On April 30, Bay Veterans Foundation made a monetary donation to Children’s Library International (CLI) at a ceremony held during the celebration of the Laotian Lunar New Year 2559 at the Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Washington, DC. The check for $500 was presented by Bay Veterans Foundation Board and Children’s Library International Advisory Board member Tim Eckstein to Chuck Theusch, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CLI with His Excellency Mai Sayavongs, the Lao Ambassador to the United States, and Ross Worley, Founder of the Library of Laos Project, in attendance.
Children’s Library International whose central office is in Milwaukee, WI, is non-profit organization founded in 1999 by Chuck Theusch, a Vietnam Veteran; building the first Library in Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province. Ross Worley, a retired Army Special Forces Sergeant Major, funded the growth of the Library Project to Laos in 2002. CLI has since partnered with People to People International founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, for the purpose of creating global educational and humanitarian initiatives. Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Eisenhower, is CEO Emeritus of People to People International. CLI has built 34 children’s libraries across Southeast Asia in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The construction of more libraries and expansion of existing facilities is underway. Theusch personally oversees the library projects, spending 6 to 8 months yearly in Southeast Asia.
Chuck is an advocate for the Congressional Medal of Honor Character Development Program (CDP) which is a training program for teachers, administrators, youth groups and civic leaders. The emphasis for this training is to equip attendees with skills to help youth to acquire the values of Courage, Commitment, Citizenship, Sacrifice, Integrity and Patriotism through modeling the behavior of Medal of Honor Recipients – one of whom is in attendance at these one-day training sessions. This training has been conducted twice thus far in the Great Lakes Bay Region, with another scheduled for June 21, 2016 at the Saginaw Intermediate School District Transitions Center on Fashion Square Boulevard. Mr. Theusch attended our program in June 2015 and will be attending the June 21, 2016 session. He will again be participating and supporting other related events in our community during his stay, including the Re-Dedication of Battery Park on Tuesday June 21st. The Character Development Program Planning Team, which plans and helps organize these training programs as well as some of the other related events, functions as an ad hoc Committee of the Bay Veterans Foundation.
During the two day trip to Washington, DC, the Children’s Library International Delegation to the Laotian Embassy conducted a memorial service at the US Navy Seabees Memorial at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery where Tim Eckstein read the poem “A Creed” by Edwin Markham. Children’s Library International believes that the concept of the citizen soldier who, “With Compassion for Others, Builds and Fights for Peace with Freedom” as represented by the Seabee Memorial is an ideal for all Americans to embrace.