority for the next fiscal year.  That action cleared away numerous "hurdles" that the Council has previously encountered.
 
South Ogden Representative Brad Dee has prefiled a legislative bill that would allow the funding to be advanced by the state, so construction of the 120 bed Nursing Home could begin construction in mid- to late 2008. There are several signs that the Utah House of Representatives will pass this important legislation overwhelmingly.
 
It remains to be seen what action the Utah State Senate will take. Veterans all over the state are anxiously anticipating that reaction.
 
Just thought you might be interested in this progress report.
 
Frank Maughan
Chair, Legislative Subcommittee
Veterans Affairs Adsvisory Council

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Thursday, December 13th 2007

21:40

AKAKA-WEBB Tomb Of The Unknowns Amendment Passes

AKAKA-WEBB TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS AMENDMENT PASSES CONFERENCE

Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 22:49:46 -0500
From: "Rick Weidman" <
rweidman@vva.org>
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  Kawika Riley (VeteransÂ’ Affairs)
December 11
, 2007
(202) 224-9126
 
AKAKA-WEBB TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS AMENDMENT PASSES CONFERENCE:  Amendment to Require Study of Options for the Preservation of National Treasure
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.:  U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, expressed his gratification that the Akaka-Webb amendment relating to the Tomb of the Unknowns is in the conference report of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. Senator Akaka was a Senate conferee for the Defense Bill, as well as the author of the amendment to require a report on the plans of the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to replace the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
 
"Like the Liberty Bell and the Star-Spangled Banner, the Tomb of the Unknowns is a national treasure that has been weathered by time," said Senator Akaka. The Senator continued, "
I commend my colleagues on the Conference Committee for supporting this amendment, and urge an affirmative vote to send the National Defense Authorization Act to the President."
 
The Tomb of the Unknowns, at Arlington National Cemetery, is a monument to honor those who do not return from battle. It is a tangible tribute to their service, as well as a place for their families and others to contemplate their absence. The tomb is currently showing signs of wear and tear, including visible cracks. The amendment will require the Secretaries to report to Congress on efforts to repair the tomb, before any further action is taken.
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Thursday, December 13th 2007

21:26

Utah VVA Chapter 961

 

On the 22nd we are having our chapter meeting. We are having pork roast dinner. Bring your family and any new members. Please RSVP with Dan as he is trying to get us some entertainment, nothing for sure.

Thanks and hope to see all our members there!

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Wednesday, December 12th 2007

19:02

AVVA New Life Member from Utah

     Robert J. Prinselaar is the latest addition as a life member in the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America. Congratulations Robert!

You can read Robert's poetry at:

    http://www.utahvva.org/images/bob_prinselaar/prinselaar_poetry.htm

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Wednesday, December 12th 2007

18:54

VVA Southern Utah Chapter #961

Southern Utah Chapter #961 of the Vietnam Veterans of America [VVA] has an ongoing program in which it receives donated wheelchairs, as well as hospital beds, refurbishes them, and then presents them to veterans in need.

Recently Chapter #961 donated an electric wheelchair to Albert Ricci, an 83 year old former Marine. This is not the first, and certainly won't be the last, wheelchair the chapter will donate to a deserving veteran!

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Wednesday, December 12th 2007

18:38

Pilots Missing From Vietnam War Are Identified: from Utah & Arizona

Pilots missing From The Vietnam War Are Identified

Welcome Home Capt Cornelius and Major Woods.  Slow hand salute.

Utah now has only 15 POW/MIA, and that's still too many!

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1364-07
November 30, 2007

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified.

They are Maj. Robert F. Woods, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Capt. Johnnie C. Cornelius, of Maricopa County, Ariz., both U.S. Air Force. Cornelius was buried with full military honors on Nov. 10 in Moore, Texas, and Woods' burial is being set by his family.

On June 26, 1968, Woods and Cornelius were flying a visual reconnaissance mission over Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, when their O-2A Skymaster aircraft crashed in a remote mountainous area. The
crew of another aircraft in the flight saw no parachutes and reported hearing no emergency beeper signals. Immediate search efforts were unsuccessful.

Between 1988 and 1993, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident and surveyed the crash site. The team interviewed several Vietnamese citizens, two of whom turned over human remains and the pilots' identification tags.

Between 1994 and 1997, joint teams re-surveyed the site two times to find a landing location to support a helicopter and recovery team. During their survey, one team found additional wreckage
and life-support material.

Between 2000 and 2004, joint teams excavated the site four times. They recovered additional human remains, personal effects and life support materials.

In 2006, a joint team interviewed two former North Vietnamese soldiers who recalled the crash. The soldiers said that Woods and Cornelius were buried near the crash site. In 2007, another joint team excavated the burial site identified by the Vietnamese soldiers. The team recovered additional human remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703 699-1169.

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Thursday, June 28th 2007

19:32

DoD Identifies Army Casualty from Utah

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 811-07
June 28, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualty


The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 
Sgt. 1st Class Nathan L. Winder, 32, of Blanding, Utah, died June 26 in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Lewis, Wash.
 
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at (910)-432-6005.
 

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Sunday, April 8th 2007

14:19

Identity Theft Protection for Deployed Troops

Identity Theft Protection for Deployed Troops

Recently Paul Harvey opened with the story of a deployed Marine whose identity was stolen. Mr. Harvey then proceeded to talk about a company, LifeLock, that specializes in identity theft protection.

The service is FREE to our men and women deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan for the length of the person's deployment. When you sign up, use the keyword 'serving'.

The website is www.lifelock.com. The phone number is 1.877.LIFELOCK.

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Sunday, April 8th 2007

14:11

POW/MIA Update: April 4, 2007

POW/MIA Update:  April 4, 2007

PRESIDENT MEETS WITH US-RUSSIA JOINT COMMISSION CO-CHAIRMEN:  On Monday, March 26 th, President George W. Bush met with US Chairman General Robert Foglesong, USAF (Ret), and Russian Federation Chairman General Vladimir Shamanov.  The Co-Chairmen were pleased with President Bush's stated commitment to and interest in the work of the Joint Commission, a fact conveyed to the League and other POW/MIA and veterans organizations at a forum, hosted by the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD), a directorate in Defense Department's POW/MIA office, led by Ambassador Charles Ray, also a US Commissioner.  They also met with US Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and US Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), both Commissioners, and all anticipate that Russian President Putin will soon formalize the Russian side of the Joint Commission and restore its mission and priority. 

Comment:   Some human rights advocates publicly criticized President Bush for meeting with the Russian General, accused by some as being the "Butcher of Chechnya."  Too often, those advocating a strong US human rights agenda do so to the exclusion of all else and fail to recognize the humanitarian nature of accounting for those who serve our country.  Additionally, they usually take the view that dealing with those who can bring answers is somehow immoral, a view they did not take during the Vietnam War.       

U .S. PERSONNEL MISSING FROM THE VIETNAM WAR:   There are still 1,787 US personnel listed as missing and unaccounted for by the Department of Defense.  The identifications of four Americans previously missing/unaccounted for from the Vietnam War were recently announced, bringing to 795 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  Over 90% of the 1,787 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnamese wartime control.  

U.S. NAVY SHIP WON'T GET APPROVAL IN TIME FOR UNDERWATER OPERATIONS:   After more than a decade of consistent League efforts, reinforced by former Commanders of the US Pacific Command, the Vietnamese leadership approved using US Navy vessels just before the President's visit last November.  The detailed process required for approval of recent USN port calls in Vietnam is still ongoing, and apparently will not be completed in time for the underwater survey/investigation scheduled for mid-April.  This US Navy asset is not required for the upcoming operations or even most shallow-water recoveries, but commitment from both governments to support the process was a significant policy change by Vietnam .  The League was pleased that ADM Gary Roughead, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, raised the issue during his visit to Vietnam earlier this year as part of the evolving military-to-military bilateral relationship, as did Ambassador Charles Ray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for POW/MIA Affairs.

FAMILY MEMBER DELEGATION CONCLUDES SOUTHEAST ASIA TRIP:    A League-organized family member trip to Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia took place March 16-31 st.  The delegation, led by League Chairman of the Board Jo Anne Shirley (sister of Maj Bobby M. Jones, MD, USAF, MIA in SVN 11-28-72), included Board Secretary Sue Scott (sister of Capt Douglas D. Ferguson, USAF, MIA in Laos 12/30/69), VA State Coordinator Pam Cain (daughter of Col Oscar Mauterer, USAF, MIA in Laos 2-15-66) and TX Co-Coordinator Karoni Forrester Gonzales (daughter of Maj Ronald W. Forrester, USMC, MIA in NVN 12/27/72).  In all three Indochina countries, the group met with the US Ambassador and relevant host-government officials, supported by JPAC Detachments 1, 2 and 3, and in Vietnam and Laos , supported also by the Defense Intelligence Agency's Stony Beach specialists.  (The permanent Stony Beach official in Phnom Penh just left for reassignment and is being replaced by another specialist.)  The group returned via Hawaii to meet with JPAC/CIL officials and will write up their report for distribution to League members and on the Internet.  

UPDATE ON OPERATIONS:    The 98 th period of Joint Field Activities (JFA) in Laos , the second 30-day JFA this year, began March 6 th and will conclude April 8 th.  Two members from the League-organized delegation visited incident sites in NE Laos on March 23 rd.  Semi-annual POW/MIA consultations were conducted in between the two JFAs; the Lao responded flexibly to US requests, urging expanded efforts to build on successes and a review of the past several years' cooperation.  On March 21 st, two family members visited one area of the 88 th JFA in Vietnam that began March 8 th and will conclude about April 21 st.  Such operations (JFAs) in Vietnam are on a much larger scale and for a longer period of time (45 days) than the other two Indochina countries. The underwater investigation team, comprised of SRV, JPAC and MDSU#1 members, is scheduled to begin work April 6 th, concluding in early May, though without the USN ship participating.  There is widespread disappointment - DPMO, JPAC and the League - in responses to the US Government-funded archival research program, especially with Vietnam .  This program has been ongoing for several years, but archival records known to exist have not yet been provided, thus the continued calls, including by President Bush last November, for unilateral actions by Hanoi .

WIN A HARLEY DAVIDSON SPORTSTER:   The League will receive all proceeds from a nationwide raffle of a beautiful customized 1989 Harley Sportster that is now ongoing.  Only 8,000 raffle tickets have been printed and numbered, $10.00 each, obtainable by contacting the League office.  With a 1/8,000 chance of winning this Harley Davidson Sportster, the drawing will be held on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 21, 2007, in Washington, DC.  Tickets can also be obtained through the League's website,
www.POWMIALeague.org, by clicking on Pay Pal, though handling adds an additional $2.00 per raffle ticket.  Now is your chance to win a Harley AND support the League, a nonprofit 501 3 tax-exempt organization.

38TH ANNUAL MEETING DATE & LOCATION SET:  Many have asked about the date and location of the League's 38 th Annual Meeting, now set for June 22-24 th at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel, Arlington , VA.   There will be two very full days of League and US Government presentations, both policy and operational, on Friday, June 22 nd and Saturday, June 23 rd, followed by a Candlelight Service and League business session wrap-up on Sunday morning, June 24 th.

Registration & Hotel Reservations:   The two forms have been distributed to all League members and are also available to download on the League's web site,
www.POWMIALeague.org.

Special Events:   The 38th Annual Dinner will be on Friday, June 22 nd, an event that is always inspirational; cost is $40 each.  A combined Casino and Bingo Night will take place on Saturday, June 23 rd.   On Thursday before the meeting convenes, we urge visits to Capitol Hill in the morning, before returning to register and attend the concert being planned at the new USAF Memorial.

Transportation:  As authorized by Congress, the Defense Department will likely again implement transportation for two family members, representing each missing and unaccounted for US serviceman to attend the annual meeting and hear official presentations.

Silent Auction: There will again be a Silent Auction, though smaller in scope.  Sorely as are needed the funds generated by this highly successful event spread over three days, it is very labor-intensive and demanding.  Hopefully, more League members will volunteer to help on this project.  There was serious consideration given to not holding this event in 2007; however, the board again decided that due to the event's popularity and the need for funds, it should be included in the planning.

Program Ad Rates:   Each year, the League publishes a beautiful program that includes individual ads honoring missing US personnel, organizational ads sending best wishes to the families gathered for the events, ads promoting POW/MIA-related and other products, etc.  The deadline for receipt of ads is June 1, 23007.  Please send your ads by email to  powmiafam@aol.com  or send them camera-ready to the League office.

 

Ann Mills Griffiths
Executive Director
National League of POW/MIA Families
1005 North Glebe Road, Suite 170
Arlington , VA 22201
(PH) 703-465-7432 (FX) 703-465-7433
www.pow-miafamilies.org

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Saturday, March 31st 2007

18:32

POW/MIA Update: March 27, 2007

    

POW/MIA Update:  March 27, 2007

PRESIDENT MEETS WITH US-RUSSIA JOINT COMMISSION CO-CHAIRMENOn Monday, March 26th, President George W. Bush met with US Chairman General Robert Foglesong, USAF (Ret), and Russian Federation Chairman General Vladimir Shamanov. The Co-Chairmen were pleased with President Bush's stated commitment to and interest in the work of the Joint Commission, a fact conveyed to the League and other POW/MIA and veterans organizations at a forum, hosted by the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD), a directorate in Defense Department's POW/MIA office, led by Ambassador Charles Ray, also a US Commissioner. They also met with US Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and US Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), both Commissioners, and all anticipate that Russian President Putin will soon formalize the Russian side of the Joint Commission and restore its mission and priority. There is now reason to hope.

U.S. NAVY SHIP WON'T GET APPROVAL IN TIME FOR UNDERWATER OPERATIONS: After more than a decade of consistent League efforts, reinforced by former Commanders of the US Pacific Command, the Vietnamese leadership approved using US Navy vessels just before the President's visit last November. The detailed process required for approval of recent USN port calls in Vietnam is still ongoing, and apparently will not be completed in time for the underwater survey/investigation scheduled for mid-April. This US Navy asset is not required for the upcoming operations or even most shallow-water recoveries, but commitment from both governments to support the process was a significant policy change by Vietnam. The League was pleased that ADM Gary Roughead, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, raised the issue during his visit to Vietnam earlier this year as part of the evolving military-to-military bilateral relationship, as did Ambassador Charles Ray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for POW/MIA Affairs.

FAMILY MEMBER DELEGATION CONCLUDES SOUTHEAST ASIA TRIP:  A League-organized family member trip to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia departed the US on March 16h. The delegation was led by League Chairman of the Board Jo Anne Shirley, sister of Major Bobby M. Jones, MD, USAF, MIA in SVN since 11-28-72. Participating were Sue Scott, Board Secretary and sister of Captain Douglas D. Ferguson, USAF, MIA in Laos since 12/30/69; Pam Cain, VA State Coordinator and daughter of Colonel Oscar Mauterer, USAF, MIA in Laos since 2-15-66; and Karoni Forrester Gonzales, TX Assistant State Coordinator and daughter of Major Ronald W. Forrester, USMC, MIA 12/27/72 in NVN. 

In Vietnam, the four-member group called on US Ambassador Michael Marine and Vietnam's Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP), as well as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China. The next day two visited a crash site excavation near Hue, while the other two remained in Hanoi and called on the Russian Ambassador. In Laos, the group called on the US Ambassador (who also hosted a dinner), the Lao Vice Foreign Minister and met with the Director General of the Americas Department and others directly involved in and responsible for POW/MIA cooperation with the US. Exchanging roles, two members visited a crash site in Xieng Khoang Province, northeastern Laos, while their two colleagues remained in Vientiane and called on the Cambodian Ambassador to Laos. The last stop in Indochina was Cambodia, where the group visited a project of the Cambodian-American Community for Development, called on the US Ambassador and met with the Cambodian POW/MIA Committee in Phnom Penh.

The group is now back in Bangkok, Thailand, before going on to Hawaii where they will meet all day on March 29th with personnel from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) to debrief these specialists on perceptions gained from their visit to Southeast Asia and receive a briefing from the Navy's Mobile Diving Salvage Unit #1 on capabilities being utilized in the upcoming underwater investigation and survey off the coast of Vietnam. They will also get a briefing on the status of the JPAC/CIL move to temporary quarters before construction of their long overdue new facility that will include a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory. The four-member team will write up their report for distribution to League members and on the Internet.

U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING FROM THE VIETNAM WAR:  There are still 1,787 US personnel listed as missing and unaccounted for by the Department of Defense. The identifications of four Americans previously missing or unaccounted for from the Vietnam War were recently announced, bringing to 795 the number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Over 90% of the 1,787 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnamese wartime control.

PRESIDENT RENEWS COMMITMENT: On March 6th, President Bush addressed The American Legion's Washington Conference. In remarks focused almost totally on the global war on terror and care for returning American veterans, the President also commended the Legion for it's strong support of measures protecting the US flag and stated: "My administration also shares your determination to keep faith with our prisoners of war and those missing in action," a statement that brought immediate applause from our supportive Legionnaires. Early in the conference, League Executive Director Ann Mills Griffiths joined Ambassador Charles Ray and Deputy Commander of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) Johnie Webb in addressing a combined session of The Legion's National Security and Foreign Relations Commissions. Questions were also raised to and answered by this panel.

UPDATE ON OPERATIONS: The 98th period of joint field operations in Laos, the second such period this year, began on March 6th and will continue until April 8th.   As noted, an MIA sister and MIA daughter who are part of the League-organized family member delegation visited excavation sites in the northern provinces of Xiengkhoang on March 23rd. The 88th joint operations in Vietnam, visited by two family members on March 21st, also began March 8th and will conclude about April 21st. Such operations in Vietnam are on a much larger scale and for a longer period than the other two Indochina countries. The underwater investigation team, comprised of JPAC and MDSU#1 members, is scheduled to begin work around April 7th, concluding toward the end of the month or early May.

A DPMO-led team held mid-February talks in Beijing focused on pursuing an archival research program and restoring field operations there. There was little to report on specific results; however, the PRC agreed to consider all issues raised by the US. It is likely talks at a higher level be needed to get more positive reactions. Field operations related to WWII were recently completed in Thailand and Papua New Guinea and are continuing in Palau. Planning continues for scheduled and proposed missions on WWII loss incidents, including Pagan Island in the South Pacific and Iwo Jima. A JPAC team is now conducting site investigations and surveys in South Korea March 14th-April 15th, and two teams recently concluded research on WWII incidents in France and Italy, Germany and Belgium.

The above clearly demonstrates the breadth and scope of US accounting efforts around the world. It would be most helpful and facilitate the accounting if all allocated personnel billets at JPAC were filled to help deal with the backlog of identifications to be made and sites to be investigated, surveyed and excavated. It is difficult to pursue expansion with foreign governments if the US has insufficient personnel to handle the diverse requirements.

38TH ANNUAL MEETING DATE & LOCATION SET:  Many have asked about the date and location of the League's 38th Annual Meeting, now set for June 22-24th at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel, Arlington , VA.   There will be two very full days of League and US Government presentations, both policy and operational, on Friday, June 22nd and Saturday, June 23rd , followed by a Candlelight Service and League business session wrap-up on Sunday morning, June 24th.

Registration & Hotel Reservations: The two forms will soon be distributed with the League Newsletter and also be available to download on the League's web site.

Special Events: The 38th Annual Dinner will be on Friday, June 22nd, and a combined Casino and Bingo Night will take place on Saturday, June 23rd.  On Thursday before the 38th Annual Meeting convenes, we urge all possible to participate in visits to Capitol Hill.

Transportation: As authorized by Congress, the Defense Department will likely again implement transportation for two family members, representing each missing and unaccounted for US serviceman to attend the annual meeting and hear official presentations.

Silent Auction: There will again be a Silent Auction, though smaller in scope.  Sorely as are needed the funds generated by this highly successful event spread over three days, it is very labor-intensive and demanding. Hopefully, more League members will volunteer to help on this project. There was serious consideration given to not holding this event in 2007; however, the board again decided that due to the event's popularity and the need for funds, it should be included in the planning.

Elections: There will be elections for the 2007-2009 Board of Directors. Applications will be distributed shortly and available to download from the League website, www.pow-miafamilie s.org

Ann Mills Griffiths
Executive Director
National League of POW/MIA Families
1005 North Glebe Road, Suite 170
Arlington , VA 22201
(PH) 703-465-7432 (FX) 703-465-7433
www.pow-miafamilies.org

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