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2014 Annual Meeting

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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

2014 annual meeting foundation award 
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 populations.

“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 Bethesda, Md.; 
  • the 3D Medical Applications Center, Department of Radiology, at Walter Reed; 
  • the Inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Program at Walter Reed; and 
  • the National Intrepid Center of Excellence. 

Civilian awardees are:

  • Brendan O’Toole, a former Marine Corps sergeant and founder of The Run for Veterans; 
  • Leah 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. 

Read 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

 2014 annual meeting image 
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.  

 video icon 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. 

He also 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."

MOAA President 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.

Like Tilelli, 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."

The meeting 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.


Levels of Excellence Award Dinner

 2014 LOE Awards Dinner image 
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. 

Col. Gary 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.”