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Southern Maine Chapter Newsletter

   September 2021

   Vol 35  No. 4


Index (Scroll down through the newsletter or click on a section to go directly there.)

President's Message
New Officers and Members of the Board of Directors

Welcome Aboard
Surviving Spouses
In Memoriam

Request automatic electronic version of newsletter: rmcaleer04079@gmail.com

President’s Message 

Greetings everyone!  I hope everyone is enjoying our Maine summer, despite the crazy weather we’ve had.  I have a lot to share with you this quarter!    First, I want to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to those of you who attended our first live luncheon of the year on Saturday, 5 June at the Maine Military Museum in South Portland.  I was so pleased with the turnout, (I think we had about 50!) the food and most importantly the fellowship.  Special thanks to Bob Wood for conducting our swearing in ceremony for new officers.  I feel official now!  We also presented the 3rd Annual Ann Lepage service award to Chaplain (COL Ret.) Andrew Gibson who attended with his lovely wife Nancy.  The museum curator, Lee Humiston, and his all-volunteer team have done an amazing job amassing an impressive collection that is continuously updated and improved.  If you couldn’t make the luncheon make a point to visit the museum soon!  https://mainemilitarymuseum.org/     

The next chapter event will be a joint clambake (and lobsterbake!) event with the New Hampshire chapter of MOAA on Saturday, 18 September at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  We have invited our congressional delegation from both states and have already received some confirmations.  You really can’t beat the price for $25 per person that includes clam chowder, Lobster or char-broiled steak, steamers, corn, potatoes, onions and rolls, plus Beer, Wine and soft drinks.  I will be going down early in the morning Saturday to stake out a good spot for our chapter!  Deadline for RSVP is Friday, September 3, 2021.  Click here for:  Reservations

On Thursday, 10 June, Col Bill Hall and I attended a “Sneak Peak” tour of the new Portland VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic under construction at their new location on Commercial St., Portland.  The 62,500 square foot facility is scheduled for a Winter 2022 opening and will offer expanded, state-of-the-art services, including Primary Care, Mental Health, Surgical and Medicine Specialty services, Dental, Eye, Audiology, Physical Therapy, Prosthetics Support, Phlebotomy Lab, Radiology, and Telehealth.  Bill and I were both blown away by the design and technology incorporated into the facility and can’t wait for you all to see it too!

On 27 July, I attended a MOAA National virtual legislative meeting to discuss each state’s progress on state legislative initiatives that impact the military community.  I was bursting with pride as Maine was called out for its exemplary performance on creating and passing legislation on ten key issues identified by the DSLO (Defense State Liaison Office) that improve quality of life for military families.  A list and description of the ten issues can be found here https://statepolicy.militaryonesource.mil/#key-issues-report.  Maine was recognized as being one of five States nationally that have passed legislation pertinent to these issues. 

Lastly, I want to share with you that in July I was notified by Governor Mills that she has selected me for her Aide de Camp program.  This program will consist of 11 veterans from various eras and experience that will meet regularly to advise the governor on issues that impact the veteran community in Maine.  I am proud to have been selected and look forward to working with Governor Mills and the other Aides de Camp in making Maine an even better place for veterans and military families. 

Yours in Service,

Brenda Pennels,

Election of New Officers and Members of the Board of Directors

Our Chapter By-Laws require us to nominate a new slate of officers and members of the Board of Directors for consideration by our members in advance of the September quarterly meeting each year.  The Nominating Committee has proposed the following, which will be voted upon at the September Quarterly Chapter Meeting this year at the Portsmouth Navy Shipyard on September 18th:

Proposed Officer Slate for 2022

President:  LTC Brenda Pennels, USA                     671-1262  Brenda.Pennels@martinspoint.org

1st Vice President:  Vacant, pending nomination confirmation

2nd Vice President:  CDR David A. Patch, USN        633-3659          dapatch@maine.rr.com

Secretary:  LT(jg) John J. Fay, USN              883-644                      jfay0001@maine.rr.com

Treasurer:  LCDR Mark S. Patrick, USN                  729-604                      mpatricks@comcast.net

Immediate Past Pres.: CDR Richard H. Tetrev, USN  443-6645          oldrepme@comcast.net

Board of Directors for 2022-2024

COL Frank Toderico, ARNG             799-8999         ftoderico@juno.com

CPT Robert B. Wood, USA               846-5088         mainerwoods@gmail.com

Col Michael D. Delia, USAF             967-4571         mbadelia@roadrunner.com

Surviving Spouses

No one likes to talk about it, but death is a part of life.  As a spouse of a MOAA member, are you sure you know what needs to be done if your spouse passes before you?  Or are you the MOAA member who has served our country and journeyed through military life at some point and just assume your spouse will know “what to do” upon your death to take advantage of any benefits one might be entitled to for your service?  Was your loved one’s death perhaps a result of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam?  Do you need to contact the DoD regarding the death to end disability payouts? Start SBP?  Continue TRICARE benefits?  Understand how to request military burial benefits?  Your MOAA membership includes help in getting answers and support to these questions and more.  Is now the time to “stop thinking about the inevitable” and start the discussion?  (The answer is yes, if you really don’t know.)  It’s best to be prepared for when the time will come.  AND it’s good to know that MOAA has a virtual Surviving Spouse Chapter to help answer questions and invite you to join their community when you are ready.

MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter (SSVC) was formed in 2018 to provide information and exchange ideas, find solutions to problems or issues affecting surviving spouses, be a resource for surviving spouses, reach out to younger surviving spouses and to those living where MOAA chapters are not available and be an enhancement to regular chapters. The SSVC does not take the place of a regular MOAA chapter.  Today the Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter has 169 members from 38 states and has monthly Zoom meetings.  Interestingly, membership is “sparse” in the New England states and Southern Maine MOAA member, Connie Harrison, who has been a member of this group since April 2019, would be happy to talk to you anyone interested in learning more.  To participate in a future Zoom call, contact SSVC president Micki Costello at mssvc02@gmail.com.  Zoom meetings typically occur on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.  The monthly meetings alternate between a more formal meeting held at 1:00 PM and a more social meeting held at 5 PM.  The next meeting is the social Zoom meeting at 5 PM on Tuesday, August 17th. Addressed in the past include information on the topics including where to go for help, whom to talk with and how to take the first and following steps as the spouse of a military officer.

  • If your spouse served in Vietnam, he/she might have been a victim of Agent Orange
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
  • Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and your benefits
  • SBP/DIC offset (“widows’ tax”) and the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance
  • Rules on Remarriage
  • TRICARE, dental and vision care

More information on the Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter can be found on the MOAA Website, MOAA.org.  Simply login and under the MOAA blue banner, click on the dropdown menu, select Surviving Spouse, and click on VIEW MY RESOURCES. 

Once there, you will see resources related to surviving spouse issues, including Advocacy News, Surviving Spouse Resources News, Chapter Membership News, and links to four MOAA Members-Only Surviving Spouse publications:

  • Legislative Action Guide
  • Survivor’s Planning Guide
  • Survivor’s Checklist: First Steps for Moving On
  • Your Guide to Military Burial                                                                                               

Respectfully submitted,

Connie Harrison

Welcome Aboard

The Chapter is pleased to Welcome Aboard our newest Members:

Colonel William Dionne, USA, and Annmarie from Bangor

Colonel Charles Boothby, USA, and Judith from Bangor

Lieutenant Colonel John MacKay, USA, and Ann Marie from Bangor

Brigadier General Donald Marden, USA, from Oakland

Colonel Michael Pooler, USA, from Oakland

Colonel Scott Fields, USA, and Priscilla from Fort Fairfield

Captain Nancy Howland, USCG, and David from Bar Harbor

Colonel David Carmack, USAF, and Adrienne from Veazie

Chief Warrant Office 4 Gregory Grotten, USA, and Mary from Union

Colonel Donald Welsh, USMC, and Susan from Wayne

Colonel Timothy Thorsen, USMC, and Rebecca from Gorham

Lieutenant Harvey McCullough, USN, from Standish

Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Moore, USA, and Angie from Brewer

We are very pleased that so many members of the former Pine Tree Chapter have found a new home with us.  If memory serves me, the Pine Tree Chapter was the original Maine Chapter.  So they own that piece of history.  (Rob McAleer, Membership Chair)

In Memoriam

Major James L. Paradis

Monmouth, ME

July 28, 2020

A Grateful Nation Thanks You For Your Service"

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