* The New River Chapter's Marathon Jam normally scheduled for Armed Forces Day at the Ashe County Arts Council building in West Jefferson has been cancelled for 2020 and postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on social distancing worldwide!
* The Jam provides a venue for musicians - all levels of experience and selection of instruments - but in spite of the opportunity to enjoy "pickin' and grinnin' " with others, the decision to cancel the 2020 event was the right thing to do.
* Music lovers in Ashe County, North Carolina and throughout the United States are encouraged to shelter in place, stay safe and protect your loved ones and neighbors...
* Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone, everywhere!
* In 2017, the New River Chapter, MOAA started holding meetings on the third Tuesday of the month at the Hotel Tavern in West Jefferson, NC except for months during which special events were planned, as noted below.
* Regular meetings are held from May through November, unless otherwise decided by the Board of Directors. A meeting notice will be electronically mailed to members at least 15 days in advance.
* The August meeting will be our annual summer picnic; the October meeting will be the annual membership meeting to announce officers and review the Chapter's by-laws; and a November meeting is our holiday social.
To see information regarding a specific month, click on the month in the index above, or enter a topic or month in the "Search here" box, to the right of the month tabs.
The New River Chapter of the Military Officer Association of America will present a reprise showing of the award winning film, Hacksaw Ridge, at the Parkway Theater in West Jefferson, NC on three nights, beginning with Veterans Day, November 11, and continuing on November 12 and 13. The daily showings will be at 7:00 PM and are free but persons wanting to attend should visit the Ashe Chamber Visitor Center and request ticket(s) for one of the performances to ensure adequate seating.
* A representative of MOAA National, COL Terri Coles, USA (Ret.) will be a guest at the October 15 meeting of the New River Chapter. Board members will meet with COL Coles for a briefing, followed by a general meeting of the Chapter at The Venue, the new community meeting place adjacent to the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce in West Jefferson, NC. Following the one hour meeting to which all members and representatives from the public as well as other veteran organizations in the county are invited, the attendees will retire to the Hotel Tavern at 6:30 PM for drinks - dutch treat - and a dinner to enjoy the camaraderie of like minded veterans!
* Please JOIN US!
The Tuesday, September 17 dinner social at the Hotel Tavern in West Jefferson, NC was well attended and gave our dedicated, and well dressed, members an opportunity to showcase our Chapter polo shirts!
Shown (L to R): LTC Jim Block, USA, CDR Mark Whittle, USN, LCDR Steve Tucker (USN), CDR Mik Milulan, USPHS, CAPT Doug Ehrhardt, USN, LTC Bob Worley, USA and LTC Morris Griffin, USA...all of the above should have (RET) at the end of their rank, name & service!!
* The New River Chapter will host the 2019 Marathon Jam on Saturday, May 18th at the Ashe County Arts Council building in West Jefferson.
* The Jam is held to provide a venue for musicians - all levels of experience and selection of instruments - are welcome to come and enjoy "pickin' and grinnin' " with others from noon to midnight.
* Musicians are encouraged to seek sponsors who would be willing to pledge monies for their time of performing and all proceeds raised will be used to help support the Fisher Houses at Camp LeJeune and Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
* During the course of the day, breaks are held to recognize Ashe County Veterans for their service and presentations are made to them with "healing quilts" which are provided by the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild. Pictured below right, is one of the quilts presented to a Veteran at the 2018 Jam.
* Mark your calendar and plan to spend some, or all, of the day listening to good blue grass, and other types of music in West Jefferson.
Click on the Marathon Jam flyer pictured above right and save to your computer...print out a copy and post in on your refrigerator or with your calendar to remind you to help make the 2019 Marathon Jam our best ever!
At our first regular meeting for 2019, the Ashe County High School JROTC Battalion commander and lead instructor, David Hollis, LTC, USA, Retired and his wife, Melanie, a former Army UH-64 Black- hawk pilot will present our evening program. LTC Hollis and his wife are Appalachian State University graduates and were commissioned out of the universities ROTC program. After retirement, LTC Hollis returned to the Appalachian campus to teach in the Universities ROTC program and two years ago took over the battalion of nearly 100 students at ACHS. Melanie is the coordinator of in-school mentoring for a High Country NFP organization, Western Youth Network, reaching out to insure that young people can thrive regardless of their circumstances.
The regular meeting of the New River Chapter was our holiday party and was held at Barbara Sears' home on November 17th...this was a date decided upon by our BOD to defeat ol' man winter who had brought cold and snow to prior years parties resulting in cancellations. Although icy weather occurred on the two days before, the weather on Saturday was characteristic of what is generally ideal for advertising by a town's Chamber of Commerce...that's probably due to the fact that West Jefferson was holding it's annual Christmas parade!!
* Pictured above right were party goers (top down): Hostess Barbara Sears, John Lorentz, Cathy Ehrhardt, Dillis Lorentz, Gloria Block, Jim Block, Mannon Eldreth, Kathy Griffin, Morris, Griffin, Mik Mikulan, Jim Cain, Robin Mikulan and Doug Ehrhardt.
* Pictured below right has Earl Inge standing where Doug was as they exchanged photographer duties!
* A big Chapter welcome is extended to potential new member, John Lorentz and his wife, Dillis, whose name was forwarded by Jim Gee after a social meeting in WJ.
* Open the thumbnail pictures (right) to see the scrumptuous goodies brought by chapter members so that a "good time was had by all"! Thanks to Mik Mikulan for the photos.
* Be sure to see pictures from our members decorating our PATRIOTIC entry for the Ashe County festival of trees by clicking here.
The North Carolina Council of Chapters statewide convention will be held from September 7 to 10, 2017 at the historic Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, VA...follow this link for information on the all-inclusive four days of activities, cost and how to make a reservation to participate.
* The 2016 Chapter Holiday Party was held at the home of New River's Personal Affairs Chair and Surviving Spouse Representative Barbara Sears.
* Follow this link to see pictures of members who Joined the celebration.
* HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
* As part of a DoD initiative to recognize and thank veterans of the Vietnam War, a 50th Anniversary Vietnam Commemorative Display and Vietnam Veterans Recognition event will be held on September 20, 2016 from 5:00 - 7:30 PM at the Museum of Ashe County History in Jefferson, NC. This event is also sponsored in conjunction with the North Carolina Council of Chapters, a DoD 50th Vietnam War Commemorative Partner.
* All veterans - anyone who served between the years 1955 and 1975 - will be encouraged to sign in and place a pin on a map of Vietnam to designate where they were stationed during the war. A formal recognition ceremony will be held to provide a certificate of appreciation and a lapel pin to each veteran attending the ceremony.
* The annual membership picnic for the New River Chapter was held at the Picnic Pavilion on the New River at Jefferson Landing from 2:00 - 5:00 PM and was a great success!
* Chapter members shared a bounty of brgers, dogs and side dishes and desserts brought by everyone.
* Follow this link to the photo gallery for pictures from the event!
* Be prepared to save a spouse, family member or neighbor...a must course for us older folks! This class will be held at the Ashe Family Clinic, 953 US Hwy 211 Business from 6:00 to 8:30 PM.
* Call Karen Strickland (336-384-4915), certified instructor and course coordinator...reservations to attend are required.
* Class size is limited but additional training classes can be scheduled if interest is high.
* The New River Chapter,'s Holiday Social was held at the Club at Jefferson Landing on December 12, 2015. The revelry began at 4:00 PM and lasted until 7:00 PM.
* Thanks to everyone who turned out for the party, and MERRY CHRISTMAS.
* The annual membership meeting was well attended by both regular members, spouses and honorary members and allowed for meaningful discussion on potential procedural changes, officer nominations and plans for the continued Chapter operations and management in 2016.
* Our guest presenter for the September 2015 regular membership meeting was local physical therapist, Tracy Lynn Schuster.
* Formerly the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Ashe Memorial Hospital in Jefferson, NC, Dr. Schuster of Schuster Physical Therapy presented the topic, Postural Restoration – Getting Rid of Body, Joint and Muscle Stiffness and Pain.
* The New River Chapter annual picnic was held on August 9, 2015 at the home of Chapter 1st Vice President, COL Charles Knapp from 2:00 - 5:30 PM.
* The Sunday gathering attracted 28 members and guests.
* As has been our procedure - and good fortune - members and guests brought their favorite side dish, dessert or other delectable treat to share with fellow New River Chapter folks, and the eatin' was GOOD!
* COL Knapp contributed the beef for burgers from one of the cattle on his property.
* Pictured (above) are (L to R): Mik Mikulan, Robin Mikulan, Bill Horner, Joan Horner, Lee Eldreth, Mannon Eldreth, Ron Wilsbach, Sara Bashon, Paul Bashon, Mary Jacobs, Les Jacobs, Linda Gee, Jim Gee, Linda Marsh, Doug Ehrhardt, Mary Knapp, Horton Hobbs (guest of Linda Marsh), Kathleen Wilsbach, Barbara Sears, Charles Knapp, Lou Burge, Earl Inge (guest of Barbara Sears), Cathy Ehrhardt, Betty Schuette, Don Goodhart, Ron Schette, Ann Burge and Frances Goodhart.
* Pictured (below) is the New River Chapter's own bagpiper, Jim Gee, who entertained with several military selections!
* Pictured in the thumbnail photo to the right is an uninvited guest of the picnic (sorry, I couldn't find one resting on a porch seat cushion!) If you want more details, you need to talk with Mannon Eldreth...
* Mr. Ilario Gregory Pantano, former United States Marine Corps second lieutenant, author, television commentator,and Wilmington, NC Deputy Sheriff is the Director, Division of North Carolina Veterans Affairs. Mr. Pantano was guest speaker at the July 21, 2015 regular meeting of the New River Chapter held at the Ashe County Arts Council building in West Jefferson, NC.
* Prior to the meeting, Mr. Pantano and several members of the Chapter met at the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce for a meeting with local media and are shown at the right (upper photo, L to R): CDR-Ret. Mac Hunt, USN, COL-Ret. Charles Knapp, USA 1st VP of the New River Chapter, Mr. Pantano, Darryl Vaughn, Ashe County VSO, COL-Ret. Jeri Graham, USA President, North Carolina Council of Chapters and CAPT-Ret. Doug Ehrhardt, USN President of the New River Chapter, MOAA.
* Shown in the lower photo are the Ashe County Honor Guard members who presented the colors at the evening event (L to R): Secretary/Treasurer of the Guard, Sandy Adams, James Ellis, Jr. Vice Commander and Everett Adams, Sr. Vice Commander. Special thanks to these members of the Honor Guard for their presentation of the colors at the event.
* Scroll over the thumbnail pictures to the right to see additional photographs from the event that was held at the Ashe County Arts Council in West Jefferson, NC.
* The evening event was attended by more than 60 local residents, chapter members, veterans and representatives from the DAV and MCL.
* During his presentation, Mr. Pantano referred attendees to open/read information that is contained in this newly minted NC4VETS Resource Guide that contains valuable information to assist or support veterans in our county; this electronic version on the North Carolina Council of Chapters website is downloadable and searchable.
* The New River Chapter's newest member, CDR Mik Mikulan, USPHS, Ret., was the featured speaker at our June meeting. Mik helped educate us all on the operation and roles of the U.S. Public Health Service, one of the of the seven commissioned corps in the U.S. government arsenal.
* As part of his talk, Mik displayed the flag of the U.S. Public Health Service and made a formal presentation of the flag to chapter leaders to be made an official part of the New River Chapter's standard of service flags.
* Pictured (upper right) is the New River Chapter 1st VP COL Charles Knapp, USA, Ret. and President CAPT Doug Ehrhardt, USN, Ret. receiving the flag from CDR Michael (Mik) Mikulan, USPHS, Ret.
* Pictured (lower right) are COL Knapp, CAPT Ehrhardt and CDR Mikulan unfurling the USPHS flag for all to see before placing it in the flag stand.
* A former helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army, Mik left after 11 years of flying and used his GI Bill to earn a nursing degree and then transferred his commission to the the U.S. Public Health Service. He worked as a nurse in the Federal Prison System in Springfield, MO.
(NOTE: DATE CHANGE)
Professor Horton Hobbs, PhD, internationally acclaimed cave explorer, biologist and cave adventurer will present, "Exploration into the Unknown: A View of Subterranean Darkness." Dr. Hobbs has made over 3,300 cave trips personally exploring at least 1,500 and surveying over 250. He has identified and published 33 new species of crustaceans and which live in the dark and deep. Our chapter is indebted to Linda Marsh, Scholarship Chair, for recommending Dr. Hobbs.
* DUE TO THE WINNER'S CIRCLE RESTAURANT BEING CLOSED FOR A VACATION WEEK, THE MAY MEETING IS BEING HELD ONE WEEK EARLIER THAN PREVIOUSLY REPORTED!
* John Reeves, a native Ashe Countian and President of the West Jefferson Centennial Celebration committee, will be our speaker and will bring us an update on the information that was shared last June by Phillip McMillan as well as get us caught up on events that are already underway in our 100th year!
* John will also have a video presentation that was prepared by the committee to showcase historical information on West Jefferson and has commentaries by local citizens who have been a part of the first 100 years in our community.
* The presentation will begin at 6:10 PM after attendees have had the opportunity to meet and greet other New River Chapter members as well as place their desired meal order with the Winner's Circle wait staff.
* Following the speaker, the Chapter will hold a regular membership meeting to share information on the status of the chapter and continuing plans for 2015.
- Everyone is encouraged to put April 21st on their calendar, join us for dinner and a period of social camaraderie and BRING A FRIEND!
- The speaker's topic, as well as the video, will surely be of interest to any and all Ashe County residents.
* The first regular meeting of the New River Chapter featured Cathy Barr, Ashe County’s Director of Economic Development, who spoke about why the Work Force of Ashe County is considered one of North Carolina's Best Kept Secrets. It made us proud to hear how our people are leading the way with successful new industries, some of which are national industry leaders.
* This was the first regular meeting to be held at the Winner's Circle Restaurant in Jefferson, NC. The meeting time was also adjusted to 5:30 PM and allowed attendees the opportunity to have dinner from the many offerings on the dinner menu at the restaurant .
* The presentation began at 6:05 PM once everyone was served, and was also followed by a lively question and answer session for Mrs. Barr.
* Following the speaker, a Chapter meeting was held to inform the members in attendance of the business discussed at the Board of Directors meeting.
* The meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM.
* The Holiday Social was held on December 13th, 1 week earlier than our regularly scheduled meeting day in order to get a head start on winter weather.
* A total of 24 members attended and shared their favorite dishes at the party - some entrees as well as desserts. As in prior years, there were an abundance of "amazing potluck" offerings.
Click on the below link to the Photo Gallery to see pictures from the event.
Link: Click here:
* The annual membership meeting was held to discuss procedural changes and consider officer nominations leading into our continued Chapter operations and management in 2015.
* Check back to this link to read about information discussed at this meeting, as well as open/read/print documents that pertain to the on-going business of the New River Chapter.
Rep. Jonathan Jordan and Challenger Ms. Sue Counts
* The New River Chapter revived their highly successful interest in Ashe County politics by holding a Town Hall meeting, akin to the debate we sponsored in 2010.
* Pictured right are New River Chapter 1st VP Charles Knapp, Sue Counts, Moderator Ron Fitzwater and State Representative Jonathan Jordan.
* Link to News and Events to learn more about the highly successful meeting that will help to inform the voters of Ashe County in advance of the forthcoming November election.
* The New River Chapter gathered at the picnic pavilion at the Jefferson Landing Resort on August 9th.
* Everyone - members and guests - brought their favorite side dish, dessert or other delectable treat to share with fellow New River Chapter folks...as always, there was a wonderful mix of delectable choices to complement the burgers, franks, drinks and necessary plates, cups and cutlery that were provided...
As a special guest, Cabot Hamilton, Director of the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce attended presented information regarding potential opportunities for our Chapter to serve as consultants in Ashe County.
* Col-Ret. Mike Hayden, USAF, National MOAA Legislative Liaison, was our guest speaker at the July regular membership meeting.
* Mike is also a regular contributor to MOAA's monthly Military Officer magazine where he keeps MOAA's 390,000 members knowledgeable on insuring that Congress is informed on issues related to pay and benefits.
* Mike shared his expertise for more than 1 1/2 hours at our regular membership meeting, and also provided answers to numerous questions posed by the more than 50 people who attended.
* The meeting was held at the Fellowship Hall of the Mount Jefferson Presbyterian Church due to a conflict with the location of the Ashe Arts Council as a primary voting site.
* Follow the below link to open and view photographs from the meeting.
Link: Click here:
* Mr. Phillip McMillian of the Ashe County Centennial Board was the feature speaker at our June regular meeting. If you didn't know that Ashe County will hold a grand celebration on the occasion of West Jefferson's 100th, then Phillip, along with Chris Barr were on hand to share information on the many, exciting things that are being planned.
* The "Official" WJ Centennial logo (right) has now been revealed and will be made available to vendors for use on the many products that will help our little town welcome it's second century.
* New River's members learned of ways that we can be involved and shared some ideas with the committee about how we can make our presence known here in Ashe County.
* The Board of Directors met at 5:30 PM at the Coffee House on the Backstreet. Open/read the minutes of the BOD and regular meeting posted under Documents.
* As with other regular meetings, food and drink were available for purchase from Coffee House on the Backstreet hostess, Ms. Julie McGunegle.
Building a Network of Support in Ashe County
* The regular meeting of the New River Chapter had SSgt Darryl Vaughn, NCANG Ret., the new Ashe County Veterans Service Officer (VSO) come and present information on veterans issues in the county and ways that our chapter may become more involved in helping to support the VSO and all military personnel in Ashe County.
* COL Knapp, Program Manager for the New River Chapter, welcomed Mr. George Santuci, Executive Director and Ms. Carol Coulter, Director of Operations, National Committee of the New River to our regular meeting to educate our members and guests about the New River...our "namesake.".
* The presentation, intended to help make us better stewards of this Ashe County Treasure, was very educational and enjoyed by all who attended.
* The Board of Directors will meet at 5:30 PM at the Coffee House on the Backstreet. Open/read the BOD and regular meeting minutes under Documents.
* A NOT TO BE MISSED program helped kick-off the New River Chapter regular programming schedule for 2014.
* Mr. Joe Mullis, Old Time Weather Predictor whose heritage as a Native American and of Melungeon ethnicity, as well as growing up deep in the Appalachians and its role in his learning pre-scientific methods of predicting weather was our guest speaker
* Joe helped us understand how to be better protected from changes in our Ashe County and North Carolina weather patterns.
* The Board of Directors met at 5:30 PM at the Coffee House on the Backstreet. Open/read minutes from the BOD and regular meeting under Documents.
* The regular meeting of the New River Chapter was held on September 17, 2013 at the Coffee House on the Backstreet...
* Due to the pace of the year's activities to date, the program was strictly SOCIAL for the many members in the area in September and provided an opportunity to share camaraderie with fellow retired military officers and their spouses.
* A BOD meeting was held before the beginning of the festivities @ 5:30 PM.
* Dinner items were provided, as always, by our Coffee House hostess Julie McGunegle.
* The regular chapter summer membership picnic was preceded by the August 9-10, 2013 meeting at which time the New River Chapter co-hosted the North Carolina Council of Chapters quarterly meeting along with our sister chapter, the High Country Chapter.
* As co-hosts, our combined chapters welcomed the North Carolina Council, as well as Presidents from the other 15 state chapters who attended the meeting.
* The meeting location was the Club at Jefferson Landing...a gala dinner - with more than 100 attendees - took place on Friday, August 9th, and the Council meeting was held on Saturday, August 10th.
* The guest speaker was BGen James Walker, USMC-Ret., Deputy Director for Samaritans Purse International Projects and Executive Director for Operation Heal Our Patriots. General Walker shared his organizations commitment to support wounded servicepersonnel in their post-deployment struggles with marriage and relationships. The presentation was warmly received by all.
* Also, before the dinner was served, a special performance was given by Generation eXcellent, a group of 18 home-schooled children from Ashe County, who shared their special ministry of music with a song about the American flag, followed by the Stars Spangled Banner and a medley of service songs for the five branches of the military.
* There were many other events planned that proved to be highly successful and were enjoyed by all. The spouses, and other interested attendees were treated to a special performance by Libby Cockerham - Dr. Libby - who spoke on a variety of fashion secrets. On the afternoon of August 10th, several attendees took advantage of the opportunity to play the Jefferson Landing's award winning golf course...and ALMOST got in 18 holes before the rain!
* The regular membership meeting was held on July 16th at the Coffee House on the Backstreet.
* The program for the evening included a discussion about the new MOAA National membership program that was rolled out in 2013.
* Also, the Chapter officers and BOD shared information regarding the upcoming August 9, 2013 meeting at which time our chapter will co-host the 3rd Quarterly meeting of the North Carolina Council of Chapters. Everyone was encouraged to volunteer for a variety of activities that will be needed to ensure the meeting is successful.
Link: Click here:
* The regular membership meeting was held on June 18th at the Coffee House on the Backstreet.
* Lyndon Smith - graduate of Yale University, former US Army National Guard officer and the retired President of the Senior Carolina Fire Advisory Company - was the speaker who talked on "The Lighter Side of Senior Fire Safety."
* The retired President of the Senior Carolina Fire Advisory Company, Mr. Smith has over thirty years of experience in residential fire safety.
* The meeting was an informative and entertaining presentation intended to increase awareness of the principles of residential fire safety and implementing those principles within the community, and is in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association standards.
See you in July!
* The regular membership meeting was held on May 21st at the Ashe County Arts Council in West Jefferson, NC.
* New River Chapter 1st Vice President, COL-Ret. Charles Knapp, MC, USA provided an introduction and comments regarding the playing of a documentary film entitled "The Conscientious Objector".
* Charles is a consultant on a forthcoming movie that is in pre-production, "Hacksaw Ridge" which will also recount the true story of bravery and heroism by Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Corporal Desmond T. Doss, USA.
* The evening program was truly inspirational as an audience of almost 100 persons who were in attendance, including Chapter members, sat in silence taking in the description and images of PFC Doss' action on the Maeda Escarpment in Okinawa during the last battle of WWII. Along with footage of Doss himself, the story was told principally by comrades that were saved by Doss who was an Infantry Medic.
* The documentary film followed an rousing rendition of the national anthem by Generation eXcellent, a local singing group under the leadership and direction of Jeff and Pam Miller. The performers were dressed in period costumes from their current show, "I Love this Land." Following the anthem, a medley of service songs - Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines was presented to honor all veterans...attendees with service affiliation were called upon to stand by SGT Michael Allen, NCNG who served as Master at Arms.
* The regular meeting for the New River Chapter included attendance at the Garrison Keillor and his much beloved "Prairie Home Companion" show in Boone, NC on April 16th.
* Chapter members enjoyed a pre-show dinner outing at the Hunan Restaurant in Boone.
* Members attended the dinner and the show, just the dinner, or just the show, but everyone had a great time!
* See you in May.
* The regular meeting schedule for the New River Chapter got underway with a wonderful program presented by Barbara Sears, Personal Affairs Chair.
* Barbara, appropriately clothed in traditional native dress, recounted her travels with the USNA Alumni Association to several locales in South Africa, starting in Capetown and traveling to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, a three day train ride to Victoria Falls and the Chobe Game Preserve before returning to Johannesburg and heading home.
* Along with her fascinating presentation on many of the cultural and post-Apartheid changes in the country, Barbara spoke about the conditions endured by President Nelson Mandela during the many years he spent on Robbin Island, South Africa's equivalent to Alcatraz.
* Her presentation was also accompanied by a beautiful slide presentation that kept everyone's attention for over an hour at our first meeting.
* Regular Membership Meetings will again return to the Coffee House on the Backstreet in May as we will be enjoying a "road trip" in April. Be sure to click on the April calendar link to learn all about it!