By Blair Drake, Contributing Editor
Former Army Capt. Thomas Bell enjoys doing all he can to help the veterans’ community — and he certainly does a lot. In addition to serving as president of the Los Alamitos (Calif.) Chapter of MOAA, he serves on the steering committee of the Orange County Veterans and Military Family Collaborative, chairs the military affairs committee of the Sea Beach Lions Club, assists the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum with AH-1F Cobra helicopter rides in Southern California, and volunteers with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, among other activities.
His volunteer efforts and continued service to the military and veterans’ community have not gone unnoticed. In 2019, he was named Veteran of the Year for the 72nd Assembly District in California.
“I was really surprised,” Bell says of the recognition. “There are so many of us [veterans] here, especially from the Vietnam era, doing great work. It’s phenomenal.”
[RELATED: MOAA's Council and Chapter Resources]
He recognizes that all of his volunteer efforts combined are more than a full-time job but says it’s the people who motivate him.
“I was a banker for many years,” Bell says. “I’m not sitting behind a desk anymore. I’m meeting all these different groups and attending different functions. It keeps me going.”
These connections also help him spread awareness about MOAA. “I’m trying to bring MOAA out to everyone,” he explains. “I talk to every officer I see and ask whether they are a member of MOAA. My main goal is to expand MOAA membership, so if I find someplace or somehow to represent MOAA, I do it.”