On Friday, the AMVETS family lost one of its most prominent leaders and vocal veterans' advocates when Past National Commander Joseph Vandengoorbergh, 72, died at his home in Vermilion, Ohio.
Vandengoorbergh, or "Joe Van," served as AMVETS National Commander in 1997-1998, while Americans were deployed in support of NATO in the Balkans and while President Bill Clinton weighed additional military action in Iraq. To read Joe Van's Congressional testimony from 1998, Click Here.
Joe Van also served as Department of Ohio commander where he earned AMVETS Department Commander of the Year in 1986.
After leading the organization, Joe Van remained involved with both department and national business, continuing to serve his fellow veterans. At the 2008 AMVETS National Convention in Orlando, Joe Van was selected to serve on the board of trustees for the AMVETS National Service Foundation.
Joe Van served in the Army during Vietnam and served AMVETS for more than 37 years as a life member of AMVETS Post No. 22 in Vermilion, Ohio.
Memorial services will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Riddle Funeral Home in Vermilion and interment in Maple Grove Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to AMVETS Post No. 22, P.O. Box 199, Vermilion, Ohio 44089.
Joe is survived by his wife Rita, three sisters, two sons and numerous grandchildren. AMVETS' thoughts and prayers are with Joe's family.
To read Joe's obituary from the Morning Journal, Click Here.
(Photo: Official AMVETS photo of National Commander Joseph Vandengoorbergh during his term in Washington in 1997-1998.)