May 2021 Council and Chapter News

May 2021 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’s Best Communicators

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Col. Marvin J. Harris Communications Award contest!


In the 2020 Col. Marvin J. Harris Communications Award contest, MOAA affiliates competed in two categories of competition: print and e-newsletters and websites.


All told, 210 councils and chapters received five-star awards for their exemplary communication efforts, and seven councils and chapters received four-star awards for their outstanding efforts.


View the list of winners at Congratulations to MOAA’s top communicators!


Participate in MOAA’s Signature Advocacy Event

Each year, MOAA members from across the U.S. join together to connect with their legislators on issues affecting the military community. For the second year, this advocacy campaign will be virtual. Learn more about the three topics and how you can get involved at


Join MOAA’s State Legislative Exchange Forum

If you serve as a legislative chair or liaison, or just want to become better informed or more active in state legislative advocacy, consider joining MOAA’s State Legislative Exchange Forum. Almost 100 active council and chapter members from 33 states currently join the virtual forum every quarter to discuss best practices in advancing state legislation that affects military members.


The next meeting will take place July 14 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. For more information or to attend, contact Col. Tom Robillard, USAF (Ret), at or Lt. Col. Don Wolfinger, USA (Ret), at


Recognize Your Chapter Leaders

The deadline is approaching to nominate your chapter’s surviving spouse liaison and legislative chair/liaison for national MOAA awards.


Nominations for the Colonel Steve Strobridge Legislative Chair/Liaison Award and the Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award are both due by June 1. 


The Colonel Steve Strobridge Legislative Chair/Liaison Award recognizes one MOAA council or chapter legislative chair/liaison who has demonstrated superior service in support of the national and/or state legislative agenda. Download the full award criteria and nomination form.


The Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award is presented annually to a surviving spouse liaison who is a member of MOAA and who has made outstanding contributions to a MOAA council or chapter in support of surviving spouse members. Download the nomination form and instructions.


Surviving Spouse Corner: Resources for Surviving Spouses

MOAA offers numerous resources and benefits to assist military surviving spouses.


By Barbara Smith, Surviving Spouse Advisory Council member


As a surviving spouse and a member of MOAA, you have access to a host of people who are there to guide you through any difficulties or questions you might have. MOAA exists to protect military benefits and to offer you resources which cannot be found elsewhere.


MOAA membership is 350,000 strong, of which 16% are surviving spouses. Experts in the Washington, D.C., area advocate for legislation benefiting our community; they are equally vigilant when fighting legislation that would harm our benefits.


You are encouraged to visit, where you can sign up to receive The MOAA Newsletter and choose areas of most interest to you, such health care and earned benefits, finance, and spouse and family.


On the homepage when you see the prompt “I AM A,” scroll down and click on "Surviving Spouse," which will lead you to the Surviving Spouse Page. This site provides information relevant to our community.


MOAA has a Surviving Spouse Advisory Council (SSAC) consisting of eight surviving spouses advocating for issues and concerns of interest to our community. Email with any questions or concerns you may have.


MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter meets once a month and is open to all MOAA surviving spouses and surviving spouse liaisons. Speakers cover important information regarding issues and concerns one month and the next is an open forum meeting taking questions and hearing concerns of attendees. Learn more about the chapter, including how to join.


Additionally, MOAA’s Surviving Spouses and Friends Facebook group provides information, answers questions, and offers an opportunity to interact with others traveling the same course.  Although not sponsored by MOAA, another Facebook group, DIC Surviving Spouses & Friends, is open to all surviving spouses who receive or who have questions regarding Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (Get more from MOAA on DIC at this link).


Check out your local MOAA chapter where you can meet new people and other surviving spouses. Some of our events have speakers on a variety of subjects that might interest or concern you, with some other events providing entertainment. Most chapters have a surviving spouse liaison who is there to assist you with any issues or concerns you might have or just to provide some comfort or a sounding board. 


Read past Surviving Spouse Corners.


Plan Your Vacation With MOAA

Through MOAA Vacations, members have access to exclusive travel events, plus chapter members can earn money for their affiliates.


Are you ready to vacation and spend time with other MOAA members again? Would you like to earn money for your chapter by doing so? Learn more about MOAA Vacations’ most popular vacations, the MOAA Signature Groups.


These twice-a-year groups are exclusively for MOAA members and their guests and have a number of features no other trip can provide. They are hosted by MOAA leadership and MOAA staff to ensure a stress-free experience and include multiple exclusive MOAA events. Cruise from Nuremburg to Vienna this December on a European Holiday Markets cruise hosted by MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), and Chairman of the Board Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp, USA (Ret).


Check out all the 2021 and 2022 MOAA Signature groups at


Did you know that your chapter always earns a 1% royalty when chapter members book travel through MOAA Vacations, our affinity travel partner? As a limited-time special bonus, if a chapter member books any 2021 or 2022 MOAA Signature Group in May or June, your chapter will receive an immediate $50 donation. This is in addition to the year-end 1% royalty. 


MOAA Vacations President Jon Brenneman will provide website banners and links, newsletter advertisements, videos, handouts, and flyers to help chapters get the word out to their members. For questions or additional information, email or call (800) 211-5107.  


Advertise MOAA Insurance in Your Chapter Newsletter and Earn $100

Did you know that Mercer Insurance will pay you $100 just for including an advertisement for MOAA Insurance in your chapter newsletter? Simply send an email to the company point of contact before May 31. Find more information and instructions.


Get Newsletter Content From National MOAA

Need some content to supplement your chapter’s newsletter? The White Label Newsletter Template includes information, articles, and helpful tips from national MOAA that already are formatted for inclusion in your newsletter. The content is updated every month to ensure you are receiving timely, relevant information.   


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.


Since 2014, the Mid-Missouri Chapter has been holding a “Pass the Hat” program at its quarterly social functions to collect funds for various military causes. Despite COVID-19 restrictions preventing the chapter from meeting in-person last year, members continued their generosity and donated $1,150 to the Salvation Army during their Red Kettle Campaign at the end of 2020.


The Northwest Arkansas Chapter hosted a flagpole dedication in April at Ozark Catholic Academy. Navy Cmdr. David Louk, USN (Ret), and his wife, Patsy, donated the flagpole. Commander Louk, flag education coordinator for the chapter, spoke about the history, protocol, and meaning of the flag during the event. More than 70 students attended.


The Black Hills (S.D.) Chapter presented a certificate of appreciation to the VA Black Hills Health Care System at Fort Meade, S.D., in March. Chapter member Col. Jim Cowan, USAF (Ret), was so impressed by his experience with the health system’s drive-through inoculation program, that he suggested to chapter leaders that the chapter create and present to the VA Black Hills Health Care System the certificate of appreciation for the outstanding work.


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