Storming 2017

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    • Friday Judging

      “Storming Week” officially began Friday, March 31, when national Council and Chapter Affairs staff met with members of the Council and Chapters committee of MOAA's board of directors (BOD) to judge submissions for the Levels of Excellence awards. A total of 176 chapters and councils submitted entries. Clockwise from left, Col. Terri Coles, USA (Ret), senior director, Council and Chapter Affairs; Victoria Twyne; Lt. Col. Walter Smiley, USA, BOD; Col. Bob Certain, USAF (Ret), BOD. Photo: Col. Clarence Counts, USA (Ret)

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    • Tuesday Storming Prep

      About 170 MOAA “stormers” gathered Tuesday, April 4, to prepare for Wednesday's visit to Capitol Hill. MOAA Vice President for Government Relations Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret), above right, led the Storming prep briefing, which covered topics as wide-ranging as sequestration, the SBP-DIC offset, best practices when visiting congressional offices, and tips on taking photos with legislators. Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • Tuesday Shulkin

      VA Secretary David Shulkin, right, with MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), was the keynote speaker at the Storming prep briefing Tuesday, April 4. Shulkin reviewed 10 ways he plans to modernize the VA and also gave a preview of the VA's new website which will launch in late April 2017. Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • At an evening reception on Capitol Hill Tuesday, April 4, MOAA presented its 2017 Colonel Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) for his work as chair of the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. Isakson could not attend; his award was accepted by MOAA member and Veterans Affairs committee staffer Col. Tom Bowman, USMC (Ret), above. The Marix Award honors members of Congress “who distinguish themselves in protecting the rights and interests of uniformed services members, their families, and survivors.” Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • At an evening reception on Capitol Hill Tuesday, April 4, MOAA presented one of its 2017 Distinguished Service Awards to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation for its work supporting military caregivers. Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (right, with Rear Adm. Sam De Bow, NOAA (Ret), 2nd vice chair of MOAA's board of directors) accepted the award on behalf of her namesake foundation. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes organizations or individuals not in Congress who have greatly aided people who served in the U.S. armed forces. Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • At an evening reception on Capitol Hill Tuesday, April 4, MOAA presented one of its 2017 Distinguished Service Awards to Werner Enterprises for the company's efforts to hire veterans, veteran spouses, and members of the Guard and Reserve. CEO Derek Leathers, above, accepted the award on behalf of the company. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes organizations or individuals not in Congress who have greatly aided people who served in the U.S. armed forces. Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • At an evening reception on Capitol Hill Tuesday, April 4, MOAA presented its 2017 Colonel Paul W. Arcari Meritorious Service Award to Jeanette James, above, a professional staff member with the House Armed Service Committee. The Arcari award, which since 2000 has honored congressional staff members who have made significant contributions to the uniformed services community, is named for the retired officer who led MOAA's Government Relations Department from 1990 until 2001. Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • Before they set off to “Storm the Hill” Wednesday, April 5, about 170 MOAA chapter leaders, headquarters staff members, and members of the board of directors assembled in front of the U.S. Capitol for a photo marking the event. After the photo, Stormers dispersed to meet with their legislators and share MOAA's positions on sequestration and the SBP-DIC offset, visiting nearly every Senate and House office over the course of a single day. Photo: Sean Shanahan

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    • After a successful day “Storming the Hill” - and visiting nearly every legislator's office - MOAA chapter leaders, headquarters staff members, and members of the board of directors met for dinner. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) a retired Marine Corps officer and chair of the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on Military Readiness, outlined some of the biggest challenges facing the military during a speech Wednesday April 5. Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • Thursday Council Pres Seminar

      Council and chapter leaders from across the nation convened Thursday, April 6, for MOAA's annual Council Presidents' Seminar, an all-day event. The agenda included updates from headquarters leadership on various initiatives currently under way to support the association's affiliates, including the Why MOAA video; grants from MOAA's Military Family Initiative for chapter programs assisting military families; and the legal relationship between national MOAA and its local affiliates. Photo: Steve Barrett

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    • Thursday Award Winners

      Chapter and council leaders receive recognition for their outstanding newsletters and websites through MOAA's annual Communication Awards. Winners for 2016 assembled Thursday, April 6, during the association's annual Council Presidents' Seminar, to receive commemorative certificates and participate in a group photo. Photo: Steve Barrett 

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  • Wednesday, April 5, MOAA leaders from across the country “Stormed the Hill” – visiting their senators and representatives face-to-face in their offices in Washington, D.C., to make a case for the items at the top of the association’s 2017 legislative agenda:

    • repealing sequestration, with its potentially devastating effects on defense budgets, and
    • ending the SBP-DIC offset, or “widows tax,” which penalizes the surviving spouses of servicemembers who die on active duty or of service-connected causes.

    MOAA began storming more than 20 years ago, and we’ve stuck with it because it’s effective. Year after year, our government relations team can see direct results in the form of significant increases in cosponsorship of relevant bills in the House and Senate. 

    But as the slideshow above illustrates, Wednesday’s Storming event was just one element of several days of activities capitalizing on the presence of the association’s council and chapter leaders and members of the board of directors. 

    As they prepped to storm on Tuesday, April 4, participants heard from Secretary of the VA David Shulkin about his plans for the department; that evening, they attended MOAA’s award reception recognizing four outstanding supporters of the military community. The week concluded Thursday, April 6, with council and chapter leaders spending the day at the 2017 Council Presidents’ Seminar.