October 29, 2014
MOAA's annual meeting was a host of signature events, including a career fair, Community Heroes Award Night, and the MOAA annual meeting of the membership. Get recaps of the signature events here!
Watch video highlights from the events
MOAA Recognizes Caregivers and Elizabeth Dole at Awards Gala
|Sen. Elizabeth Dole received the inaugural MOAA Military Family National Service Award for her work with the Dole Foundation, supporting military and veteran caregivers. Photo by Steve Barrett. |
Watch an interview with Elizabeth Dole discussing her work supporting caregivers
Gen. John H. Tilelli Jr., USA (Ret), outgoing chair of
MOAA's board of directors, and MOAA President Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr.,
USN (Ret), proudly presented Tuesday evening the MOAA Military Family National
Service Award to former Sen. Elizabeth Dole and several Community Heroes Awards
to eight selfless groups and individuals who exemplify service to the wounded
military and veterans’ populations.
Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., USMC, assistant commandant of the
Marine Corps, delivered the keynote address, drawing on U.S. history to
illustrate the America’s long and storied tradition of patriotism and democracy.
“We’re still embarking on this noble experiment and this
holy experiment — and I think we’re winning, and I think we’re winning every
day,” he said. “We’re here tonight to recognize those people who help us win.
And the ones who are in uniform now and out guarding the ramparts and keeping
us free, as well as those who carved the way and cut the path before, and many
here tonight spend their time, their talents, their money their energy to
recognize those in uniform and in particular to recognize those who either have
made the ultimate sacrifice, are suffering grievous wounds — visible and
invisible — and those who care for them.”
Paxton also recognized the service of his MOAA audience and
reminded them those in uniform today are every bit as great as those who served
in earlier decades.
“I just happen to be the one of the half of 1 percent of
those who serve our nation who gets to tell you all thank you,” he said.
In her acceptance speech, Dole thanked MOAA and the “hidden
heroes” who care for wounded servicemembers and veterans. She also called for a
holistic transformation in how “the world’s great superpower” cares for these
“Have we also become a superpower in supporting our troops
and veterans when they come home?” she asked. “We all know the answer is no. …
[These awardees] all serve as an example to all of us about what each of us
needs to do to become that superpower at home.”
Military award recipients included:
- the Warrior Family Coordination Cell and Inpatient Warrior
and Family Liaison Office at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in
- the 3D Medical Applications Center, Department of Radiology,
at Walter Reed;
- the Inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Program at Walter Reed;
- the National Intrepid Center of Excellence.
Civilian awardees are:
- Brendan O’Toole, a former Marine Corps sergeant and founder
of The Run for Veterans;
- Lean Hernandez, a caretaker, military spouse, and member of
the Fort Belvoir (Va.) Caregivers Support Group;
- Kristen C. Querriera, founder, CEO, and chair of the board
of Operation Troop Appreciation; and
- Ken and Julia Falke, a military couple who personally employ
veterans and have created the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation and started
Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness.
full biographies of each of the awardees. The 2014 Community Heroes Award
artwork “No Generation Left Behind” by
Jerry Frech, depicts Vietnam veterans rallying and creating a tradition of
never letting a veteran be forgotten.
Watch a video of the awards ceremony below.
2014 MOAA Annual Meeting
|MOAA president, Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., USN (Ret) shows off a shirt given to him by Traci Voelke, a surviving spouse, after the passing of her husband. Ryan stormed the Hill with Voelke on repealing the SBP-DIC offset. Photo by Steve Barrett. |
Watch video coverage from the 2014 MOAA annual meeting of the membership
Gen. John H.
Tilelli Jr., USA (Ret), outgoing chair of MOAA's board of directors, welcomed
attendees to the association's 2014 Annual Meeting of the Membership Tuesday,
Oct. 28. During his report, Tilelli discussed the strength of MOAA and the
important role members play in the association's advocacy efforts. "Your
organization is the most active in this town or anywhere else in the U.S.
supporting [the military community]. Because of you ... we have the largest
representation. That gives us clout and leverage," he said.
highlighted the four big issues MOAA must continue to fight: the 1-percent pay
raise; TRICARE fee increases; commissary cuts; and reductions to the basic
allowance for housing benefit. He closed by thanking everyone for their
support. "Work is a necessity. Service is an honor. To be part of MOAA's
board of directors is an honor."
Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., USN (Ret), presented the association's
2014 scorecard, focusing on advocacy, membership, information and
services, and councils and chapters. He highlighted the efforts of members in
sending more than 300,000 messages to Congress urging them to repeal the COLA
cut to working-age retirees’ pensions and the growth of the association’s
Transition Center and Spouse Program. Ryan also emphasized the importance of
MOAA’s new Military Family Initiative and the MOAA Scholarship Fund. For the
2014-15 school year, the Scholarship Fund provided more than $9.3 million in
interest-free loans and grants to 1,700 students of military families. "We
don't think there's anything greater we can do for the nation than educate
these young men and women," he said.
Ryan warned of the challenges ahead, specifically sequestration, the Military
Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission's report, and the
president's budget request. "We will work with you to help our country,
but it will be tough," Ryan said. "Our pledge to you is we will
relentlessly never stop serving."
concluded with Maj. Gen. Joe Lynch, USAF (Ret), MOAA general counsel,
announcing the approval of 14 resolutions and the new members of the board of
directors. Members then were given the opportunity to ask questions.
Excellence Award Dinner
|From left, Chair of the Board of Directors Gen. John H. Tilelli Jr., USA (Ret), presents a five-star Levels of Excellence Award to Col. Josiah “Butch" Fuller, USA (Ret), from the Charleston (S.C.) Chapter. Photo by Kris Ann Hegle. |
Council and chapter leaders and their
spouses, MOAA staff, and members of the association’s board of directors
gathered Monday night for the 2014 Levels of Excellence Award dinner. MOAA’s
affiliates compete annually to receive a four- or five-star Levels of
Excellence Award, with the very best councils and chapters receiving five-star
awards, and above-average councils and chapters receiving four-star awards.
Fredricks, USAF (Ret), MOAA board member and chair of the board’s Council and
Chapter Affairs Committee, introduced President Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr.,
USN (Ret), who welcomed attendees. Following dinner, Ryan introduced keynote
speaker and Chair of the Board of Directors Gen. John H. Tilelli Jr., USA
(Ret), who thanked participants for their hard work. Participants then watched
a short video highlighting the association’s signature events and
accomplishments during the past year.
Tilelli kicked off the awards ceremony
by presenting Eleanor Layman with the 2014 Auxiliary Liaison Excellence Award. Layman,
who is the auxiliary liaison for the Fort George G. Meade (Md.) Chapter and the
Maryland Military Officers Association of America, was recognized for her
outstanding work to support surviving spouses. The Miramar (Calif.) Chapter was
recognized as the Top-Recruiting Chapter of the Year, having recruited and
retained more than 400 members. Miramar Chapter member Lt. Cmdr. Henry “Bud”
Lichtenstern Jr., USN (Ret), was named Chapter Recruiter of the Year. Thanks to
his leadership, the chapter’s recruiting team signed up 125 new chapter members
to date, and approximately 33 percent of the chapter’s regular membership is
now 55 or younger.
The event concluded with the presentation
of four- and five-star streamers to winners of MOAA’s annual Levels of
Excellence Award contest.
“More than one-quarter of MOAA’s
councils and chapters received a Levels of Excellence Award this year,” says
Council and Chapter Affairs Director Col. Barry Wright, USA (Ret). “Our council
and chapter members are the lifeblood of this organization, and through their
leadership and service, our members make an immeasurable positive impact in
their communities; all too often without any fanfare.”