MOAA’s Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs a Success

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Members from across the country gathered for events that included council and chapter roundtables, speeches from distinguished guests, award ceremonies, a career fair, and more.

MOAA continues to be the preeminent military representation and advocacy group in the country. Despite challenges ahead, the association will continue to work to protect the earned benefits of servicemembers and their families.

Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) held its annual meeting Nov. 14-16, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Members from across the country gathered for events that included council and chapter roundtables, speeches from distinguished guests, award ceremonies, a career fair, and more.

During MOAA’s annual meeting of the membership, Gen. John Tilelli Jr., USA (Ret), chair of MOAA’s board of directors, and Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., USN (Ret), MOAA president, addressed the future of the association amid budget uncertainty and promised to remain persistent and proactive advocates for the military community.

“MOAA continues to be the preeminent military representation and advocacy group in the country,” Tilelli said. Despite challenges ahead, he continued, the association will continue to work to protect the earned benefits of servicemembers and their families.

“The shutdown and sequestration affects each and every community, each and every person, each and every military community, every family program, every veterans’ program,” Tilelli said. “There’s certain culpability in leadership, and it’s neither party — it’s all parties. What’s best for the country is more important than what’s best for any party.”

MOAA recognized caregivers during the association’s third annual Community Heroes Award Night. Before calling awardees to the stage, Master of Ceremonies Lee Woodruff spoke about her experience as a caregiver for her husband, Bob, a journalist who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006. Lee noted a strong support system and humor were keys to Bob’s successful recovery — leading him to find fulfillment as a new version of himself he calls “Bob 2.0.”

But as someone who felt disconnected to the military community before her husband was injured, Lee now knows how important education is to ensuring wounded warriors and their caregivers receive the support they need.

“For the generation of warriors today — those in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s our children who will be called upon to care for them well into their old age,” Lee said. “We have to do a much better job … in helping to understand what it is we can do to make sure and ensure all of our families are cared for.”

Master Sgt. David Carr, USAF; members of the 50th Operations Group Standardization and Evaluations Division; and members of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1st Space Brigade received the award under the Military Champion category. Recipients in the Civilian Champion award category were Cmdr. Milady “Bunny” Blaha, USN (Ret); the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition; and The Home Front Cares.

Each awardee received a framed copy of “Perseverance,” a painting by retired Army Sgt. Peter Damon, who in 2003 lost both arms in an explosion in Iraq.

Read more about the recipients, Damon, and event sponsors at http://www.moaa.org/hero.

In a keynote speech at the Chairman’s Luncheon, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, highlighted the innovative and creative behavior of the millennial generation. Citing the group’s top three values as justice, community, and authenticity, Johnson noted a changing military culture at the academy that now allows freshman to eat first in the cafeteria — the opposite what she and most in attendance were accustomed to as cadets.

The final night, 112 MOAA’s council and chapter’s received the annual four or five-star ribbons at the Levels of Excellence Awards dinner.

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About MOAA:
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with more than 380,000 members from every branch of service, including active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, and former officers and their families and survivors. MOAA is a nonprofit and politically nonpartisan organization and an influential force in promoting a strong national defense. MOAA represents the interests of service members and their families in every stage of their lives and careers, and for those who are not eligible to join MOAA, Voices for America’s Troops is a nonprofit MOAA affiliate that supports a strong national defense. For more information, visit http://www.moaa.org or http://www.voicesfortroops.org/.

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