October 29, 2014
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
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
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.”
award recipients included:
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;
Inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Program at Walter Reed; and
- the National Intrepid Center of
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
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.
biographies of each of the awardees. The 2014 Community Heroes Award artwork
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.
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."
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
|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
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.”