The NORTHERN OHIO VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA (NOVVA), a local chapter of the national Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., was formed in Dec. 1980 at the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSN. in downtown Cleveland. The organization aimed to bring attention to some of the problems of veterans of the VIETNAM WAR, such as their possible exposure to "Agent Orange" and other chemical defoliants in Vietnam which could lead to illness and birth defects in their offspring. Another concern was treatment for "delayed stress" symptoms. A third concern was sufficient benefit legislation on the national and state levels. (Vietnam veterans' GI benefits were less than those awarded to World War II or Korean War veterans.) The first NOVVA officers were Richard B. Masterson, president; John Wright, 1st vice-president; Joseph W. Zingales, treasurer; and Nick Early, Nick Orosz, Cathy Mauser, Timothy E. McMonagle, and Carl Luebking, directors. Active membership was approx. 300.
In Jan. 1982 NOVVA elections were again held, and disintegration set in. A majority of offices were won by members and supporters of the "Vet Centers," the U.S. Veteran's Administration-funded service centers for Vietnam veterans. Because of numerous violations, such as the acceptance of nonveterans on the board, the new NOVVA board was not recognized by Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. These problems resulted in the formation of a local splinter group, the Northeast Ohio Vietnam Veterans (NEOVVA). On 7 Aug. 1982, at CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Metro Campus, former NOVVA and present NEOVVA members and officers met to resolve their differences.