Is it too late to say Happy New Year? Still grappling with the fact that it’s 2023! (Where have the last 20 years gone?) We have a great year of activities planned for this year, beginning with our first quarterly luncheon on March 25th at the Maine Military Museum in South Portland. Please note the date change! Previous communications had the date for March 18th, but I was surprised with two tickets to the LIV golf tournament in Tucson that same weekend. We’ll try again for a St Patrick’s day themed luncheon in 2024. I hope that, like me, you feel that our luncheons just keep getting better! At our December 7th luncheon we awarded the Ann LePage Service to Veterans Award to the very deserving CW4 (Ret) Wendy Moody.
We were also treated to an excellent presentation by the Scarborough Police Chief Mark Holmquist, retired Army, who spoke about his time serving in the 3rd Infantry Regiment as a Sentinel Guard at the Tombs of the Unknowns. His talk was so inspiring – I could have listened to him for an hour! We will have two presentations at our March 25th luncheon that you will not want to miss!
Teague Morris, the Outreach Director for Senator Angus King will talk about veterans’ legislative issues and the Senator’s recent appointment to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee – the first time a Maine Senator has been on this committee in over 30 years! Bring your questions for Teague – he is a wealth of knowledge. We will also have a presentation by the Executive Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office, Jennifer Bover, who will provide some valuable information about the newly passed PACT Act and what it means for Maine Veterans.
I’m also excited to announce that MOAA’s Advocacy in Action will be a live event in Washington DC this year! Dave Patch and I will be representing our Chapter visiting our congressional delegates to share the 2023 MOAA imperatives. I’ll give you all a sneak peek at what our initiatives are for this year at the luncheon. As always, I look forward to our camaraderie enjoyed over a delicious meal. Please send in your reservation form no later than March 20th along with your check to reserve your spot for March 25th! Reservations Form
Yours in Service, Brenda Pennels, Chapter President
The Chapter would like to extend a warm Welcome Aboard to the following new members:
Chief Warrant Officer-4 Michael Garrity, USA/USCG, and his wife Kathryn from Saco, ME
Captain David Tanguay, USN, from Windham, ME
We look forward to seeing you all at our Quarterly Meetings. Thank you for your interest and support. Col Rob McAleer (Membership Chair)
ROTC/JROTC Program Update
Key Dates for ROTC/JROTC Awards Ceremonies, 2021
There are a total of 8 Junior Programs and 4 Senior Programs in our state. The listing below reflects both programs and known dates shared with us to date. I have broken them down by Military Branch as well as program type (Junior or Senior). For the programs that we have dates of their awards presentation, they have been listed along with the phone number of the school. With COVID-19 still affecting school schedules, you can understand that many programs remain in flux at this point. As additional information is received, I will update you in future Newsletter editions. Any member who wishes to represent the Chapter by presenting the award should contact the school.
Bangor High School 207-992-5570 (April 29, 2023)
Hermon High School 207-848-5436 (May 5, 2023)
Nokomis Regional High School 207-368-5239 (April 2023, date TBD)
Old Town High School 207-827-3910 ext 309 (March 25, 2022)
Sacopee Valley High School 207-625-2303 (DateTBD)
Brewer High School 207-989-4140 (Date TBD)
Lewiston High School 207-795-4190 ext 5246 (Date TBD)
Massabesic High School 207-247-5011 (May 2023, date TBD)
University of Maine, Orono: 207-581-1121 Awards Ceremony (April 16, 2023) Commissioning (May 6, 2023)
University of Southern Maine, Portland, Gorham: 207-891-1839 Awards Ceremony (May 06, 2022) Commissioning (May 2023, date TBD)
University of Maine, Orono: 207-581-1551 Commissioning (May 6, 2023)
Maine Maritime Academy, Castine: 207-326-2356 Commissioning (May 6, 2023, date TBD) Awards Ceremony at Castine (TBD)
Note: The Pine Tree Chapter of MOAA has closed its doors, effective 2021. Our Chapter is the only one in the State of Maine that supports the JROTC and SROTC programs. Presently, we support these programs by providing annual awards and a gift for deserving cadets in both the JROTC and the Senior ROTC programs. The Chapter also provides a $500 scholarship for the Senior ROTC Detachments, one each for the two Army programs and one each for the two Navy programs. These awards are made possible by generous member contributions each year. We thank you for your support. (COL Frank Toderico, ROTC Chair)
Reflections of the December 7th Quarterly Meeting
We were treated to an inside look at the daily life of a sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns by the Scarborough Police Chief and Army retiree Mark Holmquist. In addition to a lot of details about the selection process, he discussed what it took to prepare for his duty, and most importantly, what that assignment meant to him.
Some great information about the Tomb of the Unknowns can be found at: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/explore/tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier
We also recognized one of our own, Board Member Col ART Wickham, USA (Ret), for receiving a National Award from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) at their Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in October 2022. As Art was unable to attend the meeting in Washington, Chapter President, Brenda Pennels, accepted the award on his behalf and presented the award to him at or meeting.
Speakers for the Quarterly Meeting on March 25, 2023
Our Chapter is pleased to have not one, but two distinguished guests who will be speaking to us on March 25th. The following is information we have to share about them:
Teague Morris has been a staff member of Senator King's since 2013 and currently serves as his outreach director. In that position, Teague focuses on veterans, aging, and low-income policy issues, working in tandem with Senator King's regional representative and constituent services staff. A former geriatric social worker with experience in long-term care, community and home-based settings, he got his start as a kid hanging out with residents at the former Jewish Home for the Aged in Portland (what is not the Cedars). He earned his B.A. in Human Developments and Social Relations at Earlham College. He completed his Ph.D. in Public Policy at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.
Jennifer Boyer is the Executive Director of the Togus Regional Office, Veterans Benefits Administration in Augusta, Maine. She will be making a presentation on the newly signed act known as the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 (PACT Act}, also know as the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022. This is an act Congress intended to significantly improve health care access and funding for Veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service.
Please do plan to attend our Quarterly Luncheon at the Maine Military Museum, Peary Street, South Portland on March 25. The reservation form can be found here: Reservations Form
Annual Membership Dues
Just a quick reminder for anyone that has not yet paid their annual dues. As announced previously, dues this year are again just $20.00. Please take a few moments to send in your payment to Southern Maine Chapter, MOAA, P.O. 2145, South Portland, ME 04116-2145 so that we can continue to operate as we have in the past. Thank you. Col Rob McAleer (Membership Chair)
Southern Maine Chapter Supporters (2022)
The Chapter is able to continue its annual operations because of the year in and year out support provided by our members through their annual dues. In many cases, members are able to provide additional assistance through their voluntary contributions to the General Fund and the ROTC/JROTC programs. In order to appropriately recognize their support and generosity, the Chapter has established four categories of supporters. The Standard Bearers are those members who have paid their dues for the current year. Bronze Star members have donated up to $24.00 extra to the Chapter. Silver Star members have donated up to $49.00 extra. And, Gold Star members have donated $50.00 or more. Regardless of the level of contribution, the Chapter is sincerely grateful for their continuing support. (Col Rob McAleer, Membership Chair)
Robert Backhaus, Scott Berry, David Campbell, Robert Curtis, Michael Delia, Donald Grinnell, John Ham, Arn Heggers, Charles Hennessey, Alan Johnston, Mark Patrick, Michael Pooler, Craig Smith, Richard Snow, Robert Stakel, Edward Stanhope, Linwood Stockwell, Richard Tetrev, and Frank Toderico
Edward Baehr, Richard Bailey, James Cumming, Greg Curtis, Francis Dillon, Connie Harrison, Mary Hoffman, Robert Jaffin, Bill Libby, Paul Loveless, Don Lowry, Rob McAleer, Charles Schuman, and James Varmecky
John Bauman, David Beattie, Romeo Belanger, Michael Conlon, Bradley Dupee, Ginny Garneau, Anthony Liguori, Marston Lovell, Ronald Lubatti, Earle McCormick, Thomas Myers, Charlotte Perillo, Stan Primmer, Helen Przywara, Michael Severance, Donald Welsh, and Joseph Welsh
Frank Amoroso, Ralph Black, David Carmack, Charlie Cragin, David Crump, Paul Cunin, James Dunn, John Fay, Lorinda Fontaine-Farris, Adolph Galonski, David Gardner, Jim James, Frank Jones, Donovan LaJoie, Fred Masciangelo, John MacKay, David Patch, Charlie Pearson, Brenda Pennels, William Sawyer, Donald Stearns, Frederick Tayler, John Thibault, James Vollkommer, Arthur Wickham, and Robert Wood