By Paul L. Bernard
At the last Chapter luncheon, our guest speaker, Walt Havenstein from BAE Corporation in Nashua, spoke about how his company develops technology designed to protect our troops in battle. Walt and his company are committed to providing the best equipment to the Defense Department and he is passionate about his work. During his speech, Walt was talking about the current build-up of military strength in preparation for a possible (or probable) war with Iraq. He then asked the group: What are you doing to support the Country’s efforts in the next war? This caught me off guard, but it was a legitimate question.
It is clear that most of us are not in a position to serve our Country in the same manner as when we were on active duty or in the reserves. Age takes its toll. This does not mean, however, that we do nothing. In fact, our Chapter and MOAA take an active roll in raising money to provide scholarships to our children and grandchildren. Indirectly, this helps ensure that the best educated, most qualified individuals will be using equipment made by Walt’s company. We also take an active roll in calling for pay raises for the active duty folks to ensure that they receive a pay that is comparable to their civilian counterpart.
At the end of March, I will be going to Washington, DC, as part of MOAA’s annual Storming the Hill. The focus this year is to encourage our congressional delegation to support legislation that eliminates the Survivor Benefit Plan offset when our spouse reaches age 62. Preservation and improvement of benefits aids retention in the armed forces. The passage of TRICARE for Life and TRICARE Senior Pharmacy are further examples of the benefits that exist today because of the efforts of TROA/MOAA. And the list goes on.
Both MOAA and our Chapter are committed to supporting the armed forces through efforts to preserve and increase the benefits associated with military service, both at the State a national level. Every member of our
organization supports these efforts by paying dues and donating to the scholarship fund. As a Chapter, we also make a small annual donation to the State Veteran’s Home in Tilton. In this way, we help take care of those who have served our Country and now need help themselves.
All in all, I believe that we can answer Walt’s question by saying that we do plenty by supporting the active and reserve forces, and the benefits that entice young individuals to join and remain in the armed forces. It is good to be challenged every once in a while, and to reflect on what we are doing and where we are going. Thanks Walt.
On a different topic, the summer is coming, so I’ve been told. Check out the “Coming Events” on the back page of the newsletter and plan accordingly. The last two years we have had over 400 people attend our now, “World Famous Annual Clambake” the first Saturday in August. Mark your calendars and plan to help set a new all-time attendance record. And don’t forget the Mount Washington Resort weekend on September 12 – 14. The flyers are in the mail if you have not received it already.
2003 is shaping up to be a very busy year, both socially and politically. At the State level, several bills have been introduced affecting veterans. One to watch addresses the veterans’ tax exemption on real property. As I understand it, all towns and cities offer a $50.00 annual tax exemption to eligible (wartime) veterans. Under current law, the towns and cities can increase the exemption to $100.00 per year. The proposed legislation would allow the towns and cities to change the $100.00 exemption to any value up to $500.00.
At the federal level, concurrent receipt is still a hot item. This year, MOAA also is focusing on removing the SBP offset when a retiree’s spouse reaches age 62. It is likely that all members of MOAA will be asked to contact their senators and congressmen to support these initiatives.
It’s going to be a busy year, but we will try to keep you up to date.
Paul L. Bernard
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