The Ohio Council of Chapters enjoyed a very successful 2017, and look forward to even greater opportunities and successes this year. Remembering that our focus is to support our nation’s active duty, veterans, family members, and communities, each chapter and the council stayed active. For example, in April we joined with National MOAA in Storming The Hill. We visited each office of Ohio’s two senators and 16 representatives, wherein we presented MOAA’s position on Sequestration and the “Widow’s Tax.” In nation-wide MOAA excellence competition, we earned 5 five-Star Levels of Excellence, 2 five-Star and 6 4-Star Col Marvin J. Harris Communications Awards – nothing but the best of the best! We were active in numerous state legislative matters affecting our military population, and endorsed the formation of the National Veterans Memorial & Museum in Columbus. The biennial statewide convention that was hosted by the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys Chapter was second to none! We were honored that both LtGen Dana Atkins, President and CEO of MOAA and COL Terri Coles, Senior Director of MOAA Council and Chapter Affairs participated with us.
As we look forward to 2018, we have a few new names on our council roster. Col John McCoy has stepped down from his duties, LtCol Victor Wilson has assumed duties as our Legislative Liaison; CAPT Bill Keller is our representative to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services. We are delighted that Col Pete Wilkinson has been selected as a 3-year member on the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame board; a first for the Ohio Council of Chapters. We will Storm The Hill in earnest again in April. In addition to all the other programs and activities we have, we are anxious to participate in MOAA’s regional training in Chicago for our presidents, and membership and legislative officers. This will help us hone our skills even more.
We are excited about 2018 and what it brings. We encourage everyone to stay involved at the chapter and council level; we welcome volunteers! I agree completely with the MOAA motto:
Colonel, USAF, Retired
President, Ohio Council of Chapters.
Dave Riegler, Treasurer; Bart Oldenburg, Secretary; Tom Harnden, Trustee; Dan Hahn, Trustee; Brad Harvey, Trustee
Greetings from the Ohio Western Reserve Chapter (OWRC)
We are an engaged military officer community with members residing in 8 counties including: Holmes, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Warren & Wayne. We currently hail from five of the seven eligible service components.
Chapter leadership revolves around a program of presidential chair succession. That is we look for leaders and start them at the 3rd VP level and serve for 2 year terms at each up through President. New members are encouraged to become 1 year trustee for the first foray in the council. We, in this manner, inject new blood and ideas. Currently two newer members have become engaged in 1) Legislative Affairs and 2) Membership engagement. Whether it is a "Jesse Tree" format for tele-outreach to our more senior members to ensure they remain in contact and acknowledged, or, to a telephone-tree system offering rides to meetings.
For 2018, OWRC-MOAA has submitted a request for the MOAA Military Family Initiative Community Outreach grant. We will apply these funds toward resources for the of the Military Veterans Resource Center.
Our meetings, for 2 months a year are Saturday lunches, we then transition to evening programs for several months. In the summer, we look forward to a picnic, a minor league baseball game- usually with fireworks (The Akron Rubber Ducks are an AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians), an August Steak and Corn Roast on a weekend afternoon. Two highlights of each year are the Spring ROTC/JROTC Recognition Banquet and the Winter Holiday Dinner/Cookie Exchange in December.
OWRC maintains relationships with three (3) ROTC programs (Army at the University of Akron and Kent State University (KSU), and, Air Force at KSU). Additionally we counsel with six (6) JRTOC programs at area high schools.
A vital component of OWRC’s mission is legislative contact. OWRC maintains Federal legislative contacts with Mr. Bob Gibbs (R, OH-7) and Mr. James Renacci (R, OH-16). On the state level, we have Senator Frank LaRose (Hudson) and Senate President Larry Obhof (Medina). All have presented at our meetings in the past two years. For 2017-18, invited guests are Representatives Gibbs (October 2017) and Renacci (March 2018).
LTC, USA, Retired
From the Chaplain
For the month of March I am sharing two synopsis of articles regarding chaplaincy.
The first article is titled; VHA Chaplaincy Contact with Veterans at Increased Risk of Suicide.
VHA Chaplains share that veterans who present with an increased risk of suicide are identified based on personal conversations with the chaplain or red flags in their treatment file. Statistics show that present day and former military personnel account for approximately 18% of all suicide deaths in the United States. This equals more than 18 to 22 veterans that die each day by suicide.
As a matter of policy, spiritual and pastoral care services are to be included in all veteran health care visits. Chaplaincy services are available to all, regardless of whether they may be religious or not. This interaction brings chaplains into contact with many at risk veterans. A lot of vets seek out chaplains not just for spiritual and religious support but also mental health assistance. As chaplains conduct spiritual and emotional assessments of veterans, they are able to tap into mental health issues. Talking with the chaplain about mental health may be seen by veterans as less threatening, with less stigmatization. Also, the chaplain providing spiritual and emotional care is thought to enhance spiritual well-being, a factor in lessening suicide risk. A more in-depth look into why veterans seek out chaplain support instead of, or in addition to other behavioral health care providers may help to improve future suicide prevention efforts.
The second article is titled, A preliminary study examining chaplains’ support for veterans at the end of life. This article briefly discusses how chaplains are able to provide emotional and spiritual support to veterans during end-of-life care; helping them to find hope and meaning in the face of serious illness, suffering and dying.
Chaplains that participated in this study identified four areas as most significant for ill or dying veterans.
• Loss of dignity
• Inconsequential life or not having a legacy
• Fear of burdensomeness
• Fear of pain
Similar to the first article, study findings can be used to provide better services to veterans experiencing end of life concerns. Future recommendations discuss chaplains as members of an inter-disciplinary team that can collaborate with clinical service providers to create a better approach toward end-of-life care for veterans.
Kopacz, MD, PhD, Mark, Janet M. McCarten, PhD, and Michael J. Pollitt, DMin, BCC. “VHA Chaplaincy Contact with Veterans at Increased Risk of Suicide.” Southern Medical Journal 107, no. 10 (October 2014). Accessed March 21, 2018. https://sma.org/smj-home/.
Kopacz, MD, PhD, Mark, Bruce D Feldstein, Cecille Allman Asekoff, Maurice S Kaprow, Rebecca Smith-Coggins, and April L Connery. “A preliminary study examining chaplains' support for veterans at the end of life.” International Journal of Palliative Nursing 22, no. 6 (2016). www.magonlinelibrary.com.
Maj, USAF, Retired
Hello from MSVC
For the past year we have been meeting for lunch during the winter months, we've also had a number of wonderful speakers that have covered topics from local history to weather forecasting and have had great turnout for those meetings. Variety of meeting times and topics has met the needs and interest of our members.
The success of the State Convention also galvanized our membership and helped renew interest in the mission of MOAA. Members appreciate the legislative work of the association as well as the ability to participate at the grassroots level. The results are evident in recent legislation.
Florence M. Hosler, Pres. MSVC-MOAA
From the Legislative Director
Greetings! It is my great privilege to have been appointed as the Legislative Director for the MOAA Ohio Council of Chapters. Since I have not met most of you, I thought I would give you a short bio about myself. I am currently a Lieutenant in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) detailed to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, where I work as a Research Engineer. I studied Industrial Engineering in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati, worked at Rittal Corporation in Springfield, OH, and was a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I have two daughters - one is a Junior at St. Olaf in Minnesota and the other just started hiking the Appalachian Trail and will start as a Freshman at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in the Fall of 2018. My wife is an ‘Air Force Brat’ and my father-in-law is a retired Air Force Colonel and pilot who currently lives in Beavercreek, OH.
I have been working with a team of USPHS officers on several Ohio legislative issues over the last several years focusing on ensuring parity for USPHS Officers with other Uniformed Services members in Ohio Legislation. This work has put me in contact with our former MOAA Legislative Director, Col John McCoy, Ohio Representatives Perales and Butler; and necessitated testifying to the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee. Also, I have worked to encourage fellow USPHS Officers to support our efforts by writing to our Ohio Representatives. I really look forward to using these experiences and gaining new skills in representing all MOAA members in the future.
As I start my time as Legislative Director, here are several current Ohio legislative items that may be of particular interest to MOAA members in Ohio:
HB 158: For spouses of active duty military to receive unemployment compensation if they have to quit to accompany military spouse for PCS.
Status: As of April 7, 2018, this legislation has passed the Ohio House and is currently with the Senate Finance Committee.
To Do: If you have a chance, please consider thanking Representatives Perales (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Craig (email@example.com) for taking the initiative to sponsor this legislation. Also of high importance is to encourage Senate Finance Chair - Scott Oelslager (firstname.lastname@example.org) not only to put this bill on the Senate Finance Committee agenda but also to vote on an amendment that would include all Uniformed Services members.
HB 351: Requires municipalities to tax exempt active-duty pay of NOAA and USPHS officers (to bring parity with other Uniformed Services members)
Status: This bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives in March 2018 and is currently with the Senate Finance Committee.
To Do: You are encouraged to contact the Senate Finance Chair - Scott Oelslager (email@example.com) to put this bill on the Senate Finance Committee agenda and also to contact your own Ohio Senator (http://ohiosenate.gov/members/senate-district-map) to vote in favor of this legislation.
HB 123: To modify short term, small, and mortgage rates
Status: Currently with the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. Originally, we were asked to support this proposal as it affects Veterans. However, changes in the wording make it unclear whether MOAA should ultimately support the legislation. We will continue to monitor the situation and wording to make recommendations as to whether this legislation would truly benefit MOAA members.
National MOAA Update: There are several goals MOAA is recommending in the national legislative arena. Many of them likely affect you and other MOAA members, please take the time to read up and follow through on these issues: http://www.moaa.org/2018Goals/
LT Bryan Beamer, USPHS
Military Officers Association of America
P. O. Box 12
Fairborn, OH 45324-0012
Greetings from Cincinnati, Queen City of the West. We can’t believe a year has passed since we provided our last article for this website. For the fourth year in a row our chapter received the highest award for chapter excellence, the 5 Star Level of Excellence Award for 2017. Chapter member CWO3 Kym Mader received the 5 Star Colonel Marvin J. Harris Communications Award for her work on the Council’s website.
The Greater Cincinnati Chapter continues to be an active partner in the DoD’s Vietnam War Commemoration Program (established in 2008 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act). At events throughout our area, we continue to recognize, thank and honor our veterans who served on active duty during the Vietnam War Period November 1, 1955 - May 15, 1975 regardless of location.
At our March luncheon, we hosted midshipmen from Miami University Navy ROTC, and cadets from Western Brown High School Army JROTC and Little Miami High School Air Force JROTC. The Chapter supports eight local JROTC units and five ROTC programs. We present medal and certificate sets to all of them.
Our June luncheon speaker was Major Rusty Mardis, USA (Ret) of the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance. Rusty spoke about his military service and the work of TVCA to improve the lives of veterans in our community. The TVCA was established in 2014, has over 150 partners (businesses, non-profits, government organizations) and has become the go to organization for veterans in the Greater Cincinnati Area.
Greater Cincinnati Chapter’s September dinner will feature MG John Harris, Jr. Assistant Adjutant General, Ohio National Guard and Commander, Army Ohio National Guard. Local National Guard unit officers will be invited to attend.
We will continue our tradition of joining in camaraderie by holding a Dining Out on November 10, 2018. MOAA members and their guest(s) from other chapters are invited. So please consider attending.
Did you know that Cincinnati was among the New York Times’ 52 places to go in 2018? It will be even better in 2019! We look forward to seeing you all on September 20-22, 2019 at the State Convention at the Quality Inn Cincinnati, 5901 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash, Ohio 45242.
Steve Drefahl Alan Echt
Greetings from the Greater Cleveland Chapter
The Greater Cleveland Chapter continues to enjoy our beautiful Northeast Ohio summer weather. Memorial Day weekend the Chapter placed flays on veteran’s graves in the Beechwood Cemetery, a small cemetery on Cleveland’s east side. This is a first for the Chapter and we hope to continue in the future. On Tuesday, July 24th chapter members, spouses, family members and friends participated in our annual MOAA Cleveland Indians Baseball outing. Our beloved Indians baseball team hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates. The all-inclusive ticket price included “All You Can Eat” with a wide range of menu options to choose from. In keeping with the baseball theme chapter members also plan on attending a Lake County Captains baseball game when they host the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Sunday, September 2nd at Classic Park, which is the Captains home field. The Captains program is very family friendly and was selected specifically to be attractive to younger members of the Chapter.
The Cleveland Chapter will end August on a high note when we host our annual Chapter picnic on Sunday, August 19th at a charmingly quaint neighborhood park overlooking Lake Erie. Our annual picnic is always well attended with everyone having a great time in this idyllic setting.
Although regular indoor monthly chapter meetings are suspended during the summer months the Chapter executive board has continued to keep very busy meeting at least once a month. The executive board among other chapter business has been putting the finishing touches on our 2018 guest speaker schedule. Our next chapter meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 20th. It will focus on a sensitive subject which has become a greater concern for both active and former military and their families…suicide. We are planning speakers from the active sector, US Coast Guard 9th District, and veterans’ affairs, Louis Stokes VA Center.
Active duty members who retire and do not elect to enroll in an option. MOAA is advocating for a seamless enrollment default option for this population, as well as increased transition education services.
Retiree beneficiaries who fail to pay their enrollment fees. Officials have stated that eligible beneficiaries will never lose their benefit, as they will always be eligible for care at military hospitals. However, this would most likely be on a space-available basis.
Year 1: Auto renewal (Jan. 1, 2018) and grace period: Can change TRICARE Prime or Select at any time in 2018.
Year 2 (2019) and beyond: Can elect TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select coverage (enroll, dis-enroll, or change) only during annual open season (1 Nov - 20 Dec) or if the beneficiary has a qualifying life event:.
Marriage, divorce, or annulment
Birth or adoption of a child
Placement of a child by a court in a member's home
Change in sponsor status
Los of eligibility (due to age, Medicare, etc.)
Move to a new Zip code
Loss/gain of other health insurance
Death of a sponsor, spouse, or child
Change in eligibility status of any single family member in another family (e.g. joint service member)
All qualifying life events require a Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) update. If beneficiaries request a change in coverage, it must occur within 90 days of the life event.
Beneficiary cost shares will be based on the sponsor's “date initially entered into service” (DIEMS). Per the 2017 NDAA, those who have entered into service prior to Jan. 1, 2018, are grandfathered into existing cost shares - unless the 2018 NDAA incorporates provisions from the administration's budget proposal to repeal grandfathering (see “ TRICARE Fees to Get a Big Raise”).
As many of these changes show, beneficiaries will be expected to take more responsibility for their health care. MOAA will continue to work closely with DoD to ensure program changes will be beneficiary-centered and clearly communicated to all stakeholders.
What is the most important thing you can do right now? Make sure your DEERS information is updated for both you and your family. Here's how to update DEERS. There will be much more to come over the next few months.
Greetings from the MOAA Central Ohio Chapter
I would like to share with you an overview of one highly successful program the Central Ohio Chapter has sponsored for almost six years. It is Adopt a Service Person. Years ago, I attended a National MOAA meeting in Washington. While there, we were asked to fill a post office box with an assortment of goodies from the table, write a note, and seal it. All the boxes were to be sent to deployed personnel. I brought back this idea to the Central Ohio Chapter, and our Board agreed to add that as one of our outreach programs.
Every month, I send two boxes to deployed service personnel. The postage for APO is about $18.00 no matter what the weight. Where do our boxes go? They are sent to Iraq and Afghanistan mostly, but boxes have also gone out to Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrain, and Africa. What do we send? Coffee, hot chocolate, beef jerky, protein bars, peanut butter, powdered drink mixes, and hot cereal are some of the food items. Shampoo, foot powder, body wash and all kinds of toiletries go into the boxes. A personal letter telling the service personnel how I got his/her name and words of encouragement are also enclosed. I’ve even received from children notes or drawn pictures that are added to the boxes. It’s always fun putting in seasonal hearts, shamrocks, water guns, Buckeye gear, etc. We also send new Christmas, Easter, Valentine, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day cards so the troops have cards to send home. Where we get names of deployed personnel? Our members give us names, I knock on doors if there is a sign posted in a yard, and I talk to military I see in stores. Most names of deployed personnel come from a dedicated group in Savannah, Georgia. They e-mail me every month names of chaplains who go to the far-out areas and take boxes to the troops. Rarely do I get a reply from soldiers; their job keeps them very engaged. But when I do get a reply, it is put in our newsletter. I want every MOAA member to experience the joy his/her boxes bring to military brothers and sisters far from loved ones. How do we pay for this project? Members donate money or sometimes the proceeds come from our drawing. Our Board also budgets for this project.
I take advantage of all kinds of sales and coupons when purchasing items. This program is not a chore. Many members have been recipients of these kinds of boxes from their loved ones when they were active duty. How more special it must be to get a box from a stranger! Dorothy Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, Central Ohio Chapter.
Council Personal Affairs Officer
The Council Personal Affairs Officer shall perform duties to support the members of the council and be of support to the individual chapters whenever possible.
The Personal Affairs Officer duties are:
Serving as the primary point of contact for issues associated with military rights and entitlements, with special emphasis on survivor benefits information. When called upon, provide information to members and survivors about their entitlements and earned benefits.
Assisting members and survivors in the submission of inquiries, applications and claims to governmental agencies such as the VA, military personnel offices and finance centers, and Social Security offices. In the case of serious illness or death, of Council/Chapter members, express sympathy to the next-of-kin and offer assistance as needed.
Be knowledgeable of VA and DOD death benefits in order to be of assistance to surviving spouses and next of kin.
Keep members informed, about facilities and services available in the area such as commissaries, exchanges, hospitals, dispensaries, and officers’ clubs.
Ensuring chapter members understand the scope and depth of personal affairs assistance and resources available to them. Keeping the members informed of members who are seriously ill, pending surgery or prolonged treatment, or have died to include memorial service details. Updating council members whenever there are changes to personal affairs assistance and resources.
Maintaining an up-to-date electronic library of publications (e.g., MOAA and federal/state/local government publications, etcetera) covering applicable member benefits and entitlements.
When requested, be of assistance to the chapters when a chapter requests help or assistance with their members’ personal issues.
Perform other duties the Council president might assign!
Greater Cleveland Chapter.
Last Updated: July 31st, 2018