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From the Council/Chapter 


Ohio Council of Chapters Board: Pictured above Left to Right: LTC Rod Hosler, 1st Vice President; Col Dick Calta, President; LtGen Atkins, MOAA President and CEO; MGEN Hahn, 3rd Vice President; CAPT Echt, 2nd Vice President, LTC Smetana, Secretary/Treasurer Ohio's 2016 Level of Excellence 5-Star winners. Pictured above Left to Right: Col Dick Calta, USAF, Ohio Council of Chapters, LTC Gary Williams, USA, Mahoning and Shenango Chapter, LTC Ron Smetana, USA, Ohio Western Reserve Chapter, LtGen Dana Atkins, MOAA President and CEO, CAPT Steve Drefahl, USN, Greater Cincinnati Chapter, and CAPT Bill Tate, USN, Central Ohio Chapter
January 2018

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:

Never Stop Serving
Dick Calta
Colonel, USAF, Retired
President, Ohio Council of Chapters.

2018 OWRC Board Members (Left to Right) Ron Smetana, President; Don Bratton, 1st VP; Will Handrich, 2nd VP;

Dave Riegler, Treasurer; Bart Oldenburg, Secretary; Tom Harnden, Trustee; Dan Hahn, Trustee; Brad Harvey, Trustee

February 2018

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).

Ron Smetana
LTC, USA, Retired
President, OWRC.

March 2018

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.

Phyllis Plear
Maj, USAF, Retired

April 2018

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
LT, USN, (Former)

May 2017
American Legion Post 335
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.

Richard Schroeder
COL, USAR, Retired

June 2017
Military Officers Association of America
P. O. Box 12
Fairborn, OH 45324-0012

     Our Chapter is fortunate to be located in the center of the birth of aviation; the successful history of powered flight starts with the Wright brothers. The history of the Wright brothers' invention is preserved in and around Dayton: from the recreation of their bicycle shop at Dayton's Carillon Park to the evolution of air power as displayed at the National Museum of the Air Force. There is 100 years of air base history in Dayton.

     The most current air base in Dayton is Wright Patterson AFB (WPAFB). WPAFB has given over part of Huffman Prairie, at the far end of its runways, to the National Park Service. It was on Huffman Prairie that the Wright brothers perfected their flying machine after returning from Kitty Hawk. The DAC was fortunate to have COL Bradley McDonald the current WPAFB base commander speak at our April Luncheon.
     The Dayton connection with the military goes much further back than the Wright brothers flying invention. Today Dayton has a veteran’s center that goes back to 1867. On the grounds there is a cemetery which has interred the remains of more than 22,000 veterans from the Mexican War, War of 1812, Civil War, Indian War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam era. This historical site is the home of a modern Dayton VA Medical Center. The lineage of the Medical Center is also traced back to 1867.
     We have used the local historical heritage in our monthly programs. Besides having excellent and knowledgeable speakers giving talks along historical themes at our luncheons our activities also include visits to the historical sites. The DAC May activity was a visit to the Dayton Veteran’s Center museum.

     Because WPAFB is so important to Ohio, being the 6th largest employer in the state, the DAC easily attracts government speakers from the local and state level. At the February DAC luncheon Rick Perales spoke. He is the Ohio Representative for our district. At the June DAC luncheon the speaker will be Bob Hackett. He is the Ohio Senator for our district.
     On WPAFB is the headquarters for all research, acquisition, and logistical support of AF systems. It is also the home of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. We are working on getting the commander to speak at a future luncheon. The base is also home to The Air Force Institute of Technology or AFIT. It is the Air Force's graduate school of engineering and management as well as its institution for technical professional continuing education. The DAC represents MOAA National at the yearly ceremony honoring outstanding students. On a day to day basis there are more than 35,000 military and civilians that go to work on the base.

     DAC members directly affect today’s forces by supporting the VA center, the WPAFB USO, the 2 Fisher houses, one on WPAFB and one that is starting up at the VA center, as well as on base activities and organizations. At the March DAC luncheon we had WPAFB USO Representatives Leslie Moore and Mia Walthers speak. Last August we had Chris Stanley, executive director of Fisher/Nightingale Houses, speak at our annual DAC picnic. At that time he accepted the DAC support check to the Fisher House. The DAC newsletter publishes a list of items that the Fisher House needs. DAC members bring the needed items to luncheons which are then delivered to the Fisher House on WPAFB. Finally, several DAC members are active volunteer supporters of the National Museum of the Air Force, the Dayton Veterans Center, and the WPAFB Medical Center.
     This will be the DAC’s second year supporting of the Air Force Marathon in September. The DAC also has members in Miami Valley Military Affairs Association (MVMAA) which is a forum where local elected officials and business leaders meet socially with active and retired military service members. The purpose of the MVMAA is to have the community support active duty members. The military is very much appreciated in the area because of the impact that WPAFB has on the local economy.
     Other activities/programs of the DAC include: attending the local Dayton Dragons baseball game in July and attending performances by Wright State University theater students. The performances are followed by dinners at local restaurants. This coming November’s performance will be combined with the DAC support for the local Marine Reserve Toys-for-Tots program. At the dinner following the performance the DAC will give a check to the Marine Toys-for-Tots representative. The DAC has a very active golf league. Three years ago they sponsored a tournament whose proceeds were given to the USO. That amount was part of the seed money needed to establish the WPAFB USO. The tournaments are now a regular part of the golf league.

     Eleven local high schools recognized their outstanding JROTC cadets with MOAA awards. Recently DAC representatives visited 7 of those schools to participate in the recognition ceremonies. The DAC also visited 4 universities giving out “gold bars” to graduating Army and Air Force ROTC seniors. This included the cadets from satellite campuses that do not have regular ROTC detachments. In addition to giving 2nd lieutenant rank to the graduates, a MOAA medal was presented to the outstanding junior Army and Air Force ROTC cadet at each university.
     The DAC is currently reviewing some 24 applications for the annual DAC scholarship given to entering college freshman. The winner of the scholarship and the student’s parents are invited to the August picnic to receive the award.
     In summary, Dayton is a great place to live. It is full of interesting places to visit. Dayton is very supportive of the military, both active and retired. Our Chapter takes advantage of its location and organizations. In turn, our members support the community and service members both active and retired.

Michael Ondrasek
Col, USAF, Retired

July 2017

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.


(Left) MG (Ret) James Jackson, USA, presents a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to Dr. Patrick Mooney, CPT, USA, on May 20, 2016
(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
CAPT, USN, Retired        and        CAPT, USPHS, Active

August 2017

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.

Greater Cleveland Chapter members Ron Schwachenwald, Tom Jenks and wife Sue, Nina Germaine wwife of Jon Reiss,Ethelann Duncan, and Frank DiMarco.
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.

Cary Weatherhead

September 2017

Health care is personal to all of us and this year will again prove to be worrisome to many and underscore the importance of maintaining constant contact with our elected representatives. TRICARE for most of us is the primary or secondary (if we have TRICARE For Life) source for insurance coverage. While the final impact of this year’s congressional discussions is still to be determined it is important that membership keeps their representatives and senators informed of their concerns. The following guidance from June 2017 is still pertinent.

June 9, 2017

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) brought sweeping health care reforms, many of which will take effect in just a few months. MOAA is working closely with TRICARE program officials to learn what new processes and responsibilities these changes will bring for TRICARE beneficiaries and when they will occur.

The new TRICARE Select option, which replaces TRICARE Standard and Extra, begins Jan. 1, 2018 -- just 6 short months from now. TRICARE Select is the self-managed preferred provider organization (PPO) option. It provides freedom of choice of providers, with reduced/fixed fee beneficiary out-of-pocket costs for care in the network. TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve, and TRICARE Young Adult and TRICARE for Life will remain as is.

Under the new model, beneficiaries must make an active, annual choice of health plan for themselves and/or their family. Because 2018 is the first year of the plan, there will be a grace period, and beneficiaries will be automatically renewed in their existing TRICARE option as of Dec. 31, 2017. This means beneficiaries currently in TRICARE Standard or Extra will be converted automatically into TRICARE Select.

Active duty family members newly entitled to TRICARE will be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime if they live in a Prime Service Area (generally around a military treatment facility). If not, they will be enrolled in TRICARE Select.

Two populations may be at risk of losing coverage:

   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.

Enrollment Details:

   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.

Take Action!

Walter Rey

October 2017

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, zemzem1@aol.com.

Bill Tate
President, Central Ohio Chapter.

December 2017

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!

Bill Keller
Greater Cleveland Chapter.

Last Updated: March 31st, 2018