July 2019 Council and Chapter News

Recent news from The MOAA Newsletter. View previous editions of Council and Chapter News here.

July 2019  
Tips for Meeting With Your Legislators

Start preparing now for upcoming August congressional recess meetings with your elected officials.

In August, legislators will return to their home districts and meet with constituents. Council and chapter leaders are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with their elected officials to help further MOAA’s legislative objectives. Your voice is essential because legislators want to hear from you, their constituents. Schedule a visit, and meet face-to-face. Some elected legislators might even welcome an opportunity to address an entire chapter.

Preparation for this meeting is key to its success. Here are some tips:

  • Familiarize yourself with MOAA’s positions on significant issues that might arise. Visit MOAA’s Take Action Center for legislative campaigns, contact information for elected officials, and much more.
  • Know a legislator’s position on those issues, and be aware of committee assignments and major legislation in which the legislator has shown particular interest. Call MOAA’s Member Service Center at (800) 234-MOAA (6622) or email legis@moaa.org for the latest status on an issue, a legislator’s cosponsorship status, and advice on how you might approach a legislator on a particular issue.
  • Make sure a legislator understands the purpose of a visit before a meeting. Every lawmaker deals with a wide variety of legislative issues and cannot be expected to be an expert on every one of them.
  • Become acquainted with the legislator’s local office staff, especially those with responsibility in areas of interest to MOAA members. Don’t consider it a put-down if you don’t get to visit a legislator in person. They are busy and rely on staff for advice.
  • If a meeting with a legislator involves a chapter visit, reserve time for a question-and-answer period. Provide a legislator with advance notice of the kinds of questions or issues he or she should be prepared to address during a visit. Key questions should be prepared in advance and given to designated chapter members to ensure the session is productive.

Final Call for Legislative Chair Award Nominations

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. Send questions and submit the completed nomination form and recommendation letter by July 31 to legis@moaa.org.

MOAA Caribbean Cruise

The Maryland Council of Chapters is hosting a 12-night Southern Caribbean cruise departing Jan. 11 from the Port of Baltimore.

The Maryland Council of Chapters is sponsoring through MOAA Vacations a 12-night cruise out of the Port of Baltimore departing Jan. 11, 2020. Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas will sail from the Port of Baltimore to the Southern Caribbean, with port calls at St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands), St. Maarten (Netherlands), St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Kitts/Nevis.

Planned events on board (at no additional cost to members) will include a welcome reception, a cocktail party, optional daily programs at sea, a film night (where we'll be selecting the film), military stories (told by members of the group), a number of competitions, and other activities and tours.

Rates start as low as $899 per person (double occupancy, inside stateroom) and $1,079 per person (double occupancy, ocean view). MOAA Vacations has a limited number of rooms available at these rates. To book your room, call (800) 211-5107 or complete an online booking form. You can also reach MOAA Vacations via email at mail@MOAAvac.com.

MOAA Vacations trips and cruises generate income for your chapter. For this cruise, each cabin reservation (in any state) will earn $50 per cabin paid directly to your chapter. MOAA members can bring along family and friends, which also generates the $50 chapter commission per cabin. This $50 is in addition to the annual revenue share MOAA Vacations distributes to chapters. Your chapter receives 1 percent of the revenue from any cruise or tour booked through MOAA Vacations.

Surviving Spouse Corner: Resources for Caregivers

It’s important caregivers also take time to care for themselves. Community resources can help with that.

By Barbara Smith, Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee member

When you learn your loved one is debilitated/terminal, your life has changed forever. It can affect you physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. Life as you knew it will never be the same.

The seven stages of a terminal illness are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and finally acceptance, but they don't proceed in a linear fashion. Buckle up. It will be a bumpy ride.

A caretaker’s job is challenging. The days are long, and the nights can be longer. Your life is filled with endless doctor appointments, tests, and emergency room visits. You still have bills to pay, food to prepare, sheets to change, medicines to give.

It's important to still give your loved one hope, and you must take care of yourself. Don't draw away from family and friends. Accept help. It is very important you find time for yourself to recharge your batteries, as you are no use to your loved one if you become unable to provide the care required.   

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes initiative, which has partnered with MOAA to create the Caregiver Guide, offers many community resources for military caregivers. Use home health care services, senior citizens centers, your church, your clubs, and friends. Hospitals also are good at helping you find resources for nurses, palliative care, and hospice depending on your insurance.

At the end of your journey, you will be so happy you had the time and could care for your loved one.

Get Newsletter Content From National MOAA

Need some content to supplement your chapter’s newsletter or to get a newsletter started? The White Label 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.

  • This spring, the Southwest Illinois Chapter donated four large loads of food, household, and personal-care items for Fisher House at Jefferson Barracks and the St. Louis USO at Lambert Field. Additionally, members of the chapter, plus St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, contributed over $6,000 between the two sites.
  • The Sarasota Military Officers Foundation, an affiliate of the Sarasota (Fla.) Chapter, held its annual Scholars Dinner at the Bird Key Yacht Club May 10. Rear Adm. Brian McCarthy, SC, USN (Ret), past president of the chapter and executive director of the foundation, awarded 13 $2,000 scholarships and certificates of merit to local graduating students.
  • Lewis and Clark (Wash.) Chapter members Capt. George Stotz, USA (Ret); former Marine Corps Capt. Pat Kenny; Lt. Cmdr. Don Wicks, USN (Ret); and Lt. Col. Ron Weed, USAF (Ret), provided a veteran presence at the Kennewick High School Junior ROTC Ball in May. Weed also gave an inspirational presentation on leadership and then presented the MOAA JROTC Leadership award to Cadet Abigail Cole.
  • The Western Connecticut Chapter presented its 44th annual Young American Award banquet June 9. The function honored 31 exceptional high school seniors from across Fairfield County, Conn., for their excellence in academics, extracurricular activities, community service, and overall leadership. This year, 11 of the 31 students were awarded $12,000 in scholarships made possible by donations from corporate sponsors, businesses, and individual chapter members.