April 2022 Council and Chapter News

April 2022 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 blaird@moaa.org for possible inclusion in future editions.


Mail Your Letters to Congressional Leaders

Please sign, seal, stamp, and mail the blue-colored letters in the April issue of Military Officer to the preaddressed key congressional leaders. Join MOAA members nationwide to ask lawmakers to support the Major Richard Star Act (S. 344) and ensure it’s included in the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which would support more than 50,300 combat-injured veterans by allowing concurrent receipt of vested longevity pay and VA disability. And don't forget to engage with your lawmakers on this topic and others using MOAA's new Legislative Action Center.


Final Call for Levels of Excellence Award Entries

The deadline for this year’s program is May 1. Send in your nomination today!


Councils and chapters that want to be considered for a Levels of Excellence Award need to submit a nomination by May 1.


A standard set of rating criteria will be used to evaluate all councils and chapters that submit a package. Last year, 162 councils and chapters earned 5-star awards. Your council or chapter could be among the winners recognized at a dinner in Kansas City later this year. Find criteria and nomination form.


Nominate Your Surviving Spouse Liaison

Councils and chapters have until June 1 to submit nominations for the 2022 Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award. The 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 spouses. Download the nomination form and instructions.


Nominate Your Legislative Chair/Liaison

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. Submit the completed nomination form and recommendation letter by June 1 to chapters@moaa.org.


Did You Know? Access Archived Video Presentations

Council and chapter leaders can view past volunteer leader training events, including webinars, monthly roundtables, leader workshops, and more. Login/password might be required for some materials. Click here to access the archived presentations.


Community Outreach Ideas

If you council or chapter is looking for ways to get more involved in your community, MOAA offers a list of ideas to get you started. From supporting ROTC and Junior ROTC programs and establishing scholarships to volunteering with Honor Flight and local Stand Downs, there are countless ways your chapter can give back locally. Find stories highlighting the work of your fellow chapters on MOAA.org.


Tell us about your chapter’s community service efforts by emailing blaird@moaa.org.


MOAA Store and ROTC/Junior ROTC Items

The MOAA store has re-opened at https://moaa.estore.shop/. In addition to promotional gear, you can find ROTC and Junior ROTC (JROTC) award certificates (in stock now) and medals (place orders now for backorders to be shipped when medals are in stock, expected by the end of April). Electronic certificates may be customized and downloaded online at any time. Note that medals have been updated to reflect all eight uniformed services, and JROTC certificates have been updated with language more appropriate to high school students rather than ROTC students.


The cost of medals to affiliates will remain at $3.00 per medal due to a MOAA subsidy. Additionally, the store recently added the USPS live rate to shipping options, providing a lower-cost alternative.


Crisis Relief Is Now Available Through The MOAA Foundation

Here are some key details on how you can help when a crisis strikes your area.


In response to the success of the COVID-19 Relief Fund and gaps in service for several groups in the military and veteran community, The MOAA Foundation recently established a Crisis Relief program that provides $500 grants to qualifying active duty servicemembers and veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors facing financial difficulties caused by a national or local crisis or natural disaster.


MOAA’s councils and chapters were key components in the success of the COVID-19 Relief Fund Emergency Financial Grants. Those who needed help during the pandemic were able to find assistance due to council and chapter volunteers working in their local areas to identify those in the uniformed services and veteran communities. Similarly, the Crisis Relief program is designed for our councils and chapters to play key roles in assisting our community quickly and effectively.


We hope you’ll join us once again in helping those who need it most when a crisis or natural disaster strikes.


With guidance from our board of directors, the foundation has defined a crisis as a natural disaster, catastrophic event, or other emergency that is out of the span of control of the affected individuals. Examples of emergency events include unpredictable natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, winter freezes, floods, hurricanes, and pandemics. Crisis situations can include a sudden death, unforeseen accident, house fires, and more. Geographic areas where a state of emergency has been declared will receive funding priority.


The fund primarily will be used to deploy grants quickly to those in areas where a state of emergency has been declared and crisis situations where rapid assistance is imperative. We also will remain ready to review and approve applications on a case-by-case basis for individuals in other acute crisis situations not outlined above.


Our application and vetting process has been modeled after the process established to distribute COVID-19 Emergency Financial Relief funds. Council and chapter volunteers can fill out a verification form on behalf of an applicant and submit it to The MOAA Foundation to expedite funding requests. We will match the verification form with the appropriate application for review. Our goal is to have qualifying applications evaluated and grants awarded as quickly as possible.


We realize time is of the essence for those living through a crisis or picking up the pieces after a natural disaster. That is why The MOAA Foundation staff will alert councils and chapters if a state of emergency has been declared in your area. Our goal is to get relief to those who need it most when it’s needed most.


You can find more information about the program, including eligibility requirements, at https://www.moaa.org/crisisreliefgrant. For questions on how to participate, email relief@moaa.org.


Opportunity to Earn Money Through MOAA Vacations

MOAA Vacations is a travel benefit operated by MOAA’s partner Brennco. In addition to saving members money, offering free amenities, and facilitating travel with fellow members as part of larger MOAA groups, MOAA Vacations supports MOAA on both a national and local chapter level. Whenever a member, their family, or their friends travel through MOAA Vacations, 1% of the commission we receive is given back to their requested local chapter each year.


Now there is a limited chance to earn even more. There are 12 remaining cabins on the MOAA Group Douro River Cruise, June 5-12, 2022. MOAA Vacations will pay your chapter a $500 bonus commission if you can help sell one cabin to your members. This is in addition to the annual 1% renumeration. 

Find more information on the cruise at www.brennco.com/MOAAVACATIONS/TMF.


Surviving Spouse Corner: Reflections of a Surviving Spouse Liaison

A chapter leader shares insights, challenges, and successes from her six years as surviving spouse liaison.


By Barbara Smith, first vice chair, Surviving Spouse Advisory Council


Serving for the past six years as my chapter’s surviving spouse liaison has been a learning experience. When I first started in the role, I discovered there wasn’t any information or description for this undertaking. The chapter had over 60 surviving spouses (then called auxiliary members), but we didn’t have a separate list of them. That became my first job. I wrote a letter introducing myself and letting them know I was available for any assistance they might need. I also shared what I hoped to accomplish in the coming year (which at that time wasn’t much). 


In 2016, I was honored to receive national MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award.  At the ceremony, I met the most fascinating group of ladies, the Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee (now Council). One of the members, Pat Farnsworth, became my mentor. She has always been available to me and has given me the confidence I needed to do this job.


Over the years, I have tried to include surviving spouses in the chapter’s monthly meetings.  Every May, we have a surviving spouse/spouse appreciation luncheon at our regular chapter meeting with a program designed for them. I didn’t feel that was enough, so now we have a quarterly luncheon for surviving spouses/spouses with emphasis on issues and problems that are of interest to them.


At the end of the year, I send out a letter sharing what we have accomplished concerning surviving spouse issues and share what MOAA has on their legislative agenda for us. I try to attend all funerals to let spouses know I’m here for them.


Four years after being appointed to this position, I was elected to the chapter board. This allows me to vote, which I believe is a very important step forward.


I was honored in 2018 to become a member of national MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Advisory Council. This has been an incredible experience. I have learned so much, which I have shared with my local chapter. I have also joined the MOAA Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter, which is open to all surviving spouses and surviving spouse liaisons.


It has been my privilege to fill this position. I have met some inspiring women, shared some wonderful stories, and made memories and some dear friends.


I am beginning my seventh and final year as surviving spouse liaison. It is my hope that someone will step forward and bring a new look and fresh ideas to our chapter.


Read past Surviving Spouse Corners.


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.


The Northwest Arkansas Chapter hosted Maj. Gen. Kendall W. Penn, adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard, as guest speaker at the chapter’s February meeting. Penn, who oversees both Army and Air National Guard units in Arkansas, spoke of the increasingly complex and diverse missions of the National Guard in Arkansas and its contribution to national security and health and safety in Arkansas.


The Cape Cod (Mass.) Chapter donated $500 to the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center (CIVOC) in Hyannis, Mass. The donation will support CIVOC's efforts to assist veterans of all eras with programs such as transitional housing for homeless veterans, homelessness prevention, counseling, a food pantry, and community awareness programs. Each year, the CIVOC serves over 1,000 veterans.


Upcoming Events

Monthly Chapter Leader Virtual Roundtable: Click here to join us April 28 at 7 p.m., Eastern time.  Topic TBD.


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


National MOAA Travel Schedule

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


Please note: We are aware of the uncertainty surrounding the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus. We are still planning to execute scheduled chapter visits and continue to schedule visits as requests come in. Our rule of thumb at this point (subject to change) is to make the visit only if all required/appropriate safety measures are in place AND the traveler is fully vaccinated and comfortable with the trip. Chapters with scheduled visits are requested to inform Council and Chapter Affairs of the local conditions and safety requirements one week prior to the visit.


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

  • April 3, NYS Capital District (N.Y.) Chapter, Albany, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), Council and Chapter Affairs (CCA)
  • April 10, Pittsburgh Chapter, Pittsburgh, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), director, CCA
  • April 19, Fourstate (Mo.) Chapter, Webb City, Capt. Erin E. Stone JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, CCA
  • April 21, Totah (N.M.) Chapter, Farmington, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), director, CCA
  • April 22, Northwest Arkansas Chapter, Fayetteville, Capt. Erin E. Stone JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, CCA
  • April 28, Wichita Falls (Texas) Chapter, Wichita Falls, Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, CCA
  • April 30, Houston Area (Texas) Chapter, Pear Land, Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, CCA
  • May 4, Greater Birmingham (Ala.) Chapter, Birmingham, Gail Joyce, MOAA board of directors (BoD)
  • May 10, Minnesota Chapter, St. Paul, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), director, CCA
  • May 11, Public Health Service Virtual Chapter, Karen Ruedisueli, director, Health Affairs, Government Relations
  • May 11, Susquehanna Chapter (Md.), virtual, Gail Joyce, MOAA BoD
  • May 14, Pennsylvania Council of Chapters, Harrisburg, Capt. Jim Carman, USN (Ret), vice president, Council/Chapter and Member Support
  • May 15, North Shore and Chicago Chapter, Arlington Heights, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, President and CEO
  • May 16, Keystone Capital (Pa.) Chapter, Camp Hill, Capt. Jim Carman, USN (Ret), vice president, Council/Chapter and Member Support
  • May 16, Southern Nevada Chapter, Las Vegas, Gail Joyce, MOAA BoD
  • May 18, Blue Ridge (Ga.) Mountains Chapter, Murphy, N.C., Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), director, CCA
  • May 19, Willow Grove (Pa.) Chapter, Willow Grove, Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, CCA
  • May 20, Southeastern New England (R.I.) Chapter, Newport, Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, CCA
  • May 20, Piedmont Virginia Chapter, Farmville, Capt. Frank Michael, USN (Ret), director, CCA
  • May 24, Paul Revere (Mass.) Chapter, location TBD, Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, CCA


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