Surviving Spouse Corner - January/February 2019

About a month ago, I lost my pet that had been with me for fourteen years. He was put to sleep due to kidney stones that damaged his bladder and urinary tract. For those of you who have pets, know the devastating feeling of losing your companions, your friends.

Yes, they become not only your friends, but part of the family. My Charlie, my little dog, had been my husband's buddy.

As I have mentioned before in other articles, my husband had been a three tour Viet Nam Army Aviator who flew helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. It took my Charlie a while to warm up to me after my husband passed away, but finally after many months, he became my buddy as well.

The pure love of a pet is amazingly beautiful. The joy we experience is sometimes indescribable.
Their loyalty is incomparable for they hold no grudges. They are faithful to the end.

I am so grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to have had a little partner who gave me his all. His unconditional love, which memories will stay with me until it is my time to leave this life and see him in Heaven with my husband, his first buddy and friend, is still in my heart.

We all cherish our little or big animals that our Heavenly Father allows us to have in our lives. It has been a blessing that wil not be forgotten as long as I live, for his little urn is on my fire place mantle, there reminding me of the moments we treasured together.


The information was retrieved for the January 2019 Council and Chapter Newsletter
The Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee looks back at its accomplishments from the past year and highlights its goals for 2019. 
For MOAA surviving spouses, 2018 was a banner year. Here are some of the highlights:
Virtual Chapter — In March, MOAA’s board of directors voted to charter the Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter, the association’s second virtual chapter. (The first virtual chapter was chartered two years ago for uniformed services nurses.) The Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter meets quarterly. There are no dues; the only requirement to join is national MOAA membership. We now have about 70 members from 25 states. Our next conference call meeting will be Jan. 29. For more information and to participate, email
Storming the Hill — In April, our committee members participated in Storming the Hill, during which we discussed with our congressional legislators four key issues affecting the military community. We learned that in addition to getting support/sponsorship of a bill, we must get a commitment to fund it. 
Surviving Spouse Award — From a very talented pool of four nominees, we chose Anne Cutter Smith of the Greater Shoals (Ala.) Chapter as the recipient of the 2018 Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award. She was recognized at the annual meeting in Phoenix. ( Read more about Anne and her accomplishments.)
Presentations — We continued to increase our visibility within the MOAA membership with presentations about surviving spouses and relevant issues at four regional leadership meetings in Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, and Arizona.  
MOAA Scholarship — Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee (SSAC) members contributed to a MOAA scholarship in memory of Joyce Harte, who was the first surviving spouse representative on MOAA’s board of directors. She died unexpectedly in spring 2018. Gail Joyce, a member of SSAC since 2013, was elected to replace her on the board of directors. 
Welcomes and goodbyes — We chose three new members for our committee, plus the addition of two virtual members — a new concept for the SSAC. At the annual meeting, we welcomed Kathy Thorp, Nancy Mullens, and Barbara Smith and virtual members Georgie Suitor and Cindy Bondi.

Simultaneously, we said goodbye to two wonderful members of the SSAC: Sharon DeVaney, who was an SSAC member for six years and served on the Health Care Committee, and Patricia Bergquist, who served for seven-plus years on the SSAC and was a member of the Councils and Chapters and the Government Affairs committees.
Goals for 2019 — We will continue to face new challenges and opportunities this year. Our goals include to:
·      grow our virtual chapter to 150 members representing 75 percent of our states;
·      recruit 20 new surviving spouse members for MOAA;
·      increase the number of state council liaisons from 50 percent to 75 percent;
·      continue to educate, encourage, and engage MOAA membership about spouse and surviving spouse issues;
·      conduct a survey to determine the needs and interests of surviving spouses;
·      continue to work for passage of a bill to eliminate the widows’ tax; and
·      develop and conduct at least one training session for spouses and surviving spouses at a national meeting to provide information about planning ahead.
By Gail Joyce, Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee

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