Recent news from The MOAA Newsletter.
Director’s Notes: Roster Updates
Affiliates that have not yet updated their rosters via the Committee Module are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’m filling in for Terri Coles this month, as she is currently out of the office.
I would like to congratulate all of the councils and chapters that updated their rosters via the Committee Module by the March 1 deadline. For those that have not yet completed their updates, please do so as soon as possible. While you no longer will receive the monetary incentive, you still will meet this annual requirement and assist us in accurately reflecting your membership.
We are committed to assisting you in this transition. The Instructional Guide (PDF) and Committee Module Training Webinar provide valuable information and are conveniently located on our website. Still need help? Give us a call, and we’ll walk you through it! We appreciate your feedback and will continue to refine the tool.
As always, I thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to meeting with you as we visit councils and chapters across the country!
— Lt. Col. Scott Wadle, USMC (Ret), program director, Council and Chapter Affairs
Surviving Spouse Corner: Suicide Prevention
Suicide affects all Americans, including veterans. Read about warning signs and resources to help those who might be struggling.
By Anne Hartline, member, Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee
Suicide affects all Americans — all genders, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that from 1999 through 2014, there was a 24-percent increase in suicide rates in the general population for both males and females. In 2014, an average of 20 veterans a day died from suicide. Of veterans who killed themselves, 65 percent were age 50 and older. VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin has stated suicide is a national public health crisis and has made suicide prevention his top clinical priority.
Knowing warning signs, asking a person directly about suicidal thoughts and plans, and telling someone who is trained to help are crucial to suicide prevention. Immediate help is needed for someone talking about killing himself/herself and has a plan to use a gun, pills, or other means. Another critical warning is someone talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide. Other warning signs include expressing feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, exhibiting dramatic mood changes, increasing use of alcohol and other drugs, and expressing having no reason for living.
Perhaps the biggest myth about suicide is that talking about it makes people more likely to kill themselves. In reality, asking people directly about suicide can bring it into the open and allow opportunity for intervention.
Suicide is not a secret to keep. Seek help from a licensed mental health professional. If the threat is critical, call 911 or take the person to a hospital emergency room. Help is available for veterans by calling the VA Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255, press 1. Chat online at www.veteranscrisisline.net or send a text message to 8382555 to receive confidential support 24/7, 365 days a year. Coaching Into Care is a VA national telephone service available to family and friends of veterans that provides mental health professionals to assist callers with determining the best way to get help for a veteran and how to navigate the VA system. Coaching also involves helping callers determine how to begin the conversation to motivate the veteran to seek treatment. Call (888) 823-7458, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
Levels of Excellence Award Submissions
May 1 is the deadline to submit your nomination entry for a Levels of Excellence Award. Find more details about this year’s competition.
Councils and chapters that want to be considered for a Levels of Excellence (LOE) Award need to submit a nomination entry by May 1. Please read the LOE Award procedures (PDF) closely before sending your submission. Entries should be emailed to email@example.com. If you have challenges attempting to send us your LOE entry by email, please call (800) 234-6622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A standard set of rating criteria will be used to evaluate all councils and chapters that submit a package. The very, very best councils or chapters receive a five-star award, and
above-average councils or chapters receive a four-star award.
Find details, best practices, and award criteria here.
Mail Your Letters to Congressional Leaders
The March issue of Military Officer included preaddressed letters to key congressional leaders asking them to take action on two important issues affecting military personnel. Send your letters today!
Please sign, seal, stamp, and mail the blue-colored letters inserted in the March issue of Military Officer to the preaddressed key congressional leaders. If your spouse is listed in your MOAA record, an additional four letters are included from her or him to sign and mail. Be a part of MOAA’s “One Powerful Voice” to keep military pay increases comparable to private-sector wages and end the deduction of service-earned retired pay from VA disability compensation.
Seeking Applicants for MOAA’s Board of Directors
This year, MOAA will elect a new class of the board of directors. The deadline to apply is March 31. Learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
This year, MOAA will elect a new class of the board of directors — 12 new directors who will succeed the 12 who will complete their service in October. MOAA directors serve one six-year term and must be MOAA members. Like the military services and veterans communities it represents, MOAA draws its strength from the diversity of its members. Our membership base consists of both men and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. It is important that MOAA’s board of directors be representative of that diversity. To achieve that objective, MOAA strongly encourages its minority members to apply for positions on the board of directors.
Those interested must submit their applications and letters of recommendation by March 31. Find eligibility requirements and additional details at www.moaa.org/boardapplication.
Send in Your Request for Mercer’s Advertising Program
MOAA Insurance Plans is accepting advertising requests now through April 30 for its advertising program for councils and chapters. If a MOAA chapter would like to place the Mercer digital or print advertisement in its newsletter, the chapter will receive a payment of $100. Learn more.
Tip of the Hat
MOAA chapters give back to their communities through fundraising efforts, community-service projects, scholarship programs, and other initiatives. Here are some recent chapter activities.
The General William Smallwood (Md.) Chapter donated during its Jan. 27 luncheon meeting $100 to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) Inc. PHWFF provides rehabilitative fly-fishing programs for disabled active duty servicemembers and disabled veterans. Chapter President Col. Dan Donohue, USMCR (Ret), presented the donation to PHWFF President and CEO Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, USMC (Ret).
The Paul Revere (Mass.) Chapter awarded an academic scholarship to Marc J. Poirier in January. Poirier’s accomplishments include high honors at Saint Joseph's College in Maine, where he’s majoring in exercise science, with dual minors in biology and chemistry. His goal is to enter medical school in fall 2018; he recently was accepted at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania. Poirier also is an applicant to receive a commission with the U.S. Navy, enrolled in their Health Profession Scholarship Program.
The Greater St. Louis Chapter took on two fundraising efforts for Christmas 2017: Toys for Tots and the 100 Neediest Cases (sponsored by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Chapter members presented $885 and a variety of toys to Sgt. Taylor Woods, USMC, with Toys for Tots, and gift cards totaling $1,163 to a veteran’s family introduced through the newspaper.