By Paul L. Bernard
A few weeks ago a Chapter member asked me a question that caught me off guard. He told me that he had a friend who had been a commissioned officer in one of the armed services, and he asked if this former officer could join MOAA. The member thought that a person had to be retired to belong to our organization. This caught me by surprise because there has been so much written about the membership requirements over the past two years—not to mention the change to eliminate the word “retired” from our name, both at the national level and locally. To clear up any confusion on this subject, membership is open to active duty, reserve, retired, and former commissioned and warrant officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, US Public Health Service (USPHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This includes National Guard Officers.
While discussing membership, the vitality of an organization can be measured by trends in its membership. Our Chapter has been fortunate to have had steady leadership in the recruiting department, and our membership numbers remain strong. At last count, we had 1,101 members. We have actively recruited from the retired ranks, individuals who belong to MOAA (National) but have not yet joined a Chapter, and over the past two years or so, from the Guard and Reserves. The group that has been most difficult to reach is the former officers. There is no “mailing list” for former officers and the best way to reach them is by word of mouth. I am fairly confident that most of us know some former officers who do not belong to the Chapter. By getting more former officers to join our chapter, we will gain a louder voice in the legislative arena.
Legislatively, we have been very successful by participating in and supporting the State Veterans Advisory Committee. Of note, we have changed the state law regarding the real estate tax credits for war-time veterans. As discussed in previous newsletters, the local town or city now must take action to increase the tax credit in
order for any individual to see a change. This has been happening across the state, and many towns and cities have increased the allowable tax credit. It is important to note that the Chapter supports many initiatives that affect all veterans, not just those that are retired.
If you know of a former officer who is not a member of the Chapter, please give him or her this newsletter after you have read it, and let them know that our Chapter would welcome their membership. With a larger membership will be able to affect greater changes that are responsible, reasonable and beneficial to veterans as a whole. Thanks!
One last item. As we all know from the media coverage, this is an election year. Included in this newsletter, for your convenience and reference, are the addresses and phone numbers of our Senators and Representatives in Washington. This is, as best as I can tell, an accurate and complete list. If you decide to contact one of our elected officials, please remember that the screening of regular mail may delay its delivery, especially if you are sending it to the Washington, DC, addresses. Generally, e-mail and facsimile are faster than regular mail.Thanks for your time and have a great spring!
Paul L. Bernard
The Board of Directors has agreed to accept some limited advertising in the newsletter, as long as it does not affect our non-profit status or the bulk mail rate. Our initial venture will be to solicit business card sized ads from our membership. If you would like to advertise in the newsletter, please contact Paul L. Bernard.
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