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chaptersinaction The Minnesota Chapter, led by


President CW2 Rita Cox, USA (Ret), was the Top-Recruiting Chapter of the Year, and its membership chair, Col. John D. Abrahamson, USA (Ret), received Chapter Recruiter of the Year. Abrahamson led the chapter’s highly successful direct-mail cam- paign, which helped the chapter grow from 300 members to more than 1,000 members in the past decade. Lt. Col. Raymond B. Russell Jr.,


USAF (Ret), received the inaugural Col. Steve Strobridge Award, which is named after MOAA’s longtime Government Relations director. Russell was recognized for his re- lentless advocacy efforts for MOAA at the state and national levels and his outstanding leadership and ser- vice as the legislative chair for the New Jersey Lakes and Pines Chapter and the New Jersey Council of Chap- ters. At the state level, his persever- ance and leadership helped win the fight to exempt servicemembers’ retired pay and Survivor Benefit Plan payments from state income tax. The event concluded with the pre- sentation of four- and five-star Levels of Excellence Award streamers. “Entering the Levels of Excel-


lence Award contest gives you an opportunity to sit down and look at what your council or chapter has or hasn’t done and what you can do better,” says five-star winner and Texas Council of Chapters President Lt. Col. Patrick Christ, USA (Ret). “That’s why I would encourage chapters to enter.”


MO


— Contributors are Col. Barry Wright, USA (Ret), director, Council and Chapter Affairs; Col. Brian Anderson, USAF (Ret), deputy director; and Kris Ann Hegle. For submission information, see page 6.


54 MILITARY OFFICER JANUARY 2016


Looking Back; Looking Ahead


Each January provides us with the oppor- tunity to look ahead at the upcoming year and realize it is once again a chance for a fresh start with endless possibilities. This year is no different, and yet for many of us it will be very different. What’s different about 2016? For the first time in 13 years, our association will have a new president and CEO, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), who will lead the MOAA team into the new year and the future. With any “change of command,” some things might change, but MOAA’s


core mission remains the same: to sustain a strong national defense and ensure our nation keeps its commitments to currently serving, retired, and former members of the uniformed services and their families and survivors. We believe, as demonstrated by past actions, that our council and


chapter members and their families continue to be the bedrock of our organization. They are our community ambassadors — active, engaged leaders making a difference — and they remain the face of MOAA within their communities. During a recent chapter visit, a chapter guest asked me, “Why should I join a chapter, I already belong to national MOAA?” To which I responded, “Why not? This is where you live, and the local chapter is making a huge positive difference in the local community. So my ques- tion to you is, why not join a chapter and contribute to making a differ- ence in your community?” Chapter membership is open to all individuals who are serving or


have served in an active or reserve component as a commissioned or warrant officer in one of the seven U.S. uniformed services (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad- ministration, Public Health Service, and Coast Guard), as well as the surviving spouse of any deceased individual who would have been eli- gible for MOAA membership. We have over 400 MOAA chapters located across the country, and we


are always growing new chapters wherever our members are living. If you are newly relocated or trying to find the name and location of your nearest MOAA chapter, it is fairly easy to do by utilizing MOAA’s Chapter Locator at www.moaa.org/chapterlocator, or you can call (800) 234-MOAA (6622) and we can provide you with local chapter information. Each January, we have the opportunity for a fresh start. This January,


why not drop by and visit with a MOAA chapter in your community? I hope to see you during a future chapter visit.


— Col. Barry Wright, USA (Ret), Director, Council and Chapter Affairs


PHOTO: SEAN SHANAHAN


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