by Rich Underwood
I will begin with the good news. We earned another MOAA 5-Star Levels of Excellence Award for 2021. With the number of vacant chapter leadership positions this achievement is even more remarkable. Congratulations to all who have gone above and beyond in making this distinction possible.
We held our annual ROTC Scholarships Awards Luncheon on 6 May 2022. Cadet Marquise Woodson from UNC-Pembroke won the Meinhardt Scholarship valued at $3,500.00. Cadet Jasmine L. Thompson-Yates from FSU won the Dr. Charles Pimble Scholarship valued at $3,000.00. Cadet Andrea W. Fennimore from Campbell University and Cadet David B. Hudson from Methodist University were awarded $3,000.00 CFC scholarships each. A total of $12,500.00 in scholarships were awarded to four ROTC standouts. Since the inception of the ROTC Scholarship Program in 1998, the Chapter has awarded $181,500.00 in scholarships to deserving young men and women in their quest to earn an officer’s commission in one of our nation’s military services.
The Chapter distributed MOAA Leadership Medals and certificates to 25 JROTC Units for presentation. These presentations were made at end-of-school year awards ceremonies. Moreover, the Chapter awarded $400.00 support grants to ten JROTC Units in May 2022. The grants support JROTC leadership training and special projects during the summer.
In addition to the MOAA leadership medals and support grants, the Chapter presented Chapter memento packets to five Air Force ROTC cadets and twenty-eight Army ROTC cadets on the eve of their commissioning ceremonies. Twelve NC National Guard OCS Candidates earning their gold bars were likewise recognized. Packets consist of a pocket-sized copy of the US Constitution and a unique set of dog tags with the MOAA Motto, and the commissioning oath embedded on the tag. Also included in the packet is an application for a free one-year basic membership in MOAA.
The Chapter presented a $1,200.00 donation to the National Sojourners to fund the attendance of two worthy JROTC cadets at the Spirit of America Leadership Conference, Youth Leadership Program, Freedom Foundation, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in July 2022.
The Chapter continues to support the American Red Cross, the USO, the Fisher House, and the Armed Services YMCA Food Pantry at Fort Bragg with annual monetary donations. These entities provide safety-net services to our active military and their families at Fort Bragg and Pope Field.
Our Chapter along with other military fraternal organizations participated in the Fayetteville Memorial Day Ceremonies at Freedom Memorial Park. The Chapter President assisted by another chapter member laid a wreath at the Global War on Terror Memorial to honor our military men and women who laid down their lives for their country since 9-11. The Cape Fear Chapter funded the construction of this monument in 2018 as a community support project.
Lastly, the Chapter donated a beautiful wooden American flag décor to the Iron Mike Conference Center, Fort Bragg to be displayed in the Sink Room were the Chapter meets for its monthly Board of Directors meetings. The gift was presented as a token of appreciation for allowing the Chapter to use the room for the past 60+ years.
The not too good news! By now you have received a letter from me announcing that we canceled the golf tournament because of staffing issues we could not resolve. All the good things I mentioned above are solely dependent on our fund-raising efforts. The annual golf tournament has always been our main source of revenue to fund our scholarship program, as well as our philanthropic outreach initiatives in support of our active-duty military and their families here at Fort Bragg and Pope Field, and veterans in our surrounding community. The absence of a golf tournament this year will present us with some financial challenges in 2023.
To enable the Chapter to fund our scholarship program in 2023 and to support programs that are providing key services to our community, I am appealing to all members to consider making an outright donation to our scholarship/outreach fund this year. As a guide, I suggest a donation of $150.00 which is the cost of sponsoring a golf hole if the tournament was held. However, a donation in any amount will be helpful and greatly appreciated. All donors will be recognized for their contributions.
In the meantime, we will continue our search for someone to run the golf tournament next year and beyond. God willing, someone will step up. If you or anyone you know would like to take this on, please contact me.
The loss of a Golf Tournament Director just adds to our staffing woes. The 2nd Vice President and Secretary positions have been vacant for the past two years. Also vacant for the past two years are the Surviving Spouse Liaison, Personal Affairs Officer, Transition Liaison Officer, and Newsletter Editor positions. The Webmaster and eNewsletter Editor positions have been filled by Juan for the past 10 years and he is not getting any younger.
In closing, I just want to remind everyone that this is an election year for our chapter. The elective positions are President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, 3rd Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. All the other special staff positions are volunteer-appointive positions.
Folks! We need new and younger blood to lead this chapter forward. We ARE an organization of proven leaders we cannot allow this chapter to fold for lack of same! I will soon be appointing the Nominating Committee to seek out a slate of candidates for office for the 2-year term starting January 2023. Be ready to answer the call!
I thank you in advance for your consideration, your generosity, and your sense of responsibility.