December 2023 Council and Chapter News

December 2023 Council and Chapter News

Recent news from The MOAA Newsletter. View previous editions of Council and Chapter News here. Send updates about your affiliate’s activities to for possible inclusion in future editions.


MOAA Says Farewell to Council and Chapter Affairs Senior Program Director

Senior Program Director for Council and Chapter Affairs Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), is departing MOAA this month for new opportunities after serving on the MOAA staff since 2018.


During her time as senior director, she supported nearly 400 MOAA affiliates and their leaders across the nation, including ensuring volunteers in the field had the resources, training, and assistance to be successful in their roles and during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to working in Council and Chapter Affairs, she served on MOAA’s Transition team. She will be greatly missed, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors!


Capt. Frank Michael, USN (Ret), currently program director for Council and Chapter Affairs, will step into the senior director role. He has been an instrumental part of the team and affiliate network since joining MOAA’s staff in early 2021.


Apply for a 2024 Community Outreach Grant

Each year, The MOAA Foundation awards grants to active MOAA councils and chapters providing services to local military and veteran families — either directly or through partnerships with other community organizations — in one of 10 areas of critical military and veteran family need: housing, food assistance, employment, health (including behavioral health), family support, community reintegration, financial assistance, legal assistance, transportation, and crisis relief.


To date, the Community Outreach Grant program has awarded nearly 200 grants totaling more than $550,000 through its seven annual cycles. To learn more about The MOAA Foundation and its programs and how you can donate, visit


This year’s grant application opens Dec. 1 and closes Feb. 29. Councils and chapters interested in applying can find grant criteria, reporting requirements, and the application at


Note for Councils and Chapters with MOAA Liability Insurance Policies

MOAA’s Chapter Liability Insurance Plan is available through the current carrier until Dec. 31, 2023. Should your chapter bind a new or renewal policy prior to that date, the policy will be in-force for one year from the effective date.


AMBA has evaluated several carriers and selected a new carrier, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, to continue to provide this valuable coverage with minimal disruptions. You will receive application instructions from AMBA via email, or mail if no email address is on file, approximately 75 days prior to your current policy’s expiration date.


If you have any questions or would like to apply for a new policy, contact AMBA at (800) 503-9227, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, or by email at


Surviving Spouse Corner: Facing Your Holiday Blues

The holiday season can be especially challenging for those who’ve lost a loved one.


By Pat Green, MOAA Surviving Spouse Advisory Council member


The holiday season is a time of joy. It’s a time of get-togethers with family and friends. But it also can be the perfect storm of events and emotions. For those suffering the loss of a spouse, it might be overwhelming and a time of dread.


Some have a fear of going to a party alone, of becoming emotional, or being alone and lonely on days that used to hold so many happy memories. Others worry the weight of carrying their grief is visible and contagious. A few are trying to decide how much jolliness is appropriate, what lessons about grief and coping they are teaching their children and grandchildren, and whether the absence of decor and tradition signal the sadness and depression that surrounds us.


All these considerations can weigh one down, and the numbness sets in.


Fortunately, there are some coping skills that work.


Find your comfort zone. Initially, you might feel you want to cocoon, and be antisocial. For most of us, crying is necessary. A lot of crying is best done privately. You also need time to focus on your health and happiness. Maybe you sit out the holidays. Eventually though, you must …


Embrace change. After a necessary (your time frame) grieving period, accept the reality that no holiday will be the same again, and adjust.


Instead of the big holiday dinner at your house, take the family out. If i’s affordable, rent a cabin in the woods or a house at the beach. Assign dishes for each guest to bring. Announce that your only responsibility is the turkey, gravy, and dressing. Relax. Do things simply.


If you and your spouse hosted an annual holiday cocktail party, and you feel up to entertaining, do something different. Alcohol is a depressant, and tears are harder to hold back if you’ve been drinking. Have a cookie-sharing party or a neighborhood open house.


Decorate, but keep it simple. Guests will enjoy the party whether your tree is 5 feet or 15 feet tall. A wreath trimmed with a red ribbon on the front door might be all you have the energy for, and it’s enough!


Ask the leadership of your church, temple, or mosque for suggestions for changes in rites or religious ceremonies. Possibly a family member can assume the role your spouse held in presiding over a customary event.


If you are truly alone, find your solace and your footing in helping others. This will be a difficult time, but good times will follow. Many of us have been in your shoes. As you now know, that is why we are called “surviving spouses.”


Read past Surviving Spouse Corners.


Did You Know?

New Leader Checklist: As new leaders take office in your affiliate, be sure they review this important document from national MOAA that highlights important steps and resources for their success. Download the PDF here.


Webinar on Incorporation and Tax Exemption: View this specialized training from MOAA General Counsel Maj. Gen. Joseph G. Lynch, USAF (Ret). The webinar provides valuable information for those wishing to learn more about the procedures for obtaining exemption recognition, annual filing requirements, and other pertinent information regarding the tax status for your affiliate organization. Watch the webinar.


Upcoming Events

Monthly Chapter Leader Virtual Roundtable: Join us Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. Eastern for a discussion about national board service. Join here at the time of the meeting (ID: 286 371 292 96; Passcode: hYnwq6).


Find a complete list of Council and Chapter Affairs events online.


From the Field

MOAA chapters give back to their communities through fundraising efforts, community-service projects, scholarship programs, and other initiatives. Here are some recent activities.


The Lake and Sumter Counties (Fla.) Chapter presented six local JROTC cadets with scholarships during a ceremony Nov. 8 at Eisenhower Recreation. The cadets are students at Eustis, Leesburg, Mount Dora, South Lake, South Sumter, and Umatilla high schools.


The Tampa (Fla.) Chapter held its quarterly “Thriving After the Military” event in November to help servicemembers of all ranks and their families with the transition from military life. The goal of the event is to provide assistance and guidance in the areas of family and community involvement.


The Northern Neck (Va.) Chapter hosted a Veterans Day luncheon in November. Sen. Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke during the event and answered questions from attendees.


National MOAA Travel Schedule

Here are the councils and chapters MOAA leaders will be visiting over the next few months.

Contact the associated chapter if you would like to attend any of the following scheduled visits:

  • Dec. 2, Kansas Council of Chapters, Lawrence, Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret), Government Relations
  • Dec. 5, Portland Area (Ore.) Chapter, Clackamas, Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), MOAA president and CEO
  • Dec. 7, Bloomington Area (Ind.) Chapter, Bloomington, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), Council and Chapter Affairs (CCA)
  • Dec. 7, Citrus County (Fla.) Chapter, Hernando, Capt. Jim Carman, USN (Ret), Council/Chapter and Member Support
  • Dec. 7, Michigan Council of Chapters, Belmont, Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, USCG (Ret), BoD
  • Dec. 9, Pennsylvania Council of Chapters, Annville, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Dec. 13, Charlotte Harbor (Fla.) Chapter, Punta Gorda, Lt. Col. Marcantonio J. Oliveri, USA (Ret), board of directors (BoD)
  • Dec. 14, Heart of Texas Chapter, Waco, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Dec. 14, Southwest Virginia Chapter, Salem, Speaker TBD
  • Dec. 17, Lower Hudson Valley (N.Y.) Chapter, Hartsdale, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 9. Alabama Council of Chapters, Montgomery, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 11, Alamo (Texas) Chapter and Blue Skies Satellite, San Antonio, Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), MOAA president and CEO
  • Jan. 25, Star Fort (S.C.) Chapter, Greenwood, Col. Theodore J. Janosko USA (Ret), BoD
  • Jan. 25-27, Florida Council of Chapters Leadership Training Symposium, Orlando, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA, and MOAA staff


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