March 2019 Council and Chapter News

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

March 2019  
 
 
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 criteria closely before sending your submission. New this year, to help streamline the submission process, entries will be accepted through an online submission platform.

 

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.

 
Support Council and Chapter Community Outreach Programs
 

March is the final month of the community outreach online giving campaign. Donate today!

 

Through its community outreach grant program, the MOAA Foundation offers grants each year to MOAA councils and chapters that are actively engaged in helping military and veteran families within their communities. Like the MOAA Scholarship Fund, the MOAA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, relies on year-round donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations to fund these types of programs.

 

During February and March, individuals who would like to support the community outreach grant program may donate at www.moaa.org/foundation, and 100 percent of all donations made during that online giving campaign will support the grant program.

 

In 2018, 19 MOAA councils/chapters received grants of up to $5,000 to support their participation in a wide range of community outreach programs. These included the establishment of a veterans’ court in Montana; refurbishment of Camp Hometown Heroes in Wisconsin for the children of fallen military members; an adaptive snow sports program in Maine; and six different military and veteran outreach programs in Florida.

 

Please help us support these wonderful MOAA council/chapter community outreach programs by donating online now.

 
MOAA’s Testifying; You’re Invited
 

MOAA’s Senior Director for Government Relations, Cmdr. René Campos, USN (Ret), will testify on March 12 before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. Campos will present MOAA’s 2019 priorities with other military and veteran service organizations.

 

As MOAA members, we know you never stop serving. And because of your commitment to our nation’s veterans, their families, and survivors, we’d like you to join us. The hearing is open to the public and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Eastern in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50. While we cannot offer travel reimbursement for this event, MOAA will recognize the members in attendance during Campos’ remarks.

 

If you are interested in attending, please contact Caitlin Hamon or Jamie Naughton at legis@moaa.org for more information. MOAA recommends parking at Union Station and cabbing over to the Dirksen building. For those unable to attend, you can stream the hearing online.

 
Nominate Your Surviving Spouse Liaison
 

Nominations for the 2018 Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award are due by May 1.

 

Councils and chapters have until May 1 to submit nominations the 2019 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 spouse members. The surviving spouse liaison does not have to be a surviving spouse but must be assigned to the surviving spouse liaison position within the council or chapter. The recipient of the award will be recognized nationally. Download the nomination form and instructions.

 
Mail Your Letters to Congressional Leaders
 

Please sign, seal, stamp, and mail the blue-colored letters in the March issue of Military Officer to the pre-addressed 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” and urge your legislators to end the widows tax.

 
Tell Us About Your Chapter’s Activities
 

MOAA chapters are involved in many community-service projects and fundraising efforts, and we want to hear about them! Email articles and photos about your activities to Contributing Editor Blair Drake at blaird@moaa.org. Your chapter could be highlighted on MOAA’s communication channels.

 
Surviving Spouse Corner: Planning for the Future

These conversations can be difficult, but they are a priceless gift to your family after you’re gone.

 

By Anne Hartline, chair, Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee

 

Planning for the future includes having financial affairs in order, sharing your personal affairs with your family, and keeping important documents together in an accessible place. Discussing information about handling business after your death is one of life’s most difficult tasks. However, making preparations and sharing with your spouse, children, or the executor of your estate is a priceless gift. Frequently, spouses have the perspective that sharing this information would burden their loved one. However, avoiding these preparations creates a cruel weight that can cause much anxiety at a most difficult time.

 

MOAA has available several helpful publications that can be completed and shared with your family. Personal Affairs Action Guide: A Personal Inventory for Peace of Mind is a workbook for servicemembers with space to list details essential for smooth transitions for survivors. Survivor’s Planning Guide , also designed for filling in the blanks, was created for surviving spouses. These guides are available for download on MOAA’s website. Life and Premium members can order hard copies from MOAA. One of the benefits of membership in MOAA is the availability of its many publications.

 

In addition to income, other financial information is critical knowledge to provide for survivors. Some considerations include determining how much income will be required for your spouse to maintain your current lifestyle. Your spouse will not inherit any VA disability benefits you are receiving. If you have elected to purchase the Survivor Benefit Program, your surviving spouse will receive a maximum 55 percent of your retired pay. Consider your spouse’s personal sources of income and the penalties for being single, including possible increases in health insurance and a greater tax rate on Social Security. Examine life insurance policies for beneficiaries. If you have named a charity or another inheritor, consider whether your spouse might need that money to pay bills.

 

Step up! Plan and share information as a priceless gift to your spouse and family!

 
Get Newsletter Content From National MOAA
 

Need some content to supplement your chapter’s newsletter? 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.

 
  • The New Hampshire Chapter  presented its annual Granite State Warrior Awards during a ceremony Jan. 26. The chapter created the annual award in 2011 to recognize individuals and organizations that make great contributions to the nation’s military services. This year’s recipients were World War II veteran Petty Officer 3rd Class Norman Langlois, USN, and HALO Maritime Defense Systems. Langlois graduated from a beauty academy after his service in the Navy and opened a small salon that later grew into the Empire Beauty Academy Inc. He always treated all veterans to a free hair styling at any of his locations, officials said. HALO Maritime Defense Systems builds maritime security systems to protect U.S. ports, naval bases, naval ships, and other vulnerable resources.

  • The Rainier (Wash.) Chapter  joined with several other local military groups to organize the third Washington state Patriotic Day Feb. 23 at Stadium High School in Tacoma. In addition to the event honoring the birth of George Washington, it included the Massing of the Colors, Junior ROTC cadets from several high schools, and America's First Corps Band. The mission of the event is to provide an opportunity for adults to evaluate their patriotism and to teach youth patriotism.

  • The Grand Strand (S.C.) Chapter  and the Greater St. Louis Chapter  both helped local Coast Guard families who were not receiving a paycheck because of the recent government shutdown. Members of the Grand Strand Chapter purchased and donated 20 $50 Walmart gift cards for families stationed in nearby Georgetown County, and members of the Greater St. Louis Chapter donated $1,260 in cash and in-kind contributions to assist Coast Guard families in their area. Read more about the efforts.