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Presidents Message    

Presidents Update, 30 April 2022

I know that it has been quite a while since my last President’s Update, so let’s dive right in.

First I want to mention our upcoming Annual Dinner. As I write this, it’s hard to believe that it’s less than two weeks away. We will gather on 10 May at 17:30 hours for an evening of great food, camaraderie and an excellent program. Our guest speaker is scheduled to be Oklahoma State Representative Trey Caldwell who will give us an update on what’s been happening at the State Capital during the current legislative session. Dinner will feature a hand cut Ribeye Steak with all the trimmings. Invitations hit your email inbox last week; so if you haven’t already RSVP’d, please do so by noon on Friday, 6 May to ensure that there will be a steak with your name on it. Looking forward to seeing you there!

April has been an exciting and busy time for the Southwest Oklahoma Chapter of MOAA. If you have been reading your Military Officer magazine over the past few months, you know that April has been Advocacy in Action (AiA) month for MOAA. During the first week of April, the Oklahoma AiA team, led by Oklahoma MOAA State Council President Ed Petersen, met virtually with all seven of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation or members of their staff. Other team members were Ted Janosko, Dennis Clippinger, Jerry West and David Ellenburg. The purpose of these virtual meetings was to discuss, provide focus and generate support for this year’s topics of interest:

Major Richard Star Act (H.R. 1282, S. 344) would provide concurrent receipt of both retired pay and VA disability pay for combat-injured veterans who were not able to complete 20 years of service due to their injuries.

Stop Copay Overpay Act (H.R. 4824) would support affordable mental health care for TRICARE beneficiaries by reducing copays which were doubled just a few years ago.

Ensure a competitive pay raise for all uniformed services – already slated to be 4.6% as proposed by the president, but it could be more. The pay raise fell below private-sector increases from 2014 through 2016, leaving a combined 2.6% gap that has yet to be restored. Increasing the pay raise to 7.2% would overcome the previous gap and help service members through historical inflation.

I hope that during the month you have also taken the time to participate in this important annual event by detaching the pre-printed letters in your April Military Officer magazine, signing and mailing them; or by clicking on the “Take Action” link on the home page of our Chapter Website, which takes you directly to the MOAA Legislative Action Center on the National Website, and then following the instructions to communicate with our Senators and Representatives. If you haven’t been able to do that yet, it’s never too late to take action to advocate for those issues important to you. April is also the month that Lawton’s three high schools and Cameron University hold their JROTC and ROTC Awards Ceremonies. Each year the SWOK Chapter of MOAA recognizes outstanding cadets who have demonstrated exceptional potential for military leadership. The following cadets were awarded a MOAA ROTC/JROTC Medal and Certificate in April 2022.

- Lawton High School – Cadet Leslie Escoto
- Eisenhower High School – Cadet Captain MaryAnn Livesay
- MacArthur High School – Cadet Damon Israel
- Cameron University – Cadet Nathaniel Amos

In addition, the Southwest Oklahoma Chapter of MOAA Leadership Award for 2022 was presented to Cameron University ROTC Cadet John Young. This award consists of a Certificate and a check for $1000.00 and was sponsored this year by Chapter President Dennis Clippinger.

The Scholarship Application Review Committee also met this month to review and score all applications received from seniors representing High Schools throughout southwest Oklahoma. The SWOK Chapter of MOAA Scholarship Fund Board then met to review the recommendations of the Review Committee and subsequently approved a total of six scholarships; five for graduating High School seniors and
one from Cameron University ROTC according to our established criteria. The following students will be awarded $1000 SWOK Chapter of MOAA Scholarships:

- Fletcher High School – Caleb Campbell
- Cache High School – Camryn Beisch
- MacArthur High School – Isabel Celedon
- Eisenhower High School – Sydney McClelland
- Lawton High School – Julianna Cameron
- Cameron University ROTC – Cadet Johnathan Gonzalez

If you have not made your donation to the Scholarship Fund this year, now is the time to do so. The Chapter goal again this year is to have 20 Chapter Members make a contribution to the 2022 Chapter Century Club ($100 or more).

Finally, the Chapter will once again have the opportunity for Community Service this Memorial Day by volunteering to place and recover flags for veterans at the Fort Sill National Cemetery and at the Fort Sill Post Cemetery. Placement of flags at the National Cemetery will start at 0900 hours on Friday, 27 May and recovery will be at 0900 hours on Tuesday, 31 May. I will provide details for Fort Sill Post Cemetery when I get them.

Again, hope to see you at the Annual Dinner on 10 May!!

Still Serving!

Dennis Clippinger
SWOK MOAA Chapter President

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