We are getting The Job Done: 2020 Results
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- Received MOAA’s 5-Star (Highest) Level of Excellent (LOE) Award
- Won the Marvin J. Harris Communications Award for the Chapter Website & the Chapter Newsletter, the E-CONNECT
- Central Ohio Veterans Stand Down Support: CANCELLED due to coronavirus (moved to 2021)
- Fairfield County Veterans Stand Down: CANCELLED due to coronavirus (moved to 2021)
- Honor Flight Columbus: One Chapter Member is on the Board and Numerous Chapter Members Provide Support. Flights cancelled due to the coronavirus (16 scheduled for second half of 2021)
- Adopt-A-Service Member Program: Reduced number of care packages sent overseas due to the pandemic (three months with no package deliveries at all). Applied for a 2021 grant from Nationwide Foundation for $10,000, which will increase packages sent by the Chapter eight-fold
- Veterans Court Mentor Program: Supported with 1 Volunteer-Coordinator/Mentor: One Program Coordinator/Mentor and one Mentor. This program supports Veterans with PTSD in the Court Program: only telephonic communication was possible with the two individuals in the program due to the pandemic. Both individuals graduated from the program at the end of 2020, including being drug and alcohol free
- Support for MOAA National Legislative Program (Virtual Storming of the Hill, and individual members communicating MOAA concerns with federal and state legislators)
- Partnered with Local ROTC Programs virtually: Spring 2020 remotely awarded medals and scholarships to deserving cadets/midshipmen; Autumn program cancelled but liaison continued with ROTC PMS planning for 2021
- Improved fundraising by using the 501(c)3 Foundation to provide a tax incentive to individuals and businesses making donations
- Planning continued for the Ohio Council of MOAA Chapters for the 2021 Convention to be held in Columbus, OH (to be hosted by the Central Ohio Chapter of MOAA) in October
- Administrative Costs are Less Than 10% of Budget
FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON THESE PROGRAMS PLUS INFORMATION ON FINANCIAL, MEMBERSHIP, & OTHER AREAS, PLEASE READ ON
- Level of Excellence Award (LOE). A 5-Star LOE is awarded annually to MOAA’s “best” Chapters as determined by a myriad of criteria. A 4-Star LOE is awarded to above average Chapters based on these same criteria. Scoring is both subjective and objective. Objective scoring is easily determined using such criteria as percentage of Chapter members who are also MOAA National members, renewal rates, having an individual in the Personal Affairs position, etc. Subjective ratings are more difficult to define. Nevertheless, Chapters with significant community involvement/support; Chapters who implement new ideas which help members, Veterans, and the Armed Services; and Chapters involved in supporting legislative initiatives at all levels seem to fare the best. We must have been doing things well as we have received a 5-Star award for the last 10 out of 11 years and our off-year was a 4-Star.
- Communications Award. We were the recipient of MOAA’s Marvin J. Harris Communications Award for both our Newsletter (E-CONNECT) and our Web site. Receiving these awards also contributed to the Chapter receiving the 5-Star LOE award noted above. Col Pete Wilkinson and CDR Walter Rey are the respective POCs for these activities (in 2020).
- Central Ohio Veterans Stand Down. The Stand Down was scheduled to be held in October 2020 in the Exhibition Hall of the Greater Columbus Convention Center but was postponed to October 2021 due to the pandemic. An estimated 600 Veterans would have received assistance (500 men & 100 women). Veterans receive services such as medical screenings, legal aid, housing information, ID card verification/assistance, essential clothing to include Rocky Boots, haircuts, and lunch. In a normal year over 7,000 separate interactions with Veterans would occur. Col Pete Wilkinson is the Chapter POC for this Program.
- Fairfield County Veterans Stand Down. This Stand Down was scheduled for May 2020 at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Ohio. There were 125 Veterans expected to receive services (110 men & 15 women). A primary focus of this Stand Down was the homeless and those at-risk of becoming homeless. All Veterans receive services such as legal aid, medical screening, clothing, food, as well as numerous other services. LTC Joe Machado is the Chapter POC for this Program.
- Honor Flight Columbus. The mission of Honor Flight Columbus is to honor our nation’s senior Veterans with a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit their war memorials at no cost to them. They can share their stories for the benefit of future generations; and celebrate their homecoming, affirming their allegiance and service to our country. The flight is free to the Veteran; however, there is a cost of approximately $65,000 per flight. Costs include fuel, gate fees for airline, select salaries, food/snacks, motor coaches, Park Police escort (in DC), commemorative T-shirt, and administrative costs such as printing and postage. LTC Joe Machado is a member of the Honor Flight Columbus Board of Directors, which manages School and Community Outreach Speakers for Honor Flight Columbus and is the Chapter POC for the Program. There were eight flights scheduled from Columbus in 2020 carrying a total of over 900 Veterans; these were cancelled due to the coronavirus.
- Adopt-A-Service Member. This program supports deployed servicemen and servicewomen and has been active for ten years. The program’s objective is to get comfort care items and cards to deployed service members at fire bases and other remote sites in locations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Syria. Popular items are snacks, toiletries, blankets and boxes of Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day cards. Items provided are donated by Chapter members, local schools, churches, and hospitals to name just a few organizations. The costs of this program are shipping/mailing. Mrs. Dorothy Williams is the Chapter POC for this Program.
- Veteran’s Court Mentor Program. The Franklin County Veterans Court offers Veterans in legal trouble the opportunity to pursue treatment rather than go to jail. They accept participation in a program that can last over 2 years as they deal with addiction issues and find ways to manage PTSD, so they can lead productive lives. The program includes extensive counseling either through the VA or the Veterans Court. The Veterans are held accountable for participation in the programs through frequent reviews with the Court Judge. Mentoring is a part of the program in which other Veterans work closely with participants in the program. This helps them work through problems and ultimately achieve their goals. Col Pete Wilkinson is the Mentor Coordinator and he and LTC Joe Machado are both Mentors.
- MOAA National Legislative Program. Each month in our newsletter, the “E-CONNECT,” there is a legislative section focusing on national-level legislation which MOAA supports. Members use the “Take Action” section to voice their individual support. One example featured in a recent edition of the “E-CONNECT” was a legislative alert highlighted on the MOAA website at http://www.moaa.org/takeaction/ entitled “Do Not Dismantle Military Medicine.” Two other key alerts are “Ensure Safe Housing for Military Families” and “Act Now to Help Veteran Caregivers.” These alerts are an excellent means of supporting legislation with minimum time and expense involved. CDR Jennifer Travers is the Chapter POC for national legislative issues; CAPT Mike Mentas is the POC for state legislative issues.
- MOAA Education Fund. The Chapter contributes $500.00 annually to the MOAA National Scholarship Fund which provides grants, interest-free loans, and scholarships to students across the county. The state of Ohio has students currently receiving this type of aid and the Central Ohio area has students receiving either a scholarship or grant. We do not have a dedicated POC for the program; however, the Board of Directors reviews this budget item on an annual basis for either increases, decreases, or elimination of support
- Local ROTC Program. We continue our local University ROTC and MOAA COC Partnership Program with The Ohio State University Army, Air Force, and Naval ROTC Detachments; with the Capital University Army ROTC Detachment; and with the Army and Air Force ROTC programs at Ohio University. Normally, representatives from the Central Ohio Chapter attend events at both Capital University’s Army ROTC Scholarship Award and Swearing-In Ceremony; the “1 day for the KIA” 5K Run at the OSU Oval, the annual OSU ROTC “Rock Ceremony” honoring more than 900 OSU Students and Alumni who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This ceremony also honors the thousands of Ohio State University Students and Alumni who have served their country and those who are currently serving on active duty. Other events supported are the OSU Joint Service Parade, the OSU AFROTC Dining Out, OSU AFROTC Cadet/Alumni Luncheon, Spring Awards Ceremonies, the AROTC Military Ball at Capital University and Commissioning Ceremonies at both the Ohio State University and Capital University. Representatives will also attend Ohio University ceremonies (added to our sponsorship this year). However, all ROTC ceremonies were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Major Paul Matthews, USMC, (Ret.) and Captain Mark Lux, USA, (Ret.) were the MOAA COC points of contact for Capital University and The Ohio State University respectively. (For 2021, two new officers have been appointed to replace MAJ Matthews and CPT Lux) The Central Ohio Chapter is also focused on providing Scholarship Funds to Cadets and Midshipmen at the three universities now that we have established our IRS approved 501(c)(3) MOAA COC Foundation. We are also working with Commander Dustin Martin, USN, (Ret.) Senior Naval Science Instructor at the Grove City High School to restart our JROTC Program Partnership with thirteen Columbus area JROTC Detachments.
11.Establishment of a 501(c)3 Foundation. The Chapter supports numerous programs financially. We realized this financial support could not continue based only on income from yearly dues and through informal fundraising. The Chapter’s Board made the decision to establish a Foundation which would act as the fundraising arm of the Chapter. The Ohio Attorney General, the Ohio Secretary of State, and the Internal Revenue provided their approval and operating guidelines. This approval allows the donors to the Foundation to have their donations recognized as tax-exempt donations. Along with establishing the Foundation, a formal fundraising strategy was devised and implemented in late 2019 and continued in 2020. Fundraising activities will be increased when the pandemic emergency is lifted.
12. Ohio Women Veterans Conference. Ohio is home to 67,000 women veterans and this conference is one of the largest gatherings of women veterans in the nation. It is held biannually and will be held again in 2021. It provides resources and networking opportunities for women in military service of all eras from WWII to present-day Iraq and Afghanistan. The Chapter supports the event with volunteers manning a MOAA “table” and by providing publications to participants of the conference.
13. Administrative Costs. Administrative costs include stationery and mailing to approximately 30 Chapter members who do not use email. Buying the speaker’s lunch when we have our luncheon speaker, memento gifts, and other miscellaneous expenses are also part of the administrative costs. Keeping costs at less than 10% of an operating budget is good and we will strive to bring this even lower.
OTHER KEY ACTIONS
- Financial. We conduct a financial audit each year, in previous years with excellent results! CDR Walter Rey is the Chapter Treasurer. Audits for 2019 and 2020 have been delayed due to the pandemic; pending an audit, special fiscal controls have been implemented to assure the membership that Chapter finances are used appropriately.
- Personal Affairs. We maintained our outreach through cards/notes/personal contact to families of deceased and ill Chapter members. Mrs. Gloria Taylor is the Chapter POC for Personal Affairs.
- Meetings. We ceased our practice of monthly luncheons in April, May, and June because of the coronavirus. The January, February, and March luncheons were held as usual (pre-pandemic). The January meeting was reserved for elections, annual reports, and other business as necessary. Beginning in July, a small group of members met at the restaurant traditionally used for the luncheons (while most of the members sheltered in place). In December, a virtual capability was added for people at home who want to socialize with the other attendees. We also continued convening monthly Board of Directors meetings virtually.
I was honored at being selected to follow Tommy H. Roberson as President in January. His mentorship of me helped me to be a successful leader in 2020. Leadership has been crucial to see us through the pandemic for 2020, and will be needed in 2021 to build on lessons learned last year. Leadership comes not only from the President, but from program directors and key board members. I have drawn upon the experiences of past presidents; the combined years of experience exceed 140 years of board service! These board members also contributed to our success by being good followers when followers were what was needed. I believe we do all of that well as you can see from this list of accomplishments. We learned much from our 2020 experiences, and we have been adjusting our programs and activities based on what we have learned. The Chapter needs support from the individual members as well, so I urge each of you to renew your membership and find a new member! 2021 will be a wonderful and rewarding year: the vaccine will assist us all by increasing the health of American society. And remember, there is always room for members on the Board of Directors and on Committees and anyone wanting to get more involved is truly welcome! I personally thank each of member for their past and future support.
William W. Radcliffe
LTC (ret), USA
President, MOAA Central Ohio Chapter