2015 HIGHLIGHTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
MOAA CENTRAL OHIO CHAPTER
“Supporting Service Members and Veterans”
Surviving Spouse 32
Supporting members 74
We continuously encouraged support of MOAA efforts to positively influence pro-military legislation in Washington to protect service members’ earned military benefits.
Some of the pending legislation included efforts to avoid a Medicare/TRICARE cut, to end sequestration, to continue to fund TRICARE, to support TRICARE and military pay, and housing, and to avoid prematurely overhauling military retirement. Each month, we advocated Chapter membership learning more about current legislation MOAA supports at http://capwiz.com/moaa/issues/bills and at http://capwiz.com/moaa/issues/?style=D.
Chapter representatives established liaison with local Members of Congress to emphasize and support MOAA goals.
Four quarterly e-mails were forwarded to the membership that included weekly MOAA legislative affairs updates, the list of 2015 MOAA legislative goals, and numerous calls to action alerts for our members.
We encouraged membership to respond to MOAA calls to action about planned and pending legislation. Our members supported all notable MOAA accomplishments in 2015. These include Active and Reserve Force, Health Care, Military Family, Veterans, and other issues. For a summary of 2015 MOAA accomplishments, go to: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/Media/Looking-Back-at-2015–Year-in-Review.aspx.
The November 2015 issue of “Military Officer” includes a report card for all states of selected benefits for veterans, retirees and military families. Ohio compares very favorable in providing these benefits and reflects Ohio as a military-friendly state.
Active Chapter The November 2015 issue of “Military Officer” includes a report card for all states of selected benefits for veterans, retirees and military families. Ohio compares very favorable in providing these benefits and reflects Ohio as a military friendly state.
Promotion of veteran-friendly legislation continued to help keep Ohio the best place for veterans to live and work in 2015. These included:
- COL John W. McCoy submitted written testimony to the Chair of the Senate State and Local Government Committee in support of SB 26 and to the Chair of the House Economic Workforce Development Committee in support of HB 3 during their hearings in the Ohio General Assembly in March these bills support legislation to reduce the cost to start a business in Ohio, expand access to the Ohio Means Jobs web site for Ohio companies to provide additional employment opportunities for veteran entrepreneurs seeking to begin a career in business or who are seeking to start their own business.
- Colonel John W. McCoy testified in support of SB 10 to require the Ohio department of Medicaid to review information related to persons on public assistance, determine if individuals may be entitled to health benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and/or the Department of Defense, and if eligible, to refer the veteran to the appropriate source of entitled medical care. The Bill was signed into law on 22 December 2015.
- The Chapter supported SB 63 to provide an online voter registration system that would benefit all Ohio residents and service members who would avoid delays encountered using the postal system, frequently resulting in a denial to vote through no fault of the service member.
- Three fact sheets on key issues to be used in discussion with legislators and/or to be mailed to their offices during the summer recess were provided to the membership: Reject Military Pay and Benefits Cuts; Support Full Concurrent Receipt; and Eliminate the Widow’s Tax.
- The Ohio Assembly introduced several legislative bills naming roads and bridges in honor of military veterans. The House of Representatives passed HB 242 designating the fourth Sunday of July as Blue Star Mothers and Families Day, and HB 244 designating the tenth day of November as Armed Services, Peace Officers, First Responders, and Dual Service Recognition Day.
Ohio has two Veterans Homes in Sandusky and Georgetown. All levels of care are provided in a first class setting and wait list times are minimal or non-existent for qualified veterans.
CENTRAL OHIO TROOP SUPPORT
The Ohio National Guard operational tempo slowed a little in 2015 with Central Ohio Guard Guardsmen and women deployed less frequently than in prior years; the Chapter monitored and supported legislative alerts and encouraged the membership to respond to Guard-related calls to action. Notable issues included both federal and state legislation to:
- End sequestration or moving units from the active force into the National Guard as a cost saving measure.
- Recommend that the Commission on the Structure of the Army be consulted prior to allowing Army-driven cuts to take effect this year, just as with the Commission on the Structure of the Air Force recommendations.
- Continue Mansfield C-130H upgrades, but with a plan to concurrently modernize both Active Duty and National Guard resources.
- Ensure the future of Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base KC-46 resources, implement a KC-135 simulator for more efficient and cost effective operations, and implement KC-135 infrared countermeasures to protect deployed aircrews.
- Provide TRICARE coverage and retirement points for mobilized forces as a readiness issue.
- Provide veteran status to National Guard retirees as an earned entitlement.
- Continue support of the Ohio National Guard scholarship funding and expand and budget to include vocational or graduate studies.
- Allow Ohio National Guard retirees admission to the Ohio Veterans’ Home.
- Provide unemployment benefits for the spouse of a moved military member to assist in family transition.
- Add a National Guard veteran of the most current conflict, or spouse of a veteran, to all County veterans’ boards.
The 121st Air Refueling Wing returned to Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base after a four-month deployment in the Middle East. The mission of the Wing covered the whole of the Middle East, including Afghanistan and Iraq. The excitement of the deployment reached a peak when Russian aircraft appeared in the airspace with little prior notice.
The Surviving Spouse Liaison collected more than 1,000 cell phones, providing more than 600 hours of free talk time for our deployed troops to call home.
The Personal Affairs Officer provided copies of MOAA publications to Chapter members at each monthly meeting; sent out sympathy and convalescence cards to members and spouses monthly.
MOAA Scholarship Fund:
Nine Central Ohio dependents of military personnel were awarded MOAA scholarship, loans or grants; all were invited to the Chapter holiday party in December. The Chapter donated $500 to the MOAA Scholarship Fund in 2015.
Chapter JROTC Scholarship Program:
The Chapter sent Chapter scholarship applications to the 13 JROTC detachments in the Chapter area of operations for the second annual Chapter Scholarship Award. The Chapter awarded a $500 scholarship to a JROTC cadet.
Chapter members participated in all six Columbus Honor Flights and donated $500 to Columbus Honor Flight.
Chapter representatives presented MOAA medals to JROTC Cadets at their annual detachment awards ceremonies.
Adopt a Soldier:
Two packages each month were sent to military personnel in Afghanistan. Over 23,000 manufacturer coupons were sent this year to Grafenwoehr, Germany. At an average value of $.50 for each coupon, that provides over $11,000 savings for families of military personnel.
Central Ohio Homeless Veteran’s Stand Down:
The Chapter donated $2000 (including $500 donated by USAA) to the Stand Down. Donations included contributions made to the Chapter in memory of deceased Chapter member, CAPT Jim Shaw. Chapter members volunteered to support the event at its new venue, the Columbus Convention Center.
Armed Forces Day Luncheon:
Chapter members supported and attended the event. The Chapter sponsored several OSU and OU Army/Navy/Air Force ROTC Cadets at the annual Luncheon.
Gold Bars were presented to all ROTC Cadets and Midshipmen being commissioned in May and December from the ROTC programs at Ohio State University (Army/Navy/Air Force), Ohio University (Army/Air Force) and Capital University.
Chalmers-Wylie Veterans Administration Hospital:
Ms. Dorothy Williams is a regular volunteer at the Chalmers-Wylie VA Clinic. Ms. Williams is frequently at the Welcome Desk greeting patients and providing assistance to veterans as they arrive for medical care and departing at the end of their appointments.
Chapter members attended and participated in a variety of local military and veterans’ events during the quarter. Among the more notable were the following:
- In collaboration with central Ohio communities, the Chapter received a proclamation from elected city leaders in Columbus, Gahanna, Hilliard, Powell, Westerville and Worthington. The proclamations, presented in a public ceremony, proclaimed May and June as “Military Appreciation Months” and encouraged residents to display flags in honor of veterans and support of service members. A Chapter representative received each proclamation and thanked the local community. Media releases were sent to local newspapers, letters of appreciation were sent to the city leaders, articles were placed on the Chapter web site and an article was sent to MOAA for publication in the Military Officer.
- Chapter members attended the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame for Valor induction ceremony held annually since 1992 in the Ohio Statehouse atrium.
- Chapter members attended the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame ceremony held annually since 1992 at the Lincoln Theater in Columbus. Past President, COL Pete Wilkinson was inducted as a member of the Class of 2015.
- Westerville Field of Heroes in Westerville, OH. COL Ron Pusateri is on the staff of the Field of Heroes committee and represented the Chapter at the event along with several other Chapter members.
- Annual Honor Flight Columbus Reunion – Past President, COL Pete Wilkinson and President, LTC Joe Machado supported the event and represented the Chapter at the event.
- Chapter President, LTC Joe Machado was the speaker at several Honor Flight Columbus presentations and fund-raising events throughout the greater Columbus area during 2015.
- The Chapter was represented for the second year by vehicle signage and LTC Cal Taylor in his classic Triumph Spitfire sports car in the 2015 MILVETS Columbus Veterans Day Parade.
Enhancement of the Chapter website (www.moaacentralohio.org) continued, bringing it up to the highest standards of Chapter websites in MOAA. The website was recognized by MOAA as the winner for the Marvin J. Harris Communication award for 2015.
The Chapter recruiting brochure was recognized by MOAA as the winner of the Marvin J. Harris Communication award for 2014.
The RECALL was published monthly and sent to all Chapter members both electronically and by USPS mail.
The Chapter continued to make progress toward 100% electronic communication by encouraging its membership to sign up to receive Chapter communications by email (e.g., RECALL newsletter, internal and external communications, Calls to Action, etc.). The Chapter is committed to the long-term goal of achieving all electronic communication with its membership. Until that is possible, the Chapter will continue to mail copies of essential communications to members who choose to receive USPS mailing. The Chapter was recognized by MOAA as the winner of the Marvin J. Harris Communication award for electronic newsletter for 2015.
Web-based Financial Transactions:
Web-based payment for dues renewals and luncheon reservations was initiated in 2015. Members were encouraged to use this capability for financial transactions using PayPal, credit/debit cards, or direct bank-account debit.
Board Membership and Operation:
Expanded membership of the Chapter Board continued with the addition of several elected members-at-large. The Board decided to return to the MOAA-recommended structure in 2016 and the Chapter Bylaws were modified to reflect the MOAA-recommended structure and content as well as the new Board structure.
MOAA Levels of Excellence Award:
The Chapter was recognized by MOAA with its highest honor…the Five-star Levels of Excellence banner for 2014…at the MOAA Annual Meeting. President LTC Joe Machado accepted the award on behalf of the Chapter.
The Chapter operated under the terms of its incorporation by the Office of the Secretary of State as the first step in achieving IRS recognition of the Chapter philanthropic and scholarship fund as a 501(c)3 activity and organization. The Chapter already has been recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)4 tax-exempt organization.
The Board commissioned COL Bob Labadie to conduct a strategic review and analysis of Chapter operations, goals and objectives. A survey of the membership and a separate survey of Board members were conducted, the results analyzed and recommendations made for Chapter programs over the next several years. Selected recommendations of the strategic review will be implemented beginning in 2016.
SUPPORT TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
COL John C. McCoy was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
COL Pete Wilkinson was a member of the Columbus Mayor’s Veteran’s Advisory Board and a Veteran Mentor of the Franklin County Veterans Court.
Several Chapter members held key positions on the Ohio Council of Chapters board: COL John C. McCoy was the Ohio Legislative Director; COL Pete Wilkinson was the Membership Chair; and CDR Walter Rey was the Health Chair.
MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Central Ohio Chapter Brand:
The Chapter began publicizing its many activities to raise awareness of MOAA and the Chapter in the greater Columbus area. This initiative is aimed at recognizing the many military-related activities in which one or more Chapter members participate throughout the year and making the public aware of Chapter activities.
The Chapter advanced its branding by:
- Normalizing the Chapter name in the bylaws and Chapter communications media
- Developing a new business card for use by all Board members
- Updating the Chapter seal and adding colors to comply with MOAA standards
- Standardizing Chapter stationary and envelope to meet MOAA standards
- Adopting the phrase “Supporting Service Members and Veterans” to reflect MOAA themes and better express the Chapter purpose.
MONTHLY LUNCHEONS AND BUSINESS MEETINGS
The Chapter enjoyed a great variety of outstanding monthly luncheon/business meeting speakers in 2015. Notable were the following:
- January – Annual Chapter business meeting and election of Chapter Board members.
- February – Ms. Karen Kish, Assistant to the Director of Communications, Coordinator for the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, and State Women Veterans Coordinator for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services Committee on Women Veterans spoke about her unique role as an advocate of Ohio women veterans interests and the 2015 bi-annual Ohio Women Veterans Conference.
- March – COL Michael R. Pannell USMC (Ret) and Director, Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security spoke about serving 42 local government jurisdictions, including Columbus and how all-hazards emergency and disaster planning, training, education, outreach, warning, response and recovery are coordinated.
- March – Mr. Dave Bergman, Executive Officer of the Association of Naval Aviation Helldiver Squadron in Columbus and a plank owner with the Westerville Honor Flight Committee and Ms. Julie Colley, Westerville Assistant City Manager and also a plank owner with the Westerville Honor Flight Committee spoke about how Westerville supports Honor Flight Columbus and the Honor Flight Network.
- April – Lt Col Victor Wilson, Chapter board member and Legislative Co-Chair of the Ohio Air National Guard Association spoke about various Guard legislative issues and programs in which he is involved.
- May – Armed Forces Day Luncheon at the Villa Milano
- June – COL Bob Labadie USA (Ret), Chapter member and strategic visionary, and a full participant in a number of organizations that actively embrace the strategic movement of nation, state, and community into the future. COL Labadie shared an overview of the process for the MOAA Central Ohio Chapter’s strategic planning process; what we can expect to see happen in the next several weeks; and some thoughts on moving the organization along a healthy axis of review and reinvention.
- July – COL Chip Tansil, Executive Director of the Franklin county Veterans Service Commission spoke about how his Veterans Service Officers were becoming better trained and assisting Franklin County veterans with VA claims, financial crises, housing, etc.
- August – Mr. Warren E. Motts, Founder and Executive Director of Motts Military Museum spoke about the status and his plans to expand this private museum to include a new building to display his extensive collection of artifacts from the World Trade Center destruction of September 2011.
- September – Mr. Don Schulze, Deputy Director, Maritime Customer Operations, DLA Land and Maritime spoke about his mission of supporting Maritime and Foreign Military Sales customers worldwide to ensure customer readiness and the success of his customers’ missions.
- October – The Honorable Paula Brooks, Franklin County Board of Commissioners spoke about how Franklin County has identified and implemented strategic approaches to serve the veterans of Franklin County.
- November – CAPT Bill Tate, USN (Ret) and Chapter Vice President of Programs spoke about his active duty service as a Surface Warfare Officer and deployment with Special Operations Command Europe as a member of a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Bosnia during the Kosovo Campaign.
- December – Annual Chapter Christmas holiday party; the program included recognition of MOAA and Chapter scholarship and grant awardees and recognition of six Chapter members who are World War II veterans.