Recent news from The MOAA Newsletter. View previous editions of Council and Chapter News here.
New Policies and Procedures Guide
MOAA recently revised its Council and Chapter Policies and Procedures Guide, which outlines best practices for MOAA affiliates. The all-new guide provides detailed information and suggestions regarding the formation, organization, and management of MOAA state councils and local chapters. It includes clickable links to online resources, both at MOAA.org and through MOAA partners. Contact MOAA’s Member Service Center for a hard copy or download the PDF online.
Congratulations to MOAA’s Legislative and Surviving Spouse Liaison Winners!
The Colonel Steve Strobridge Legislative Chair/Liaison Award and Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award are awarded annually to outstanding leaders.
Each year, national MOAA recognizes one council or chapter legislative chair/liaison who has demonstrated superior service in support of the national and/or state legislative agenda. The recipient of this year’s Colonel Steve Strobridge Legislative Chair/Liaison Award is Lt. Col. Michelle “Shelly” Kalkowski, USAF (Ret), legislative liaison of the Colorado Council of Chapters.
Likewise, MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Advisory Council annually recognizes a surviving spouse liaison who has made outstanding contributions in the council’s mission to educate, encourage, and engage. The recipient of this year’s Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award is Mary Dunagan, of the Cape Canaveral (Fla.) Chapter.
Congratulations to both winners! Read more about them in the December issue of Military Officer magazine.
Surviving Spouse Corner: Preparing for the Unpredictable
You never know what’s coming next in life, but we all should be prepared for both the best and the worst.
By Gail Joyce, MOAA board member and Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter co-chair
Many women — and men — are blindsided by the death of a spouse, because couples rarely talk about the inevitable.
When you are at your most vulnerable, you must make choices that will have an enduring impact. Should the body be cremated or preserved? What type of service and where will it be held? Will he or she be buried in a hometown family plot or in a national cemetery many miles away?
To be better prepared for these difficult decisions, take time to have that important conversation with your spouse and your children about death and what happens after death. This conversation is a gift of love that each member of a marriage or family makes to the other.
Resources are available on MOAA.org and other websites that will help you have those conversations and make planning for the unknown perhaps a little easier. Find out who your local veteran service officer is, get to know them before you really need them, and then make sure they are the first on your list to contact.
Ask your chapter to schedule at least one meeting each year where these issues are discussed. MOAA, the Surviving Spouse Advisory Council, and your surviving spouse liaison can provide members with a wealth of information.
Steps to take:
- Encourage members and spouses to talk to each other about end-of-life issues and ways to prepare.
- Prepare and organize important documents (such as DD Form 214, wills, living will, durable power of attorney, insurance policies, birth/marriage certificates, passwords, bank account and investment information).
- Make sure utilities are in both names.
- Open a credit card account in your name.
- Establish eligibility for burial in a VA National Cemetery.
- Make a list of helpful resources, including MOAA, the VA, AARP, Military.com, Military OneSource, MOAA Minnesota Chapter “The Day After Calls,” MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter, and MOAA’s Surviving Spouses and Friends Facebook group.
As spouse and surviving spouse, it is important you think about yourself and your survivors and the things they will need to know. Be prepared!
Find more Surviving Spouse Corner entries at this link.
Upcoming MOAA State Legislative Forum Meeting
The MOAA State Legislative Forum will be held Oct. 20 from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Eastern. Council and chapter legislative chairs and legislative liaisons and other interested affiliate members may join the forum by emailing Don Wolfinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tom Robillard at email@example.com.
Best Practice for Connecting With Your Members
One MOAA chapter started a new program during the pandemic to check in on its members.
To keep in touch with its members during the COVID-19 pandemic, the MOAA Uniformed Services Nurse Advocates Virtual Chapter (MUSNAVC) enacted a “Buddy Check” program. Volunteers from the chapter split up the roster of almost 300 members and called each one on their list to see how they were doing and ask if they needed any assistance. With their members located in every state plus Puerto Rico, the chapter realized different levels of support existed for each member. Concerns were relayed to chapter leadership to offer assistance where practical, and several members requested continuing regular calls. In addition to the calls increasing morale and ensuring the safety of their members, an added bonus of this practice was that the chapter was able to discover outdated contact information and update it.
Do you have a best practice for connecting with your members? We’d love to hear about it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
USAA/MOAA Sponsorship Program Update
The 2020 USAA/MOAA Sponsorship Program has closed as of Oct. 1. The program helps MOAA councils and chapters fund special events and projects. Please check back early next year to apply for sponsorship for an event in calendar year 2021.
Chapters 2020: Virtually Together
Don’t miss the special 16-page section in the October issue of Military Officer highlighting the outstanding efforts of MOAA chapter members during a challenging year. In addition to showcasing how chapters are coming together virtually to continue their missions and highlighting affiliate leaders from across the country, the section provides helpful tips and resources.
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.
On Sept. 17, members of the Southwest Virginia Chapter, family, and friends gathered to dedicate a memorial bench at the Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin, Va., to recognize Lt. Col. James “Pat” Green, USA (Ret), one of the driving forces in getting the veterans cemetery established in Southwest Virginia. He died in October 2018.
Members of the Genesee Valley (N.Y.) Chapter helped place flags at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Memorial Day 2020. The chapter was one of seven organizations from the Veterans Memorial Council that helped honor veterans at that cemetery.
Members of the Upper Potomac (Md.) Chapter donated $8,100 to local food banks to support veterans and others in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the chapter donated $1,673 to the MOAA Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The donations came from the generosity of chapter members, many of whom donated all or a portion of the stimulus money they received through the CARES Act.