ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) presented its highest annual awards to four U.S. legislators, three organizations that supoort military people and their families, and two Congressional staff members in a ceremony on April 20 on Capitol Hill.
MOAA’s Board of Directors gave the awards to Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Richard Burr (R-NC) Rep. John Carter (R-TX), TriWest Healthcare Alliance, The Pease Greeters, and Our Military Kids, Inc., and two professional Congressional staffers, Tony McClain and Chris Alsup.
MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, and former military officers and their families and survivors. The association annually recognizes individuals or organizations that strongly support military men and women and their families.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Richard I. Neal, MOAA’s Chairman of the Board said, ―The top awards that MOAA presented recognize the highest caliber of leadership, dedication, and love of country. They also recognize the desire for a strong national defense, and—most importantly—steadfast support for the uniformed men and women who make that strong defense a reality.
Sen. Lincoln received her award for leadership in sponsoring a wide range of legislation to secure needed improvements in Guard, Reserve and survivor benefits. She advocated for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, health care, travel, and veterans benefit protections for the National Guard and Reserve. She also fought to remove compensation inequities imposed on survivors of veterans whose deaths were caused by military service.
Sen. Nelson was lauded for securing manpower increases, pay raise upgrades, healthcare protections, wounded warrior improvements and military health care coverage for those who serve in the National Guard and Reserve but retire before age 60.
Sen. Burr was recognized for his leadership in winning enactment of the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act. This legislation allows military spouses to claim the same state of domicile as their military sponsor. This corrects a situation where military spouses were disadvantaged by repeated military-ordered relocations.
Rep. Carter was honored for his role in being the initial House sponsor of the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act and spearheading the legislation through the House. This legislation helps military spouses gain voting and state tax protections.
TriWest Healthcare Alliance, represented by its president and chief executive officer David J. McIntyre, Jr., received the MOAA Distinguished Service Award for strongly supporting military members and families through such programs as donated phone cards to employees with deployed family members, donating more than $1 million to National Guard and Reserve family and emergency relief funds, and flexible work schedules and full benefits for employees with deployed family members.
McIntyre serves on the Boards of Directors of the USO, Fisher House, and the National Guard Youth Foundation. TriWest also received the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
Our Military Kids, Inc., and its co-founders Linda Davidson and Gail Kruzel, received a Distinguished Service Award for the outstanding support they provide children of deployed or severely injured Guard and Reserve members. Their program provides grants of up to $4,500 to sponsor sports, fine arts, tutoring, boys and girls clubs, and other activities for children of the deployed and wounded.
The Pease Greeters, and their co-founders Edmund Johnson and Charles Cove, were recognized for their efforts in organizing and operating a program that greets flights of military people who are travelling to or from the Middle East through the airport in Portsmouth, NH. Since the program began in 2005, the Greeters have not missed a single flight, meeting 350 flights and about 55,000 service members so they can offer refreshments and thanks for their service to our nation.
Congressional staff members Tony McClain, Sen. Lincoln’s Military Legislative Assistant, and Chris Alsup, Rep. Carter’s Legislative Director, were recognized with MOAA’s Colonel Paul W. Arcari Meritorious Service Award for a variety of legislation to help military service members, spouses, and survivors. Col. Arcari was MOAA’s Director of Government Relations for 14 years, retiring in 2002.
MOAA has awarded the Marix and Distinguished Service Awards since 1997. The congressional staff member award began in 2000. For more information about MOAA, please visit www.moaa.org.
MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, and former military officers and their families and survivors. It is an independent, nonprofit, and politically nonpartisan organization with more than 370,000 members from every branch of service. MOAA promotes a strong national defense by advocating equitable treatment of those who serve and have served their country in uniform. For more information, visit www.moaa.org.
Source: Military Officers Association of America