Thursday, November 17, 2016

TOP's Legacy

Dear Friends of TOP,

When TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans began our mission in the 1990's, our Vietnam veterans were healthy 50-ish-year-olds, but now, there is a dwindling number of healthy Vietnam era Veterans who are physically able to participate in our intensive working Tour Of Peace experience.

Also, there is a diminishing fund base for the humanitarian work we do, coupled with red tape and administrative costs of continuing to operate.

Consequently, primarily for these reasons, TOP has recently made the difficult decision to dissolve our 501 C (3) legal entity and cease to be a registered charity.


Our most recent Tour Of Peace was the last full-blown TOP group to travel in Vietnam under the auspices of the traditional TOP itinerary.

We are grateful for the help from Senator John McCain’s staff who brought TOP and the University of Arizona VETS program together in order to continue our Personal Effects Program.  In keeping up with the legacy of TOP, The University of Arizona VETS program has pledged to continue the mission to return these personal effects to the veteran or surviving family members!   VETS is an organization run by veterans, spouses, dependents, and current service members who through their shared experiences endeavor to maintain TOP's legacy and better serve our communities.  TOP is extremely appreciative of VETS taking charge of our Personal Effects Program. Perhaps some day they will return personal effects from more recent conflicts.  We encourage you to visit VETS and the Personal Effects Program at (and dog tag list):

VETS will soon take over the TOP web site domain, blog. and Facebook page–which will focus on personal effects run by VETS.  Please continue to monitor our web site, blog and Facebook page for announcements and news (knowing that these sources will all eventually transition to the University of Arizona VETS program).  For more information, contact: 

Importantly, TOP acknowledges all those who have enabled us to accomplish many years of doing our good works with their service, volunteerism and monetary gifts:

Helping Vietnam veterans, their families (and surviving families), conducting humanitarian work, returning Personal Effects and educating the public on Viet Nam and the conflict.

We are also thankful for Vietnamese citizens who have helped coordinate and prepare for the good works we have done; as well as those who have helped TOP recover personal effects.  We have deep gratitude for all who have made these nearly two decades of good works possible–you all made a difference.

There are many of our supporters who wish for the TOP legacy to continue and are working together in order to keep some of our humanitarian projects going for years to come--such as elder homes and scholarships--as part of TOP's legacy.  We appreciate those who are ... and want to become ... involved in preserving TOP’s legacy.

Please join us keeping TOP alive in our hearts and minds by living the TOP motto, “By helping others, we help ourselves.”

Stay tuned to our Web Site, blog and Facebook page for more details.

Thank you again for your support  . . .  and please never forget us when we are gone.

With gratitude for all you have done for so many years,

Jess DeVaney

TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day -- A Day For the Living

Thank veterans now--before it is too late ...

In Memorium

Gary Huett, February 10, 1943 - February 1, 2016

This year, TOP lost another member of our close family--Gary Huett.  As some of you have read, TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans is winding down our operations for reasons related to our aging Vietnam Veteran population and their health.  Sadly, we have lost veterans who have been active in the TOP organization--due to health, age and other issues.  Primarily for safety reasons, TOP will end our rigorous operations and programs soon.  However, bringing TOP to a close underscores the importance, on this Veterans Day, of the need to recognize those who have served, now and not wait to demonstrate your appreciation later.  Please visit Gary's obituary at

Also, Gary was close friends to Donald Lonsway, who traveled with Gary on the same Tour Of Peace, and preceded Gary in death.  We know that Donald's passing was a tremendous loss for Gary ... for all of us at TOP.

Donald Lonsway, January 1, 1942 - October 23, 2011

TOP's message to all of you is that now is the time to share with your veterans your appreciation of their service--time is running out as our veterans age.  TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans has been serving our mission for nearly two decades, which is coming to a close largely for this very reason. Please forget about the Veterans Day sales, back-porch bar-b-ques and stop to recognize what Veterans Day is all about ... before it is too late and your veteran is gone.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

What We Have Fought For

As the dust begins to settle after the election and we ready for Veterans Day:

We thank all Americans who voted for making the symbolic gesture of acknowledging what veterans and fallen soldiers have fought for since the 1700's.  No matter who Americans vote for ... no matter what party they are a member of ... no matter issues voters side with -- no matter genders or races, each vote adds up to a bigger picture:  For centuries Americans of all genders, races, religions, political belief systems have fought for our right to vote in this great country.  Our votes may be diverse, but cumulatively we vote together as a country.  We are able to do this after a great cost of lives and sacrifice of mind & spirit of those who gave us this privilege.  On the day after an extremely emotional election, we now all come together--all parties, genders, races and religions--and express gratitude to those present, and throughout history, who have given us this honor, privilege and right to vote ... perhaps after each four year election cycle, Veterans Day underscores why we celebrate it November 11th--so close to our November 8th election.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Update on TOP family member, Ut

Friends and family until the end

Before TOP was TOP, on the very first trip TOP's Founder took to Vietnam, he met Ut. At age 10, Ut's home & family were destroyed from a bombing and she survived, losing both legs. After recovering, she was accepted at a nursing care facility in 1967 and has remained a resident there to this day. Despite the tragic circumstances that led to losing her family and legs, Ut embrace all of us who would come to see her year-after-year, as friends and family.  She was always first to greet us with tears of happiness and when we would depart she shed tears of sadness. She was one of the stars that came into alignment and influenced TOP's creation and continuance for so many years. Every TOP Tour Of Peace has included a project at Ut's Elder Home. She has been a source of inspiration for TOP's Founder and all of those who have met her for nearly two decades. She is part of the TOP Family--considered a close family member. Many of us are sad about her terminal liver cancer.  Our hearts hurt.  Please visit one of our TOP family member's update on Ut. We are grateful for Elaine's blog post updating us on one of TOP's most inspirational family members--one of the reasons TOP came into existence. Please click below for the latest update on this amazing TOP family member, Ut:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Before and After TOP

An Orphan's Photo Story

Soon, TOP will make some important announcements. Please keep visiting our Facebook site, blog and web site. Until then, our next posts will reflect on the fantastic work we have done for nearly two decades. For example, here is an example of TOP helping to provide health and happiness to all those we have been important to. Below, are "before and after" photos of an orphan, at an orphanage we have helped.  Please appreciate these photos of the same orphan--one taken in 2005, and the other taken months ago.  (As well, we will end this piece with a handful of photos of this orphan, taken throughout the years.)

These pictures demonstrate that not only has TOP been important to health, but we have been a part of the happiness (lacking in many of those, before TOP came along and served them).

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial Day remembers and honors those who have died in our nation's service; particularly from battle or war wounds.  Those who say, "Happy Memorial Day," do not understand this solemn time. Most Americans confuse Memorial Day as a time for celebration, fun, bar-b-que's, and huge sale events.

Before you bite into that burger, say a prayer of thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so you can enjoy what you are about to partake. If you shop the sales, remember that these possessions and services are courtesy of our military dead.
 Please think of those who died, veterans who lost their buddies, and families who lost their loved ones, before you utter, "Happy Memorial Day!" It is not a day of happiness, but of remembrance and honoring.

Today, we turn our thoughts and activities to reflect all those who died in the line of service. We also keep surviving families close to our hearts; their sacrifice continues on a different battlefield.

 As we go about our day today, please be mindful that this is a day for the dead. Envision in your minds-eye spending the day in a cemetery where the heroes we honor on Memorial Day have been laid to rest.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Is Your Name, or Someone You Know, On This List?

Memorial Day Personal Effects List Update!

The little photo collage pictured above is a handful of personal effects just recently returned to veterans and surviving families. Our TOP Personal Effects List has just been updated with lots of changes! Please check the list--you, or someone you know, might be on it!

Especially as we near Memorial Day, pay close attention to the names of effects belonging to soldiers killed-in-action (names on "The Wall"), which have yet to be returned to surviving families who we have not been able to locate--please help us find these families. Perhaps sharing this post (and link) with others might be a gesture to help recognize Memorial Day: