Mar 07 2013
Ever wonder what we do each day at MOAA? Here’s a peek from last week:
Karen, Monique and Admiral Ryan meet with Joining Forces Executive Director
(Pssst, it was at the First Lady’s office in the White House- bonus!)
An important part of our work is keeping strong relationships with national leaders. When Joining Forces was first conceived, MOAA was on the scene and we’ve stayed involved ever since. Why? Because Joining Forces puts a national spotlight on military families – and helps us get the word out about MOAA’s Career Conferences, Career Fairs, and other activities. More importantly, our long history of successful policy wins for military families means we can help the White House and Joining Forces teams come up with effective strategies to serve military families – sometimes on fun projects like when our 2011-2012 spouse council was asked to participate in a brainstorming session to name what became – Joining Forces!
Last week we met with the Joining Forces lead, an active duty Navy Captain, to say thanks for promoting the 2013 Spouse Symposium and learn how we can align our work with the White House’s upcoming outreach efforts. He’s new to the team, and building collaborative relationships is really the only way to get movement on issues and programs for military families. This information meeting is one way that collaboration continues.
Karen and Admiral Ryan on Capitol Hill
The team meet with Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA)and his staff to thank him for reintroducing two bills that support military spouses and families: The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act and the Military Family Leave Act.
The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act would allow a credit against income taxes for re-licensing costs paid by military spouses due to a permanent change of duty station. The Military Family Leave Act would provide two weeks of unpaid leave for eligible family members of service personnel that have been called to active duty in support of a contingency operation or are deployed in connection with a contingency operation. Unlike the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), this benefit would be available to all employees including those employed by small companies (less than 50) as well as part time workers.
When the bills are formally “dropped”, we will list them under the take action tab on our website. Be sure and contact your elected official and urge them to support these key pieces of legislation.
Face time is important with congressional members and we strive to thank all the congressional members and staff who support the military. We host the Arthur T. Marix awards each year to formally recognize them. But we also start with thanks at the annual Storming the Hill event, when we bring in members and military spouses around the country to present our top legislative priorities before every member of Congress. We always start the conversation with a thank you and a handshake.
Admiral Ryan presents Family Readiness Awards at the Pentagon
Each year MOAA presents an award and $1,000 to the most exceptional family readiness groups in the National Guard and Reserves. Last Friday was the 2012 presentation, but we’ve hosted the event since the year 2000.
The event is held in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon and hosted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs) and Chiefs of the National Guard and Reserves. The Hall of Heroes is a sobering place to be. The names of all Medal of Honor Recipients are etched into the walls.
We honor the families who support their own, while remembering the ultimate sacrifices our troops make while the families carry on at home.
Watch a highlight of this year’s event.
Want to know more? Sign up for the MOAA Spouse e-newsletter.
Monique serves as the deputy director for spouse programs at MOAA.