VFVP-USA Board President Stephen Abatiell is the son of Vietnam War veteran and Agent Orange survivor Peter Abatiell. He works in Vermont’s non-profit sector, supporting community agriculture, food access, and the arts. In 2012 Stephen was awarded a grant to take his father on a return trip to Viet Nam and 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. Stephen is passionate about the possibility of peace with nature and peace between former enemies, and was able to return to the Friendship Village in the summer of 2013 leading a group of US high school volunteers, and again in 2016, 2018, and 2023 for the Friendship Village international committee meetings.
After working for a couple of years in online media, Theresa Gutierrez and her husband felt compelled to engage with people face-to-face and embarked on an adventure traveling around Europe, SE Asia and Africa for a year. They volunteered at the Friendship Village and fell in love with the children immediately. Upon returning to the U.S. several months later, Theresa decided to help in the way that she knew best, media, and thereby started handling the social media accounts of VFVP to create awareness and promote peace and reconciliation. A native Californian, Theresa has also lived in Seattle and New York. She loves to travel, read, and spend time with her family.
Carol Konyha is a self-employed baker long based in the Phoenix, Arizona, area who has been raising funds for VFVP-USA since 2012. Her father, Sgt. Toby Konyha‘s career was dedicated to the US Army and he served in Vietnam from 1967-1968. Carol’s father and youngest sister were both affected by his exposure to Agent Orange. Their suffering and early deaths deeply affected the entire family. Carol first learned about the Friendship Village by watching the documentary by Michelle Mason (2003). Carol visited the Friendship Village in 2018 and enjoyed being part of the 20th-anniversary festivities. Through her involvement with the Friendship Village, Carol recently connected with the Phoenix, Arizona chapter of Veterans For Peace, prompting a couple of the chapter's members to take up the issue of Agent Orange.
Becky Luening was tangentially involved with the Vietnam Friendship Village as it was being founded in 1993, and was instrumental in securing charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) status for the US Committee in early 1996 with her husband Jeff "Paco" Huch. (Jeff had followed in the footsteps of Jeff Schutts and Santa Cruz-based Vietnam veteran Ruben Gomez.) After Jeff died in Vietnam in March of 1996, Becky became more directly involved with the project. She served as the US Committee board president for over a decade and traveled to Vietnam on numerous occasions between 2002 and 2016 to attend biennial International Committee meetings and visit the Friendship Village. Becky has been an associate (non-veteran) member of Veterans For Peace since 1997. She was partnered with Vietnam veteran S. Brian Willson for close to 20 years and co-founded the Humboldt Branch of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 2004 while the couple lived in Arcata, California. Currently she is sole proprietor of a graphic design and editing service specializing in newsletters and book projects, based in Portland, Oregon.
Straight out of high school, Kacie McTaggart sought to follow her dreams of volunteering abroad and immersing herself in other cultures in hopes of finding her purpose. In her pursuit to challenge herself and ascertain what career path will allow her to provide positive impacts in the world, she found herself a volunteer at Friendship Village in 2023. She would soon be astonished and inspired by the residents and veterans, their kindness to her and their boundless joy despite trying circumstances. Rejuvenated by her experiences abroad, she is now a part-time college student with the intention of a career in the nonprofit sector. With four siblings, six nieces, and three nephews, it has always been her belief that, as a privileged daughter, proud sister, and lucky aunt, it's her responsibility to try and make the world a better place for them.
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 Pt. Townsend, Washington.
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.