[pjw] A zero gun salute to Rico Vicino, a veteran for peace & PJW member

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Wed Jul 27 16:03:39 EDT 2022

Greetings again Peace and Justice Works community

This has been a rough month-- after losing Yvonne Simmons on July 2, we 
heard from longtime member Rico Vicino's housemate yesterday that Rico 
(born Fred Kempe) has also died.

Our records of the start of PJW 30 years (and 4 months) ago aren't totally 
detailed, but 12 of us met to start what was then called Portland 
Peaceworks in March 1992. Yvonne was one of the 12. Rico was at the second 
meeting in April, so he was with us a long time. We met him through his 
work with Northwest Veterans For Peace (NWVP), which formed in late 1990 
as the "Gulf War" was gearing up. Having served in the Air Force in Viet 
Nam, Rico was strenuously anti-war.

Rico's active contribution to our earliest event, the Peace and Justice 
Fair, was a dunk tank wherein throwing a ball at a target would drop a 
teddy bear wearing a George HW Bush mask into a toilet, which Rico labeled 
the "Offal Orifice." Years later he expressed regret that the activity 
didn't fully fit his vision of nonviolence.

In 1994, Rico presented at the summer quarterly PJW meeting, sharing 
slides of a trip he and three other vets made to Viet Nam. (This is 
captured in a Flying Focus video which unfortunately is not easily 
available on the web or on DVD, known as "A Return to Vietnam," an 
hourlong "Speakers and Events" show.)

Around that time PJW was able to rent office space from NWVP in their 
coffee shop known as the Liberty Tree up at NE 28th and Everett. I flew to 
Dallas, TX for a national conference on police accountability and... left 
the itinerary on the desk. I knew Rico's number by heart, and he lived 
nearby so he was able to go in and get me the information.

Over the years Rico was a frequent participant in our "mailing parties," 
and I'm reminded in the last several years he would bring his dog with 
him, a very well mannered houseguest so to speak. He helped whether the 
mailings were for PJW, Portland Copwatch or Flying Focus.

I can't count how many times I crossed paths with him as he tooled down 
the street on his bicycle. While he got worked up about stuff I feel he 
was generally optimistic.

PJW cofounding member (and board member) Linda Tomassi remembers Rico as 
"quirky, optimistic and kind."

For those who knew him there are two events this week that his housemate 
let us know about.

The first is a Military Honors funeral at Willamette National Cemetery 
(this is why I titled this email "zero gun salute"... there may in fact be 
some protocols at the cemetery involving such displays of firearms, so be 
forewarned), Friday July 29 at 2:30 PM. They ask that you arrive at least 
15 minutes before the 2:30 PM start time and check in at the main office 
for a map of where to go, and remember they will have him listed as Fred 
Kempe, not Rico.

The second is a celebration of life party with food and drinks at Rico's 
house in SE Portland, from 2:30-10 PM. Please RSVP to get the address. 
Rico's housemate adds: "Come and meet family and friends and share your 
stories of this amazing man."

We'll miss you Rico!!!
dan handelman
peace and justice works

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