Lawrence Collins served from 1965-69 with the United States Marine Corps with service in Vietnam in 1967. He is the proud father of five children, grandfather of eight and has one great-grandchild.
Lawrence is also the VVnW & The Veterans Coalition Virginia State Coordinator. He has a dream of establishing a United Veterans House Program in the Norfolk area and would like to see the program expanded throughout the country.
Lawrence also has a focus on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its symptoms and treatments and would like to work on increasing the membership of the organization.
Mr. Collins serves on the board of VETERANSGOV.org
As a new National Board Member, I would like to share with you some of my experiences with the Beacon House Program. My first experience was with the Beacon House in Shreveport, Louisiana. When I first saw it, I knew we were in for a lot of hard work. Myself and three other members of Post LA 04, Leroy Chernier, Johnny Guillot and Ivy Louviere, were ready to take on the job with other VVnW members from Texas and Pennsylvania. No matter how hard we worked, we just couldn’t out do Nancy Verespy and Peter Forbes who made sure everything run smoothly. The Beacon House is now up and running.
My second experience was working on the Beacon House in Huntington, West Virginia. Although it isn’t as big as the building in Shreveport, it was still quite a challenge. We were able to accomplish a lot in our first trip in August, but were not quite able to complete all of the necessary repairs needed. On our next trip in September we were successful in accomplishing all of our goals.
Even though the work is hard and time consuming, it is well worth the satisfaction knowing that I have been able to help in some way, veterans that are less fortunate than myself. I am very pleased to have met so many hard working and dedicated people since I have been working on the Beacon House committee. I invite all of you to give your time and skills to work on a Beacon house in your area.
I am also Commander of Post LA 04, in Thibodaux, Louisiana. The post is very involved in the community of Thibodaux and surrounding areas. We help sponsor the “Let Freedom Ring Festival” which is held each year on the 4th of July. The Festival is free to the public with great food, live music, auction, games for everyone and ends with a tremendous fire works display. We start the day at 6:00 a.m. by cooking breakfast for all police personnel, firemen, E.M.T.’s and anyone else that happens to drop by.
For the Christmas Season, along with the Chamber of Commerce , we decorate the Canal St. Bridges crossing over Bayou Lafourche.
Each year our Post sponsors two scholarships to Thibodaux High JR. R.O.T.C. Senior Cadets.
Our Color Guard has participated in numerous opening ceremonies held in Thibodaux and the surrounding areas and we have had a food drive within our Post for the Beacon House in Shreveport.
We promote flag awareness and we hold flag disposal ceremonies for our local Boy Scouts. We have the Scouts participate in the ceremonies.
So as you can see we are busy with the business of the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. and The Veterans Coalition and feel that we do make a difference for veterans and our communities. We are proud to be part of a group of “PEOPLE WHO CARE”.