By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The Vietnam Veterans of America welcomed a historic new member on Wednesday morning at the Heroes’ Cafe in Wisconsin Rapids.
“Donut Dollies” were part of an American Red Cross Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas program during the Vietnam War. A local member was one of those “dollies” from 1967-68, and after many decades, Stevens Point resident Diane Shufeldt was finally accepted as a member of the VVA.
Shufelt joined many other ladies who entertained troops overseas with game shows, serving food and beverages, and doing their best to give soldiers a sense of ease and a taste of home in the harsh jungles of Vietnam. However, it wasn’t all fun and games, as many would often watch their fellow men die in combat, and sometimes narrowly escape death themselves. Some “donut dollies” would suffer casualties, as well.
“We started a project to include some people that we feel deserve inclusion in the Vietnam Veterans of America.” said Heroes Cafe founder Bill Haack.
Last Thursday, after starting a year-long process of petitioning for full membership for Shufeldt, she received a letter, certificate, and a membership card from the VVA board of directors.
“On behalf of the National Board of Directors of the Vietnam Veterans of America, it is my privilege to award you an honorary life membership to the VVA. Your commitment to veterans and keeping the core principle of VVA that never again a generation of veterans abandon another, First and foremost, your dedication is appreciated. Thank you for your commitment.”
Shufeldt was also joined by Miss Wisconsin Rapids Hannah Ashbeck, and Women’s Army Corps pioneer Sara Parsons, who received a quilt of valor in early 2017.