TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans was an independent, nonprofit organization, created in 1998 for helping veterans and families through programs associated with Tours Of Peace. The programs included emotional support for Vietnam veterans, support for their families, humanitarian work in Vietnam, and the personal effects program.
TOP Vietnam Veterans recovered personal effects left in Vietnam after the war, such as dog tags and clothing, and returned them to veterans and surviving family members. These personal belongings are both a remembrance and a way to honor the veteran's service.
TOP painstakingly authenticated each dog tag as legitimate--not counterfeit; data was verified. TOP was sensitive to the emotional issues that often come up when notifying a veteran or family of the find. TOP was extremely careful to correctly match personal effects with the rightful recipients. The presentation to recipients is done respectfully and solemnly. Each dog tag was enclosed in a dark velvet black box, accompanied by a letter of appreciation and recognition. (Occasionally a TOP representative would make a personal presentation of the personal effect.) This was all done at no cost or expense to those receiving dog tags or personal effects--thanks to those who contributed to TOP and their Personal Effects Program. TOP did this as a memorial to the service of the person named on the dog tag.
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.