MEET THE BOARD & OFFICERS
Our mission is to inform and educate any and all Veterans using seminars, fliers, and utilizing the many benefits and other programs currently in place.
Promoting the common good and welfare of all military veterans. Sponsoring and taking part in activities of patriotic nature.
Hello, I am Ben Gutierrez a native Houstonian who served as a Sergeant E-5 in the United States Army. The Army drafted me on November 29. 1965. I was released from duty on September 2,1967.
In 2016 I read an article about a monument in a small town in Idaho and started the Vietnam Combat Veterans Association. I served as the Commander for the Vietnam Fallen Warriors Monument and on the Board of Directors for VCVA.
Today as I go in to a store wearing my Vietnam Cap, people will come up to me and say “Thank you for your service.” But I remember when this was not the fashion thing to do.
I can remember the first time someone ever said those simple words to me, “Thank you for your service.” My wife and I were going into a Home Depot and a young man walked up to me as I was getting out of my car and asked, “Are those your purple heart car tags?” I said yes and He thank me for my service. I turned to my wife and said that is the first time anyone had ever thanked me. This happen thirty years after I had left the Army and Vietnam.
No one welcome me home after the war and no one wanted to hear anything about the Vietnam War. It was an unpopular war and everyone wanted to forget it ever happened.
But to many of us who were there, it was a war that will never leave our mind and thoughts. All the PTSD treatments and group meeting could not erase the nightmares each live with.
This is why this project; Vietnam Fallen Warriors Monument is needed. Not just for those who gave all but for those who still fight each day to be heard. Each veteran has a story that is crying for an audience that is willing to listen. This monument has 544 stories that need to be heard of the young service men who died for their country.
Let me introduce myself. I am Robert Schlitzberger, I almost finished Texas City High, found myself in an Armored Personnel Carrier as the Track Commander stationed at the Vietnam DMZ and 19 years old. Five months in the hospital with malaria. Then Ft. Polk, La. and Drill Sergeant School where at age barely 21 and 5'-4" was selected as the Honor Graduate and promoted to Staff Sergeant. Coming out of the Army and into the family business as the youngest of 3 brothers. It was like having three people steer a boat so, I sold out in 1979 and after seven years at UT Austin, I was able to purchase the family business with my wife as my partner.
My family life probably begins when I was 15 and I meet the girl of my dreams. This May '22, we will have been married 55 years. We have two daughters, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter who is an Honorary Marine at Albany, Georgia. Oh yes, I was born in Dallas and raised a Texan.
I, go by the nickname Bobby and this makes my initials BS. I act as the VCVA's chatty Kathy and will be in charge of the monument project.
I will be in charge of the monument project I was the second-generation memorialist, my daughters the current owners are the third and two 25 something grandchildren are in the shop learning the business. My daughters website: schlitzbergers.com will show some of our work. Over the years I have had the pleasure to work with Mr. H. Ross Perot to facilitate the building of Veteran Style cenotaphs. I have also worked with bronze sculptors such as Larry Luetke, Paul Moore, Willy Wang and others. As to my personal information. I am a Certified Memorialist (Retired) from the Monument Builders of North America, a Delegate (Retired) to the American Institute of Commemorative Art and was awarded the prestigious Eugene H. Faehnle, FAICA Trophy.
Colonel E. A. “Buddy” Grantham
U.S. Army (Retired) / Texas State Guard (Active)
Colonel Grantham began his military career in the Texas Army National Guard in 1979, continued in the Active Army retiring in 2005 and has been currently holds a Texas Military Forces Commission in the Texas State Guard since 2007 serving his state and nation in uniform for over 39 years. Buddy started as a Cavalry Officer, commanding Cavalry and Armor units, and then transitioned to the Quartermaster Branch where he continued to support combat units and helped train Reserve and Guard units to ensure they were prepared for their wartime missions. Currently he is the Chief of Staff for the 34 county Texas Gulf Coast Region providing humanitarian missions support and disaster recovery services in Texas.
Post Army retirement, Buddy has worked in government, corporate, non-profit and volunteer leadership positions. He has sheltered people from the ravaging effects of natural disasters, combat and the war on poverty and he has brought people from all walks of life to work together as efficient teams on various projects to achieve greatness regardless the mission. Much of his efforts have focused on the betterment of his fellow veterans and our actively serving military and their families. To do so, he has effectively worked with Congress, the federal government, the Texas legislature, state and local governments, foundations, businesses and non-profit organizations. He has improved existing groups and built new ones where needed to accomplish his goals of helping others.
Buddy has been a strong advocate for those still serving and for veterans and has been celebrated as a military affairs expert. He founded and served as director of Houston’s first Office of Veterans’ Affairs for two consecutive Houston Mayors and as the Harris County Veterans Service Officer. He has served on the board and as the Executive Director of Helping A Hero building customized homes across the nation for severely disabled Post 9/11 veterans as well as helping to create and serve on the Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Houston Rodeo. He built and led the Housing Houston’s Heroes Task Force that reduced Houston’s homeless veteran population from over 4,600 to less than 200 today. He was a catalyst member restarting an AUSA chapter in Houston. He also helped found and build Lonestar Veterans Association focused on helping Post 9/11 veterans in the Houston area and has been actively involved in growing VFW Post 8790 into a welcoming home for veterans of every wartime period.
COL Grantham is a combat proven veteran and has received a number of awards including the Bronze Star and the Army Valorous Unit Award for combat operations in Desert Storm, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (five awards), Army Commendation Medal (six awards), Texas Outstanding Service Medal, Texas Medal of Merit and Texas Humanitarian Service award among others. He has been recognized by Houston and Harris County for his service, the Chapel of Four Chaplains, as well numerous other organizations to include being named one of the world’s top 25 humanitarians in 2007 by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation.
Today Buddy manages his company, GML Solutions, providing organizational and operational consulting, program management, logistics, transportation and disaster recovery services while carving out time to travel America, spend time with his family and volunteer with several groups. Buddy and Julie have been married for over 40 years. They have three children, including an Army officer with a tour in Afghanistan, eight grandchildren and two rescue dogs.