President's Letter

           
1.  Your El Paso MOAA Chapter.  In the last MOAA Border Bulletin I highlighted the Top 10 Legislative Goals for MOAA National.  In this issue I want to discuss briefly our method at the local level, in supporting these goals and highlighting support to our veterans and their families here at the local community level.
 
 a.  Your local Chapter will place the priority of its effort in 2018 in reaching out to the community, identifying interesting initiatives designed to help veterans and their families, and by actively supporting local Veteran Service Organization initiatives.  You will continue to see our MOAA Outreach Program highlighting these opportunities and actively seeking to support them.  I want to encourage you to read BG USA (RET) Kotter’s report as this key initiative, the MOAA Outreach Program continues to highlight opportunities to support our local veterans.   During our last luncheon we highlighted two key opportunities to support Veterans.  First, we invited Mr. Kirby Prickett to speak to the guests about the Honor Flight program.  This program flies veterans at no cost, to Washington D.C. each October for the purpose of visiting the national monuments.  Your Chapter partnered with AUSA and the West Region AUSA President, Mr. Gus Rodriguez, to present a $1000 check in order to sponsor an El Paso WW II Veteran for this coming October 2018 trip.  We are actively seeking WW II veterans so that we might continue to support this program in the future.  This is a program El Pasoans should not only be aware of, but should actively consider supporting.
 
b.  The main guest speaker during the luncheon was Judge Angie Barrill, the 346th District Court Judge who initiated the El Paso Veteran’s Treatment Court Program, and who runs the program today with Judge William E. Moody.  The mission of the program is to divert justice involved veterans and active service members from the traditional criminal justice system by assisting them and their families with treatment and judicial monitoring to afford them the tools needed to lead a productive and law abiding life.   Veterans, or active service members of the U.S. Armed forces, must apply to the Veteran’s Court Program through their attorney, Community Supervisor or Judge.  All applicants undergo substance abuse and mental health assessments to determine the appropriateness of the program in meeting the needs of the individual. On the last Wednesday of each month Judge Barrill holds court and reviews each case with the veterans enrolled in this program, reviewing their individualized treatment program and their progress with debt payments, sobriety, and ability to continue abiding by the law.  Applicants are assigned fellow veteran mentors who assist and guide applicants through the program.  Additionally, the program coordinates with the Veterans Benefit Administration to assess applicants to determine whether the applicant qualifies for disability pension, compensation, education benefits and/or vocational rehabilitation.   A few of us attended the Veteran’s Treatment Court on 28 February, and witnessed first hand, perhaps the most inspiring program dedicated to caring for our veterans, that I have seen.   We had the opportunity to meet with the Judge and her team and discuss possible ways to continue to support this tremendous program.  Several members of the local MOAA Chapter intend to pursue participation in the Mentor program.   I encourage each of you to attend one of these Veteran’s Treatment Court Program sessions, and consider participating in this mentorship program. 
 
c.  Our next MOAA Luncheon is scheduled for 14 April at the Underwood Golf Course.  You can find out more information for the next luncheon inside this Border Bulletin, but I also want to highlight that on that same day, 14 April from noon to 1330, we will also support numerous local veteran’s organizations in the annual Massing of the Colors, sponsored by the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) at San Raphaels Church (2301 Zanzibar Street).  If you would like more information you can contact LTC Pauline Ballesteros USA (RET) at 915-449-8994. 
 
 2. Support your El Paso Veteran’s Community.  So what can you do?
 
A.  Get Informed.  Understand MOAA’s Top Ten Goals for the year, and track your local Chapter’s efforts to highlight local veteran’s support programs and initiatives.
 
B.  Get involved.  
(1)  Communicate directly with your political representatives.  Communicate directly to your elected officials and be heard.  It’s easy.  Go to www.moaa.organd use their simple tools.
 
(2)  Get involved in supporting local veterans support initiatives.  There is no more rewarding opportunity than to volunteer your time to support our veteran community.  We are going to help you find an opportunity to help by highlighting local programs and initiatives to help our veterans and their families.
 
(3)  Become a MOAA Member and speak with one voice.  Your membership entitles you to access to, and use of valuable planning tools, and continuous lobbying efforts to preserve your earned military benefits.  Join now by visiting www.elpasomoaa.org.
 

  “Professional Leaders belong to Professional Organizations.”  Become part of the solution.  Join MOAA
 

“Never Stop Serving"
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Forrest Smith
Colonel, United States Army, Retired
President - 2018


2016 Communications Award