Stephen Abatiell is the son of Vietnam War veteran and Agent Orange survivor Peter Abatiell. He is a field science educator in Yosemite National Park, California. In 2012 Stephen was awarded a grant to take his father on a return trip to Viet Nam and to volunteer with others affected by Agent Orange. They spent two weeks volunteering at the Friendship Village, and another three weeks traveling the country and recording the stories of other Agent Orange survivors. Steve is passionate about the possibility of peace with nature and peace between former enemies, and was able to return to the Friendship Village for a second time in the summer of 2013 with US high school volunteers.
Don Blackburn was drafted into the US Army in l966, and served in the American War in Vietnam l967–68. He graduated from Humboldt State University in l974 and earned a Master’s Degree in English in l980. He enjoyed a 27-year career as a high school and college teacher. He is a published poet and has written about Vietnam (then and now), Trinity River country of Northern California, and other subjects. Don has been a peace activist for many years. He is a co-founder of the SW Oregon Chapter and a charter member of the Ha Noi Chapter of Veterans For Peace. Don has visited Vietnam many times in the last five years. He has made many friends there and considers it his second home. He raises money for Vietnam Friendship Village in his coastal Oregon community of Bandon, Oregon.
Bill Dean served in Vietnam with the 7th Armored Squadron, 1st Air Cavalry in 1968 and 1969 primarily operating out of the Vinh Long Airfield in the Mekong Delta. He retired in 2002 after a 30-year career with Hewlett-Packard during which he supported HP manufacturing sites and component suppliers in Singapore, Ireland and Puerto Rico. He currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon. For Bill, the path to personal peace began with visits to two of the world’s greatest war memorials. An unexpected walk past the 50,000 silent names on the Vietnam Memorial and a sojourn to Hiroshima, Japan — site of the first atomic attack — moved Bill to reopen an unfinished chapter in his life. He became involved with Vietnam Friendship Village because of the healing aspects of the project.
Liliane Floge spent 20 years in higher education, first as a sociology professor at Bowdoin College in Maine, and then as an academic administrator and professor at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Since 2003 she has lived in Maryland with her husband Steve Crawford, a Vietnam Vet. Liliane served on a variety of non-profit boards before becoming a member of the VFVP-USA board in 2000. She brings to the organization strong non-profit experience and French language skills. Liliane has traveled throughout the world; she and her husband twice have visited the Friendship Village—first in August of 1999 and again in January 2001. Liliane responds to all VFVP-USA email inquiries.
Joseph Little is an English professor at Niagara University, where he teaches writing and directs the first-year writing program. After spending the first decade of his career researching the history of physics, Joe decided to get “closer to the action”: He now works as a creative writer at the intersection of spirituality and memoir, and, with the help of an old friend from Toronto, guides students and local nature lovers on backpacking trips in the mountains of Guatemala. He and his partner, Samantha, first felt the magic of the Friendship Village during their summer 2013 visit. They plan to return in two years.
Becky Luening became involved with the Vietnam Friendship Village in 1993 when her then-husband Jeff Huch was volunteer director of the US Committee. Becky was instrumental in securing charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) status for the organization in early 1996. After Jeff passed away in 1996, Becky continued to build on what he and others had begun. Currently she serves as President of the US Committee. Becky earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1980, and a Masters in Education at UC Santa Cruz in 2001. She resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband Brian Willson, a Vietnam veteran, and her dog Pedro. Becky is a book artist and a gardener and seeks to build local community through neighborhood involvement. She has been an associate member of Veterans For Peace since 1997.
Judith Moss lives in Anchorage, Alaska. She recently retired from the Anchorage School District where she was a Special Education Teacher Assistant in a specialized community transition program. Judy and her husband Bill Bartee, a Vietnam veteran, have lived in Alaska for over 25 years. At the early age of 23, after returning home from Vietnam, Bill suffered a stroke, presumably caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Judy and Bill have three children. Their youngest daughter has been in a nursing home since 2001 after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a car accident while teaching English in Japan. Judy’s hobbies include organic gardening, beekeeping, her apple orchard, and crocheting. Judy and Bill returned to Vietnam in March of 2006 to create new memories and make peace and reconciliation with the Vietnamese people. It was a life-changing experience for them both.
Dan Ryan grew up near Seattle, Washington and was drafted by the Marines in 1966. Choosing to join the Army instead, he declined the government’s offer to travel to Vietnam at that time. However, he always felt an artistic, philosophical, and spiritual affinity with Asia and in 2005 he traveled to China to teach English. Dan became involved with the Vietnam Friendship Village in early 2007. Having spent 30 years as a special education teacher, most of them working for children with developmental disabilities, the Friendship Village seemed like a natural fit. The reconciliation aspect of the project also appealed to him. Dan is a member of Veterans For Peace Chapter 109 in Olympia, Washington, as well as Fellowship of Reconciliation, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and Interfaith Works.
Carl Stancil enlisted in the Navy and served aboard a destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin during the war in Viet Nam. Upon his discharge, he earned an MS Degree in Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley and then worked in Silicon Valley, becoming involved in solar energy and Appropriate Technology (AT). In 1979 he became an Electronics Instructor at Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz, California, where he met Rosmarie Greiner. Together they shared a large house with two other families until Rosmarie died in 1992. In 1994 Carl left the college to travel and write. He has traveled widely in Asia. In 1996 he decided to revisit Viet Nam where he discovered the Friendship Village. Upon his return to the US, he began volunteering with the US Committee, and currently serves as Treasurer for VFVP-USA. He has since traveled to Vietnam five times and considers involvement with the Friendship Village to be healing for himself and others. He now lives in Arcata, California and is an active member of Veterans For Peace Chapter 56.
Paul Wicker has been active in the pursuit of peace since 2001 and is a member of multiple peace-oriented organizations. He has worked with the American Red Cross Disaster Services since 1998 and has responded to earthquakes, fires, tornados, airliner crashes and to the World Trade Center attack. A mathematics graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Paul is an amateur astronomer and a member of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. As The Galileo Guy, he has made presentations on astronomy to thousands of elementary and middle school students in the Los Angeles area. Formerly he was a California credentialed secondary teacher. He is currently a private fiduciary. Paul and his wife Nancy have four grown children and two grandchildren. He is a scuba diver, snorkeler, backpacker and biker. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Central and South America, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia. He visited Vietnam Friendship Village in 2007 and currently serves as Secretary of the US Committee.