As we begin 2017, your Ohio Council of Chapters Board is excited about continuing our state’s and chapters’ forward movements. We are very grateful for your past work and accomplishments. It is evident in many respects – membership, legislative actions, and social activities – just to name a few! The fact that we have so many chapters, and the council, recognized as Level of Excellence winners speaks to everyone’s dedication. I intend to continue to support each chapter, the council, and National MOAA.
The January 2017 issue of the Military Officer magazine has a very good, condensed article on MOAA’s 2017 goals. Needless to say, they cover the waterfront of military and family needs. It is well worth your time to read. Within MOAA’s Council and Chapter Affairs, we will continue to be faced with two major challenges: recruiting and retaining chapter members, and staying engaged with our elected officials. Each chapter should continue to work in these areas. And on the Council, CAPT Terry Cooney (USN, Ret) has volunteered to help with membership, and Col John McCoy (USAF, Ret) continues as our state legislative representative. Use them!
In an effort to bring forward pertinent news about our chapters and council committees, beginning in February (this is the January article), I have asked each chapter, our Chaplain, and committee chairs in Personal Affairs, Health Services, and Transition Services to submit at least one article to the council website annually. Look for these in a new page of the council website entitled “From the Council/Chapter.” I hope you find them useful and informative.
If you have not already done so, please mark your calendars for the state’s 2017 convention, at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, September 22-23. The folks at the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys Chapter are planning this to be an excellent event! LTC Rod Hosler (USA, Ret) will update the council and provide details in his article in this area in April.
I am honored to be your president for the next two years. I encourage your continued strong enthusiasm, support, and ideas. Thank you.
Colonel, USAF, Retired
President, Ohio Council of Chapters.
Presentation of Challenge Coin & Certificate of Appreciation to Mr. Gibbs for service to Veterans. August 2016
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.
Our meetings, for 2 months a year are Saturday lunches, we than 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) JROTC 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, invited guests are Representatives Gibbs and Renacci.
Recruitment remains a challenge for OWRC as it does for other chapters. We have found personal meetings over a period of time work well to engage eligible individuals. These can be through membership in other service organizations; e.g. Rotary or other social organizations. We do review the annual lists from MOAA National and we use this as a starting point; as we surmise others do likewise.
LTC, USA, Retired
From the Chaplain
A few years before I retired from the Air Force Reserve, I volunteered to help chaperone the Junior ROTC unit at West High School here in Columbus. Our trip's itinerary to Washington D.C. was packed with great adventures and wonderful sights to behold. On the way to our destination, one of our first steps was a Civil War battle field in the state of Maryland.
On a warm, sunny summer day I gazed out over the lush green battlefields and allowed my mind to travel back in time, attempting to imagine what the soldiers on this field had experienced. There were markers and placards in various places on this sacred land that listed the names of soldiers who'd fought from states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and more. My musing about the action on the battlefield inspired me to consider the work the Civil War Chaplain.
On the internet I read an article offered by Essential Civil War Curriculum-- "Chaplains in the Civil War." For the majority of Union and Confederate soldiers, religion was the greatest foundation of morale in the Civil War. It was their first time away from home for many of these young men on the battlefield. Chaplains not only preached a sermon and lead prayers, but they were also a father figure to these young soldiers. The work of the chaplain transcended their typical duties of ministering to spiritual needs as they fulfilled a variety of tasks as courier, postal clerk, carpenter, nurse, gun runner and soldier.
Being a fairly new member of our Council, as the Chaplain, I'll continue to provide prayer and spiritual support to members. Like some of the chaplains I read about. I look forward to being of service in various roles, working with our Surviving Spouse liaison and Personal Affairs Officer. As we all move forward in carrying out our missions; one of my continuous questions for God will be "what else can I do to serve?"
Maj, USAF, Retired
(Friday/Saturday/Sunday, 22-24 September)
The MOAA Ohio Council of Chapters State Convention will take place 22-24 September 2017 on the Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS), Vienna, OH in the Community Activity Center (CAC). The Mahoning-Shenango Valleys Chapter of MOAA is pleased to host this year's convention. PLEASE NOTE: Military ID Card or photo ID (driver's license) with birth date are necessary for access to the base.
Our Convention will begin on Friday, 22 September, with registration starting at 1500 hours at the Eagle's Nest Lodge. You will receive a complimentary bag, courtesy of MOAA and USAA, which will include registration materials and gifts. We'll all get together in the CAC, for a Meet and Greet at 1800 hours. Beverages (cash bar) and hors d'oeuvres will be available. The dress is casual.
On Saturday, 23 September, the convention, will be a full day of activities with a buffet breakfast starting at 0730 in the CAC. The opening ceremony will begin promptly at 0830 hrs. Plans are to have the Commanders of the 910th Airlift Wing, 9th Coast Guard District, Ohio's Camp Ravenna, the Director of Fifth Public Health Region and others as speakers. Spouses are invited to attend and we have activities for them to participate in.
Saturday afternoon is planned to allow you to participate in a two-hour C-130 orientation flight from the YARS to Niagra Falls, New York and return.
For the evening banquet, we are very fortunate to have Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF, Retired, President and CEO of MOAA as the keynote speaker. MOAA plans to present the Level of Excellence banners and pins that the Chapters and Council earned for 2016. Dress is coat and tie. The CAC lounge will be open before and after the banquet, come and enjoy the evening. It'll be a great time for all and we hope you will be there to enjoy the day with us.
On Sunday, 24 September, the quarterly meeting of the MOAA Ohio Council of Chapters will be held, proceeded by a buffet breakfast open to Chapter delegates, members and spouses. LTC Clarence Counts, USA, Retired, Program Director of the MOAA Council and Chapter Affairs, will be our guest speaker. Prior to the breakfast buffet, our Ohio Council of Chapters Chaplain, Maj Phyllis Plear, USAF, will conduct a non-denominational church service in the CAC. This is probably an Ohio Council of Chapters first!
The complete agenda, times and other convention information can be found at the Council of Chapters and MSVC websites; www.msvc-moaa.org or www.ohiomoaa.org beginning in June. The downloadable convention information include: 1.) Fact Sheet; 2.) Registration Form; 3.) Agenda; 4.) Maps. The cost, for the convention meals are under $60 per person and covers the Saturday buffet breakfast, buffet luncheon and formal dinner and a Saturday buffet breakfast or any combination you desire. The convention registration form and remittance are due NLT 8 September.
The Eagle's Nest Lodge at YARS is a first rate guest hotel with regular and VIP rooms. The room rate is $60 per night or VIP rate at $69 per night. Please make your lodging reservations directly with the Eagle's Nest Lodge at the YARS (Phone number: 330-609-1268 and mention "MOAA Convention", NLT 8 September.
This convention should be a wonderful opportunity to hear interesting speakers, learn about activities that impact the area, see the YARS and take an interesting flight in a C-130 if you've never been in one. Total costs for this weekend are much less than previous OCC conventions due to this special location. We hope to see you at the 2017 Ohio Council of Chapters Convention!!
Toledo Area MOAA
University of Toledo Veteran's Affairs Department
What do you do when you realize that your recruitment efforts are not keeping pace with your loss of members; due to moving to warmer climes, or becoming too ill to attend and participate in the Post's activities, or passing on? Do you just let the organization die or do you make every effort to pass on the legacy that you have been left by others.
In the case of the Toledo Area Military Officers Association and the American Legion Post 335, both of whom meet in Toledo, Ohio; you fight to leave a lasting legacy for the younger generation.
The Post has included two Medal of Honor winners; Read Admiral Robert W. Cary and Major Hulon B. "Rocky" Whittington. It also has had seven members admitted to the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. Therefore, we have an amazing history and one that cannot just be left to die.
In March of 2016, then Commander COL Richard Schroeder met with Haraz Ghanbari, the Director of Military and Veterans Affairs at the University of Toledo. Haraz explained that his primary goal in setting up a satellite post at the University was to bridge the generation gap between the older veterans and those just returning and to meet the needs of the newer generation. He stated that he realized how difficult it is to make time for these organizations in the students’ busy schedules and that at the University they would make every effort to accommodate the students’ needs. Haraz introduced Alan Schory, with the Ohio National Guard, who is also willing to help the students. Haraz then turned the floor over to Jason Graven, the Director of Internal Affairs for the Ohio Legion.
Jason began his presentation by stating that there are currently 77 Posts in the Northwestern Ohio area and of these, only 5-10 have regularly attended meetings. If the students developed a Post at the University built on the already existing Post 335, they would have a solid foundation to start out. Also, the Post already has a record of supporting the University, with the Hal Gilbert Fund, which offers scholarships to students. The younger generation may have already had three to four deployments, they have a book stipend, basic housing allowance, and want to invest in their community. They do NOT want to gather as primarily a social club, which is what the older generation is perceived as doing. They DO want to serve the community and thank those who supported them. They want to serve a cause bigger than their own and have a unified voice in support of veterans.
There are 14,000 chapters of the Student Veterans of America but only eight Legion Posts on college campuses. He proceeded to show a video of the Veterans Appreciation Day at the University of Akron, which highlighted their Post 808. It has been extremely successful in connecting students with alumni veterans. A POW/MIA chair was donated at a game and after that the Post membership rose from 26 members to over 100. The members are all under the age of 30 and the Post has been written about five times in the American Legion magazine.
There are 20,000 students in Ohio currently on the GI Bill. Roger Hite developed a Strategic Plan for the American Legion Post 808. The Post in Akron got funding from a VP with Sherwin-Williams for $25,000. Also, there have been many outside donations. An additional source of income comes from running a business on campus. This not only makes money for the Post, but allows the students to get practical experience. They worked with Nine Line Apparel to develop a logo for their Post and put it on hoodies to sell. They also sell Grunt Style Apparel and a percentage of the sales goes to the Post. Their major concerns are giving back to veterans and investing in the community. A satellite post would work on the same basis as Sons of the American Legion. There would be a member of the University faculty serving as an advisor to the student post.
Haraz said that even though the Post would be non-traditional, that it would follow the precepts of the Four Pillars of the American Legion. He said that he is obtaining the statistics regarding the Hal Gilbert fund, as to when it was initially funded, the amount of the initial investment, the number of students who have benefited from it over the years, etc.
A discussion followed as to whether there should be dues for the first year and the students were asked how they felt about complimentary dues picked up by Post 335 for the first year. They agreed that that would help them out and they could make the decision after this first developmental year as to whether to join. The students felt that their main goals in joining were to network, invest in the community, and to be mentored. They announced how important they felt the service honoring a World War II veteran was.
All of these meetings included members of the Toledo Area MOAA and one very exciting outcome is that the University of Toledo now has a Blue Star Memorial Marker that bears the name of the American Legion Post 335 on its Veterans’ Plaza. It also has a Gold Star Memorial Marker and is the only institution of higher education to have both markers on its campus.
Our heritage is too precious to have it die out with our generation and we are making every effort in Toledo to see that it does not.
Military Officers Association of America
P. O. Box 12
Fairborn, OH 45324-0012
Greetings from the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America
We are an active, vibrant chapter with over 327 members, including active-duty and retired officers, and surviving spouses. Our members include officers from six of America’s seven uniformed services. The Greater Cincinnati Chapter met for the first time in November 1972 with a Charter granted in March 1973. The first President was Colonel James Walsh and first Secretary was Colonel Ned Ackner. Our membership is drawn from the Greater Cincinnati metro area. About 30 percent of our members live in Kentucky and a few reside in Indiana.
The Chapter holds a general membership meeting quarterly at the Manor House restaurant in Springdale, Ohio. Attendance typically ranges from 40 to 80 members and guests, depending upon the speaker and the topic of the meeting. The Chapter recognizes our former presidents every year at our December membership meeting, and installs our new Board then. We hold a meeting in April to recognize outstanding cadets and midshipmen from the JROTC and ROTC programs in our area. The remaining two meetings feature interesting local speakers on a variety of topics. Recent speakers included a nationally recognized VA Medical Center psychologist who discussed her research and practice in treating PTSD and TBI, a FBI supervisory special agent who is an expert on cybersecurity, and a joint appearance by the founder of Tri-State Honor Flight and a former editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who coauthored two books about Honor Flight veterans.
In addition to our general membership meetings, the Board meets throughout the year on the second Friday of the month to address Chapter business. Members are welcome to attend those meetings, too. The Board meets in a modern conference room generously provided by the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the American Red Cross. This permits members who cannot attend in person to participate via conference call. Legislative affairs are a major agenda item for each Chapter board meeting. The Chapter’s legislative chair is a retired general officer with extensive high-level corporate experience and contacts. A number of Chapter members are members of the tristate (Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana) legal community and keep current on pending legislation. Several Chapter members have held or currently hold political office or serve on appointed boards/commissions. Chapter members express their support of MOAA’s initiatives by contacting elected national officials via MOAA’s “Legislative Update & Take Action” electronic letter system. Members are encouraged to personalize their letters and call the local offices of their Congressmen and both Senators. Our newsletter features articles about MOAA’s annual Legislative Goals, legislation such as the National Defense Authorization Act, and issues that affect our members like pending Tricare changes and COLAs.
The Chapter views recruiting and retaining members as the duty of all of our members, not just the membership chair. Despite the demographic challenges of an aging membership, migration of retirees to the Sunbelt, and the absence of a major military installation in our area, membership numbers have remained remarkably stable year after year. Our interesting speakers and convivial membership meetings aid in retention and recruiting. Members are encouraged to bring guests, and we always provide membership applications to eligible guests. We offer older members rides to meetings, particularly during the winter. Our Treasurer’s excellent records enable him to follow-up and personally invite members who have not attended a meeting in over a year. Chapter policy is to pay back dues for only the most recent year to restore membership. Chapter members visit five ROTC programs at three local universities (Miami University, Xavier University, and the University of Cincinnati) to introduce MOAA to cadets and midshipmen and explain MOAA’s mission and the benefits of membership. The Chapter recently held a very successful formal dining out dinner at a local country club. We hope to make this an annual event.
The Chapter has a designated Sympathy/Personal Affairs Officer. Additionally, the Chapter is fortunate to have an ordained minister as Chapter Chaplain. He is the chaplain of a large local retirement community, with extensive knowledge about the concepts of aging and personal affairs planning. The Sympathy/Personal Affairs Officer and Chaplain ensure the Chapter newsletter contains timely and useful personal affairs information. Chapter members are notified by email of funeral and memorial arrangements when a Chapter member passes away. Due to the large geographic area the Chapter covers, numerous newspapers must be reviewed to discover death notices. Funerals are often well attended, many times with Chapter members in uniform. Families, particularly grand- and great-grandchildren are profoundly grateful for this act. Names of decedents are submitted in a timely manner for publication in the TAPS column in Military Officer.
The Cincinnati Chapter is fortunate to have a vigorous new leader of our spouse and surviving spouse activities. She has already organized several activities for that important portion of our membership. We look forward to her continued participation in the Chapter’s leadership.
The Chapter’s Public Affairs officer prepares an excellent newsletter, which she distributes by email and regular mail. In addition, she posts the newsletter to the Chapter’s web site, where back copies are available. Our Public Affairs officer is piloting MOAA’s White Label newsletter template program. In addition to our Chapter’s informative newsletter, our Public Affairs officer maintains our Chapter’s web site and Facebook page. Several prospective members found us through our presence on the web.
The Chapter recognizes the value of the TOPS program and has a very engaged TOPS officer on the Board. He retired from active duty in 2013 and works for a major local employer ranked 13 in the Fortune 500. His recent experience with the transition from a military to civilian career bring relevant and current knowledge of the process to the position. He actively contacts other military-focused social organizations to let them know that he is available to assist recent military retirees with the transition to a civilian career.
Community involvement is a major focus of our Chapter’s activities. We believe it is our Chapter’s mission to support other military service, youth, and veterans’ organizations in the Greater Cincinnati Area. We provided financial support through donations to the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance, the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Red Cross, Joseph House, the Navy League’s Sea Cadet program, and the My GI Foundation. Members donated their time to a Habitat for Humanity program to repair and build homes for veterans and their families; participated in veteran’s charity 5K races, like the Honor Our Heroes run; and regularly attend the annual historic Armed Forces Sabbath ecumenical service at Holy Cross Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams. Members regularly attend local JROTC honor awards assemblies and ROTC commissioning ceremonies. We also make it a practice to invite local MOAA scholarship recipients to attend our luncheons with their parents.
In 2015, the Greater Cincinnati Chapter became a Commemorative Partner with DoD’s United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To date we have thanked and honored more than 120 veterans for their service between 1 November 1955 and 15 May 1975 by personally presenting them with a commemorative lapel pin (veterans who served in theater are additionally honored with a commemorative bumper sticker). Key events in our role as a Commemorative Partner included a dinner meeting where the DoD program director, MG (Ret.) James T. Jackson, USA, was the guest speaker, and recognition of Vietnam Era veterans at the Hornet Veterans Breakfast Club, the Community of the Good Shepherd Church, and at a Xavier University Men’s Basketball game, before over 10,000 fans.
(Right) LTC (Ret) Al Brauer and LTC (Ret) Paul Fellinger present Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins to a group of veterans at Xavier University Men's Basketball game
We hope this introduction to the Greater Cincinnati Chapter, with an overview of the Chapter’s organization, programs, and activities will be helpful to the other chapters in the Ohio Council. You are always welcome to attend our membership and board meetings. Finally, we look forward to seeing all of you at the 2019 Ohio Council of Chapters Convention in Cincinnati, the Queen City of the West.
Steve Drefahl Alan Echt
Greetings from the Greater Cleveland Chapter
The Greater Cleveland Chapter serves Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Lorain Counties. Our meetings provide a variety of activities including speakers and social events. Speakers cover a variety of interests. In the past year, we have hosted Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and speakers from the Army Corps of Engineers, the presiding judge of the Cuyahoga County Veteran’s Court, and the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council. Social events include an afternoon at a Cleveland Women’s Orchestra concert, Cleveland Indians baseball, a summer picnic, and a holiday party.
In the row just in front of Tom Jenks are Dick Reusch and wife Elaine.
A major mission of the chapter is support of ROTC programs in our service area. This includes twelve Junior ROTC programs in the Cleveland Public Schools and several surrounding suburban school districts; and, the Senior ROTC program at John Carroll University which hosts student cadets from John Carroll and four other universities and colleges in the Cleveland area. Our Junior ROTC support has three major components: 1) a $1000 scholarship to an outstanding graduating senior, scholarship candidates are nominated by the cadre of each high school’s JROTC program; 2) an outstand cadet medal and certificate at each school program with recipients selected by a school’s program cadre; and 3) program (event) financial support.
The scholarship is funded primarily from a tax-exempt trust specifically set up for the scholarship; and, from specifically designated donations by chapter members. The Chapter has been awarding the scholarship since 1998. A major difficulty in recent years has been obtaining nominees for the award. In several years, we have had only one candidate from the entire group of twelve programs in spite of numerous requests to instructors. However, this year 2017, we received applications from three outstanding candidates, all young women, representing the Army, Navy, and Air Force JROTC programs, and decided to award three scholarships.
A concern and unanswered question is paucity of candidates. Each of the JROTC programs is in a community/school district with a relatively large economically disadvantaged population and it would seem more graduating cadets could use support for their future education plans, whether a four-year college or a local junior college or ‘trade school.’ Sadly, in some cases, it appears the program cadre at specific schools are the problem, since those schools also consistently do not nominate an individual for the outstanding cadet award. In light of the lack of responses, we now only provide outstanding cadet medals and certificates to schools which identify an individual for the medal.
The Chapter’s JROTC program support has evolved over the last several years, partially in response to issues identified with the scholarship and outstanding cadet medals. Several years ago, the Chapter provided a small, but fixed stipend to all JROTC programs in our service area, no strings attached which regularly went unacknowledged. When federal funding for JROTC ‘summer camp’ programs was cut, the Chapter offered all schools an opportunity to participate in a High Ropes course at Lorain Community College—only two programs responded. With ‘summer camp’ funding restored, the Chapter looked at other options. In the last two years, we have offered to all programs funds in support of a drill meet or similar activity. The school/program must apply and in the 2016-17 school year, five programs applied for funds. Each program received $200 which came from a $300 MOAA/USAA grant and $700 from the chapter. The Chapter funds come from dues, specific donations, and a 50/50 raffle held at meetings. The photo below is Chapter Past President, Maj. Tom Jenks USA (Ret) [left] presenting a check to the Rhodes HS Navy JROTC program for their 2016 Drill Meet.
Our support for the Senior ROTC program at John Carroll includes presentation of an outstanding cadet medal and certificate at their annual military ball/recognition dinner, and, presentation of “gold bars” at graduation. The presentation of the gold bars is usually at meeting before the actual commissioning and also provides and opportunity to recruit for MOAA.
The Greater Cleveland Chapter is pleased to be an early supporter of the drive to establish a Fisher House associated with Cleveland’s Louis Stokes VA Medical Center. The Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center has been one of the five leading VA hospitals in the country. It has a significant standing with eight accredited medical Centers of Excellence, two Research Centers of Excellence and two Education Centers of Excellence. A major shadow was the Center had no Fisher House, long after other VA Centers had at least one. Approximately three years ago a major effort was undertaken to raise the $2.75 million which was the local share of the $7 million needed for one Fisher House with the remaining coming from the national Fisher Foundation.
In January 2017, the Greater Cleveland Fisher House, the local affiliate of the Fisher Foundation, reached the goal with $3.4 million. However, the national Fisher Foundation raised the ante and has agreed to completely fund a second Fisher House at the Stokes VA Center. This will provide 24-28 suites for veteran families receiving treatment at the hospital. A group of properties was selected just north of the Hospital and after all property clearances had been obtained, the land was turned over to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on June 30, 2017. It is anticipated a formal groundbreaking will be this Veterans Day, November 11, 2017. The Greater Cleveland Fisher House, formed to raise funds for the facility, will change to a Friends of the Greater Cleveland House group to raise funds to support the veterans and families using the local Fisher Houses.
Chapter members also provide leadership to other veteran’s groups and programs. The current president of the Joint Veterans Council of Cuyahoga County is a chapter member as is the immediate past president of the JVCCC. Another member works at the Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission. We actively encourage our members involvement in other activities which support active, retired, and former military.
In closing, below is a picture of Cleveland’s iconic Terminal Tower over the left field foul line marker at Progressive field and Quicken Loans Area on July 7, 2017 when the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers. Beautiful evening all around.
Last Updated: August 6th, 2017