NOCVA Brochure (July 2019)
NOCVA Handout and Brochure (August 2014)
Chelu “We Remember You” Special Tribute
The “Chelu, We Remember You” Special Tribute was first recited at the first Chamorro Veterans Commemoration Ceremony, held in Washington, DC, on 24 March 2012. The special tribute was adapted from “Litany of Remembrance,” written by Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn (The Gates of Prayer, 1975), who adapted a poem by Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer, written in the 1960s.
In preparation for the historic Chamorro Veterans Commemoration Ceremony, NOCVA’s founding members adapted the “We Remember Them” litany to include phrases that would uniquely reflect the island heritage of the fallen Chamorro soldiers; a Chamorro translation was later added. Since then, the “Chelu Special Tribute” has been recited at funeral services of Chamorro veterans as a way to honor not only their military service, but also their island identity.
NOCVA is committed to honoring Chamorro veterans by providing support for conducting “Chelu, We Remember You” Special Tributes as requested.
- CHELU Special Tribute – Group (English & Chamorro) Final
- CHELU Special Tribute – Individual(English&Chamorro) Final
NOCVA Advocacy Guide & Toolkit
NOCVA’s First Conference for Chamorro Veterans, Las Vegas, NV, Mar 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada, 20-21 March 2013
The first NOCVA conference marks a historic milestone in our quest to establish ourselves as an effective national advocacy organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the Chamorro people. Our mission to organize and build political clout brought together regional coordinators, staff, and supporters — 33 of them Chamorro veterans — for a common purpose: To unite, to share ideas, and to forge our future as a national organization in America.
Those who attended the conference share a belief that we can make a difference; by working together, using the political process, we can make progress on issues we care about in this country. We also share a passion and willingness to help others. This is the essence of what NOCVA is all about.
We are at the beginning of a long but important journey for Chamorros living in the U.S. Although we are relatively small in number, our collective strength, sacrifice, and contribution to the defense of our country is truly remarkable. Our service as Americans of Chamorro ancestry is a powerful testimony – it deserves respect and shows how much we can accomplish, especially if we work together.
Since the earliest migration of Chamorros to America, there has been no national organization founded by Chamorros dedicated to improving their welfare — until now. With NOCVA, we have our own national advocacy organization, connecting a grassroots network of regional coordinators throughout the 50 states, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Also unprecedented is NOCVA’s primary mission: helping Chamorro veterans who, after serving our country, continue to experience difficulty receiving their earned benefits.
As Chamorros, we take pride in our social gatherings, which feature traditional food and island entertainment. While these efforts are significant because they honor our culture and heritage, we must also participate in activities as members of the American society. We need to get involved in our community civic and economic activities, because they are key to getting results. We need to help, guide, and assist our fellow Chamorro veterans so that they receive and enjoy their earned entitlements and benefits.
Now that our conference has ended, we hope that we will return to our respective communities with a renewed sense of commitment. We need to continue working together on initiatives that will enable us to take our rightful place as productive and fully participating members of our American society.
Si Yuus Ma’ase,
Cel Aguigui, Larry Cruz, and Frank Blas
NOCVA Co-Founders and National Coordinators
NOCVA’s First Western Regional Coordinators Conference, San Diego, CA, Mar 2014
San Diego, California, 27 March 2014
On 27 March 2014, NOCVA held its first Western Regional Coordinators Conference in San Diego, CA. The event was hosted by NOCVA’s San Diego Chapter and held at the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club of San Diego. Over 40 Chamorro veterans and supporters participated in the all-day conference.
The purpose of the conference was to discuss ways to further NOCVA’s mission and to establish procedures to follow as required by NOCVA’s nonprofit framework under the direction of the national office. The conference provided a forum to exchange ideas and information in a constructive and positive manner. Attendees represented chapters from San Bernardino, San Diego, Sacramento, Washington State, North Carolina, and Maryland.
Thank you and congratulations to everyone who participated and supported our efforts to make NOCVA a leader in improving the quality of life for Chamorro veterans.
To see more photos taken at the conference, visit the NOCVA-San Diego Chapter facebook page here.
For the complete article and photos, see April-May 2014 NOCVA News.
NOCVA Attends 20th Anniversary Ceremony Honoring Minority Veterans, Meets Veterans Affairs Secretary MacDonald
This week, the VA observed the 20th anniversary of the Center for Minority Veterans, which included a ceremony on 24 Sep 2014 in Washington, D.C. The center advises senior VA leaders and was created after advocacy efforts by minority veterans groups who were concerned that their needs would not be addressed by the VA.
NOCVA National Coordinators Cel Aguigui and Larry Cruz with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. MacDonald
Terri Smith, NOCVA’s Senior Advisor for Chamorro Veterans Women’s Advisory Group, and VA Secretary Robert MacDonald (with Sheila Mitchell, Ret., Air Force)
NOCVA National Coordinators Attend VA Roundtable Discussion, Jan 2012
On 31 January 2012, NOCVA National Coordinators Cel Aguigui and Larry Cruz were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Veterans Affairs Secretary General Eric Shinseki, held in Washington, DC.
The goal of the meeting, an outreach effort by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), was to highlight the VA’s work in leveraging partnerships with the AAPI community.
Hosted by Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the roundtable gathered high-level Veterans Affairs officials, other federal leaders, and representatives from the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Japanese American Citizen League, National Alliance for Filipino Veterans, National Filipino Veterans for Equity, National Organization of Chamorro Veterans in America, and others, in discussions of great importance to AAPI veterans: data collection, access to healthcare, and veterans benefits.
This roundtable could not have come at a more crucial time, as the data from the 2010 Census revealed that AAPIs are one of the fastest growing racial groups in this country. Among the nearly 17 million AAPIs across the nation, there are over 265,000 Asian American veterans and 28,000 Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander veterans.
Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has provided unprecedented levels of funding to help veterans. Secretary Shinseki and his team said they are committed to ensuring that veterans are receiving the services and benefits they have earned, and that they receive this support in a timely manner.
In this effort, NOCVA will continue to work with Veterans Affairs officials on behalf of Chamorro veterans in the 50 states, Guam, and the CNMI.
Memorial Day Message 2013
By Rear Admiral Pete Aguon Gumataotao, 22 May 2013
Hafa Adai fellow Veterans,
I am honored to have been asked by the National Organization of Chamorro Veterans in America (NOCVA) to say a few words on this Memorial Day to our veterans, their families, and all who unselfishly support our outstanding men and women serving our country. It is very refreshing to come across organizations like NOCVA, dedicated to the advocacy, recognition, outreach, and promotion of our veterans, and in this particular case, our Veterans from Guam and the Northern Marianas.
Memorial Day is a time set aside in our busy lives to remember and honor those amongst us who have sacrificed so much, and in many cases, paid the ultimate sacrifice in our nation’s service. I was humbly and sadly reminded of this tremendous sacrifice when I recently read the announcement of two of our brave Guam National Guardsmen: Sgt. Eugene M. Aguon, 23, of Mangilao, Guam and Spc. Dwayne W. Flores, 22, of Sinajana, Guam. Both of these courageous Chamorros died in Kabul, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Fort Juan Muna, Guam. Like so many who have gone before them serving in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom, these brave men and women sacrificed their dreams to preserve the hope of our nation, keeping our country free. We owe them our deepest gratitude, respect and honor.
I ask that you draw on the strength of our Island culture of faith and familia. Continue to keep those in service to our country and their families in your prayers. I would offer that every one of you reading this note has a family member, a friend, co-worker or a neighbor who is a veteran. It would mean a lot to them on this day that you take the time to share a hand-shake or a hug with them. It will be well received for those who have and will continue to go into harm’s way for our country.
May God bless all our Veterans and our great country on this Memorial Day.
Rear Admiral Pete Aguon Gumataotao
United States Navy
Guam 32nd Legislature Resolution Recognizes NOCVA
Hon. Aline Yamashita (32nd Guam Legislature), introduced a resolution recognizing NOCVA’s efforts to serve as the voice of Guam and CNMI veterans and their families. The resolution recognizes work done by NOCVA’s National Staff, Regional Coordinators, and members who have volunteered their time and expertise to establish NOCVA. Two NOCVA coordinators, Bill Cundiff (Guam) and Tony Leon Guererro (Washington), attended the presentation held on 8 July in Agana, Guam.
Francisco “Frank” Dumanal Blas
10 Jul 1946 – 1 Oct 2017
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our friend and fellow NOCVA co-founder Frank D. Blas, who passed away on 1 October 2017.
Since NOCVA’s creation in 2011, Frank was a dedicated partner, tireless in his determination to build NOCVA into a strong advocacy organization for Chamorro Veterans. In addition to his role as Founder and National Coordinator, he headed NOCVA’s North Carolina chapter.
Frank was actively involved in NOCVA initiatives, conferences, and outreach events, always eager to support Chamorro Veterans. He was instrumental in planning the historic Chamorro Veterans Commemoration Ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. He later led a commemoration ceremony in Guam and presented gifts on behalf of NOCVA to the people of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (the bell that was rung in the national ceremony and a plaque listing all 70 fallen heroes from Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands who died during the Vietnam War).
Known for being humble and generous, Frank will be remembered for his devotion to his beloved island of Guam, the Chamorro people, and his family. He was a proud Chamorro, a patriotic American, a brave soldier, and a loyal friend. To honor his memory, NOCVA will continue our fight to ensure that Chamorro Veterans get the recognition, respect, and benefits that they deserve – rights Frank fought a lifetime to secure for us all.
Chelu, We Remember You.
Cel, Larry, Norma, and Libby
NOCVA National Staff
Sergeant First Class, United States Army