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  New River MOAA : News and Events: What's happening in MOAA's New River Chapter


General News Top ▲

New River Chapter Gathers for a September Breakfast Social

New River Chapter Gathers for a September Breakfast Social
New River Chapter, MOAA Logo
Secondary Image
Hole Lotta Donuts, West Jefferson, NC

September 22, 2020

Over 20 New River Chapter members and guests gathered for an 11:00 AM breakfast social atop Mount Jefferson State Park...the gathering included a generous donation of donuts and fritters from Hole Lotta Donuts in West Jefferson, NC.

Open the downloaded file, the Certificate of Appreciation awarded to Butch Phillips, Hole Lotta Donuts.

Open the photo gallery file with BOTM pictures!
09/22/20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter's Support to Fisher Houses in NC

New River Chapter's Support to Fisher Houses in NC
Michael Pringle, Ft. Bragg Fisher House
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Camp LeJeune Fisher House

September 2020

The New River Chapter was awarded $5,000 from the MOAA's COVID-19 Emergency Relief grant to which an additional $1,200 was added from our Chapter Treasury and member donations...a total $3,100 was sent to each of the North Carolina Fisher Houses following the cancellation of our 2020 Marathon Jam but after our Chapter BOD made the decision to continue to support the Fisher House organization.

* Top photo, Ft. Bragg Operations Assistant, Michael Pringle demonstrating some of the cleaning supplies, sanitizers and PPE they are purchasing with donations such as ours. It’s all about keeping service members and their families safe at the Fisher House.

* Bottom photo, Camp LeJeune Fisher House member displaying a room that has been cleaned and prepared for a client using the COVID-19 funds that were part of the Marathon Jam program from our Chapter.

09/20/20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

2nd Quarter, 2020 "New River Current" Newsletter will be a Final Farewell!

The Newsletter to be replaced by regularly posted "e-Newsletters"

* Due to the operation and maintenance, as well as time needed for the creation of the New River Current newsletter, the Board of Directors regrettably accepted a request to lessen some of the burden of the editor (also the website manager) in keeping everyone connected to our Chapter.

* This is one we can't blame on COVID-19!

* Be on the lookout in the future wherein you will be receiving e-mails marked as "important news" and which will contain many stories and posts of exciting and timely New River Chapter events.

* We promise not to "clog your email inbox" but will strive to ensure that you are staying abreast with the activities of our Chapter, as well as news coming down from National MOAA.

* Thanks for your interest and continuing support of our New River Chapter!

07/10/20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Award Presentation to WCHS JROTC Students

New River Chapter Award Presentation to WCHS JROTC Students
Cadet Nolan Simmons
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Cadet Ivette Ibarra

May 15, 2020

The New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently provided awards to two deserving Junior ROTC students at Wilkes Central High School. A certificate and a $1000 Rear Admiral Scott L. Sears, USN scholarship was awarded to Cadet Logistics Officer Nolan Simmons. The MOAA Leadership Award with medal was awarded to Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Ivette Ibarra. Due to the unforeseen complications with the COVID-19 crisis, the Chapter was unable to make the award presentations to the students at the normally hosted ceremonies at the high school. The accompanying photographs were provided by Lt. Col. Sapp for posting on the New River Chapter website and to be published in our "New River Current" quarterly newsletter.

May 27, 20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Students

New River Chapter Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Students
LTC Hollis presents Cadet Barr her award.
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LTC Hollis presents Cadet Ashley her award

May 15, 2020

The New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently provided awards to two deserving Junior ROTC students at Ashe County High School. A certificate and a $1000 Rear Admiral Scott L. Sears, USN scholarship was awarded to Cadet Battalion S1 Bethany Bare. The MOAA Leadership Award with medal was awarded to Caded 2LT Jernee Ashley. Due to the unforeseen complications with the COVID-19 crisis, the Chapter was unable to make the award presentations to the students at the normally hosted ceremonies at the high school. The accompanying photographs were provided for posting on the New River Chapter website and published in our "New River Current" quarterly newsletter and show ACHS JROTC Senior Instructor LTC(R) David Hollis sharing the awards with Cadets Bare and Ashley.

May 27, 20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Hosts MOAA's COL Terri Coles, USA (Ret.)

October 15, 2019

The New River Chapter held a regular membership meeting on October 15th at the new Ashe County Chamber of Commerce meeting site in West Jefferson, The Venue. The Chapter also welcomed MOAA's Senior Director, Council and Chapters, COL Terri Coles as guest speaker. Shown in the photograph is Chapter Chair for Personal Affairs and Surviving Spouse Liaison, Barbara Sears (left) and Chapter President, LCDR Steve Tucker, USN (Ret.) (right) enjoying some warmth with COL Coles near a fire pit on the patio area at the Hotel Tavern where the Chapter went after the meeting for dinner and drinks.

Picture courtesy of Chapter Membership Chair, CDR Mik Mikulan, USPHS (Ret.)

Oct 16, 19/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

2019 Marathon Jam - "We Miss our 2020 Jam!

May 18, 2019

* The New River Chapter hosted the 2019 Marathon Jam at the Ashe Arts Council Building in West Jefferson, NC on May 18, 2019.

* This years Jam, which raises money to support the Fisher Houses at Fort Bragg, NC and Camp LeJeune, NC, was a great success with several of the musicians earning the coveted title of "Iron Picker" having played for the duration of the event.

* MOAA and the Piecemakers Quilt Guild honored 11 vets representing WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the conflicts of the Middle East and the cold war. One brave enlisted Gunnery Sergeant in the USMC did 4 tours in Vietnam as a K-9 Point man on patrols into the jungles. He is highly decorated and has FOUR Purple Hearts. Two WWII vets were honored one of whom was on Iwo Jima. One Army retired Master Sergeant lady was with NORAD and played a very important role in America’s defense. Another honoree was a retired Lt. Colonel from Army and National Guard who led his local unit to national recognition as one of the most squared away National Guard units in the USA. Others honored were from the Navy and Air Force. Two other very dedicated ladies who were honored run local and national programs to help those veterans with chronic PTSD.

* Pictured (added images) are photographs taken during the day of musicians and audience attendees. Be sure and scroll over the thumbnail photographs to the right to see more pictures from the day-long event.

* The downloadable file is the article published in the May 29, 2019 Ashe Post & Times on the event.

* Thanks to all who participated, and donated, to our Chapter's Jam to support the Fisher Houses.

May 29, 19/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

William "Lee" Eller

Another Veteran Quilt Recognition

Mr. William Lee Eller, “Lee”, served in the U. S. Army from 1944-1946 in the Infantry as a Rifleman. He had wanted to join the Navy, but was drafted into the Army. Enroute to Belgium on a troop ship he decided that he was certainly glad that he hadn’t joined the Navy! His company was 100 miles from Berlin when it was ordered to Czechoslovakia. The troops were not prepared for the weather they faced in Czechoslovakia- zero degree temperatures, snow and icy ground. They had no boots nor cold weather gear until General Patton ordered it for them. I asked him if there was a big celebration when he returned to the U. S. and he recalled that upon returning to Ft. Bragg in 1946 the local Coca-Cola bottling company gave each soldier a bottle of cold Coca-Cola to take on the train as they traveled home!

Thanks, Lee!

Oct 7, 19/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

Marathon Jam 2018

May 19, 2018

* The third annual Marathon Jam was held on May 19, noon to midnight in the Ashe County Arts Council building.

* While pickin’ and grinnin,’ both awareness and funds were raised for military families by supporting the Fisher Houses at Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg.

* Each of the musicians who participated for all 12 hours of the jam - noon to midnight - were rewarded with the designation "Iron Picker." They include (pictured L to R, below right) Jonathan Phipps, Henry Doss, Catalina Burns, Henry Burns, Vance Archer, Chris Binkowski and Earl Inge.

* Several times during the day-long event, time was taken to honor the service of veterans and present them with a quilt made by the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild. Look at the thumbnails to the right to see many of the beautiful quilts that were used to wrap the veterans in it's warming support for their service and sacrifice.

Click here to view pictures of the many veterans honored at the event:
may 25, 18/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

Marathon Jam 2018 Veterans

May 19, 2018

* Shown in the photograph (right) as well as the thumbnails are several of the many veterans that were recognized on May 19th at the Marathon Jam and wrapped in the healing warmth of a quilt made by the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild.

* The New River Chapter and the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild were especially honored to make a presentation of one of the quilts to Tina Palmer (shown below right), mother of Ashe County veteran Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, who was killed in Afghanistan and whose memorial service was attended by hundreds of Ashe Countians when held in 2017.

May 25, 18/ Anonymous/ General News/

"Thanking Vets" in Ashe County

May 31, 2016

* Ashe County "Thank a Vet" program goes live.

* A new program honoring vets began on May 31st...go by the Ashe County Courthouse with your DD214 to enroll and get your discount card. If you have already registered your DD214 with the Register of Deeds then you won't need to bring a copy. Just have a photo taken, get your new card and start saving!

* Click here for a list of participating businesses and check back often as new ones are being added on a regular basis.

Jun 3, 16/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

The Conscientious Objector (Award Winning Theatrical Documentary)

May 21, 2013 - 6:00 - 8:00 PM @ Ashe County Arts Council

* Sponsored by the New River Chapter, MOAA, the compelling and inspirational true story of the heroic actions of Private First Class Desmond Doss, an Army Infantry Company Medical Aidman who was honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman for saving the lives of at least 75 wounded men on one day during the WWII battle for the Maeda Escarpment (Hacksaw Ridge) in Okinawa. The story is told by men whose lives Doss saved on that day. It is a dramatic story of courage, honor, personal conviction, faith, fierce patriotism and heroism during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII where expected survival was only 1 chance in 10.

* Colonel Charles Knapp, US Army, Retired and Ashe resident, a Consulting Producer during the making of the documentary and Consulting Producer of Hacksaw Ridge, a theatrical movie now in preproduction by Walden Media will offer an introduction and comments.

* This is special program being offered as a belated community recognition and celebration of Armed Forces Day, which occurs on Saturday, May 18, 2013.

* Eighteen youth cast members, in full period patriotic costume, of Ashe Counties Generation eXcellence will open the program with a musical tribute to America’s flag, the National Anthem and then pay honor to America’s Armed Forces with a dramatized medley of the service hymns of each branch of the uniformed services. Veterans in the audience will be paid special recognition.

(Pictures used with permission of desmonddoss.com)

Upper right: Corporal Desmond Doss, USA

Lower right: President Harry S. Truman presenting Corporal Desmond T. Doss with the Congressional Medal of Honor

The members of the New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America are pleased to host the showing of this documentary, produced and directed by Terry Benedict. The theatrical length documentary has earned 23 film festival awards and been shown on national television 12 times including the world-wide Armed Forces Network. It has been subtitled in four languages besides English and distributed widely in Asia and Europe. It is available at most video outlets, from desmonddoss.com and can be leased from NetFlix. The film is in demand by youth groups, Boy/Girl Scouts and school curricula on personal conscience, courage, leadership, patriotism and leadership. According to Col. Charles Knapp, U.S. Army Retired, local Ashe resident and sponsor of the film, “This film is a quintessential story of Duty, Honor, Country. It is the dramatic real life portrayal of what can happen to an ordinary life at the intersection of Personal Faith and Committed Patriotism.”

President Truman was heard to remark when pinning the Medal of Honor on Corporal Doss’ uniform, “. . . because of what you have done for your comrades and the country, this act gives me more pleasure than being elected President of our country . . .”

Not all heros carry a weapon. Doss didn’t. Some carry faith. Doss did.

Knapp is Chairperson of the Desmond Doss Council of the Georgia Cumberland Association in Calhoun, GA which is responsible for protecting the integrity of the Doss life story, film and book copyrights, and the extensive Doss collection of memorabilia on loan and in several university archives.

“Doss was a sought after speaker to youth groups and traveled the world. He would hold an audience of middle schoolers spell bound on normally dry topics of character development, personal faith and ethics and get a standing ovation at the end,” says Knapp who had known Doss for many years. “Roads, bridges, VFW halls and American Legion posts carry his name. His likeness in bronze can be found in veteran’s parks. The most notable is his full size bronze figure in the Georgia Hall of Patriotism in Centennial Square in Atlanta, GA."

Click download link to read Doss' entire Medal of Honor Citation
May 9, 13/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

Upcoming Events Top ▲

New River Chapter Holiday Social

New River Chapter Holiday Social
New River Chapter, MOAA Logo

December 13, 2020 - CANCELLED!

* The New River Chapter's Board of Directors held a Zoom meeting to evaluate our plans for hosting a holiday party. Due to an abundance of caution and owing to the continued Phase 3 limitations on public gatherings in NC, it was decided that we will NOT hold an in person celebration on Sunday, December 13, 2020 which was to have taken place at the Ashe Arts Council building in West Jefferson, NC.

* Given that our last gathering was the BOTM - which was a successful time with many of the Chapter members present - and the fact that we go into a form of hibernation until sometime in April, 2021, the Chapter leaders also decided that we should have some type of "face to face" opportunity to celebrate the season. We will be holding a ZOOM gathering at 2:00 PM on Sunday, December 13, 2020 for as long as people want to stay connected when we can lift a glass and share in whatever holiday treat that each of us want to have.

* An e-mail message will be forthcoming sometime after Thanksgiving that will have the link that Chapter members can use to connect with everyone. Just for fun, everyone is invited to dress in their most festive holiday garb for their on-screen presence.

* We look forward to having this last time for meeting in 2020 and hope that 2021 will bring a whole new perspective on life "POST COVID-19" at which time we can continue to share in camaraderie with other like-minded retirees and once again work to "Never Stop Serving."


10/30/20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ Upcoming Events/

New River Chapter Social - CANCELLED!

July 14, 2020

Open the calendar and read the post concerning our cancellation of plans to host a social dining out for members at the Winner's Circle restaurant in Jefferson, NC.

7/10/20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ Upcoming Events/

2020 New River Chapter Activities

Events being planned in a post-COVID-19 world for our chapter members & guests

* As we begin to stretch our legs and reacquaint ourselves with fellow New River Chapter members following the long, long months of social distancing, the Board of Directors have proposed many activities for us to again enjoy the camaraderie of like minded MOAA members.

* These include:

- A July evening for dining out with our spouses has been cancelled by COVID-19, so our planned return at the Winner's Circle in Jefferson, NC on July 14 is no longer possible!!

- The Annual Chapter picnic will be held on August 15, 2020 at the upper pavilion picnic area, Ashe County Park from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Always a wonderful time for members to join in an afternoon of fellowship and sharing of picnic fare...the Chapter supplies the burgers, dogs, buns and drinks. Members are asked to bring a side dish or dessert of their choosing, but more importantly, BRING A FRIEND OR GUEST, especially if they are in the field of MOAA eligible participants and wish to learn more about our chapter! It's always a good time and we are NEVER lacking in an abundance of goodies to enjoy!

- In September, we're trying something new in the way of a gathering to dine together - breakfast, not dinner! Plans are to enjoy "Breakfast on the Mountain" at the picnic pavilion atop the New River State Park beginning at 11:00 AM. There really is nothing better than enjoying fried or scrambled eggs, potato pancakes, regular and blueberry pancakes and all the trimmings cooked on an open grill, plus fresh fruits!! Don't even think to miss this opportunity! We look forward to having as many adventurous New River Chapter members as possible to be with us on our regular 3rd Tuesday of the month meeting date, or September 22nd. This is another great opportunity to BRING A GUEST OR FRIEND WHO ARE MOAA ELIGIBLE AND WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEW RIVER CHAPTER. Hope to see you there!

- On October 3, 2020, the New River Chapter will once again provide support to the New River Marathon as they hold their 26.2 mile marathon, 13.1 mile half-marathon and 4 mile run that had to be postponed from the originally scheduled June time frame due to the effects of the coronavirus. New River Chapter members are invited to join in on the fun of working the two watering stations on the course where we provide water, GatorAde and snacks to runners. It all starts around 0730 and is usually over by 1230 on the first Saturday in October. Stay tuned for calls from our BOD looking to have volunteers join with us...following the end of the race, we may plan to head somewhere and enjoy a late day lunch! Also, please pray for NO RAIN this year!

- Finally, our annual Holiday Gathering will be held from 2:00 - 5:00 PM on December 13, 2020 at the Arts County Arts Council Building in West Jefferson. There are a few new items for consideration with this year's event, e.g., we are holding our gathering on Sunday, vs. Saturday as there is already another holiday activity - the Festival of Trees - in the building on our regularly planned date, but that means that the site will already by decorated for us to enjoy!! Everyone is invited and please plan to bring a guest! Also, plan on bringing a dish of your own choosing - side dish or dessert. AND WHY NOT BRING A FRIEND OR GUEST? The Chapter will provide non-alcoholic fare, but attendees are welcome to bring their own wine or other spirits as they may choose. Finally, Barbara Sears has party game ideas for the event, so bring plenty of Christmas spirit!

All this information is provided as we move forward with planning for the remainder of 2020, but you should also plan on looking on the Calendar subcategory as we rapidly move ahead through the rest of the year.

Link to the Calendar here:
06/05/20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ Upcoming Events/

New River Marathon

October 3, 2020

* The New River Chapter will once again support the New River Marathon in 2020. Originally planned for June, the Marathon had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but as the need for social distancing is being slowly eliminated, the organizers of the marathon are looking ahead to the first Saturday in October.

* New River Chapter members are invited and encouraged to plan on being part of this worthwhile activity...the event sponsors always help us out with a generous donation to our Sears Scholarship program.

* We will man two watering stations along the 26.2 mile route on Railroad Grade Road and serve up water, GatorAde and hammer gel to keep the runners on pace. This is always a fun time for our members as we gather in support of the New River Marathon.

* Join us in October!

06/06/20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ Upcoming Events/

Fund Raising Top ▲

Veterans Affairs Top ▲

VA Welcome Kit

* One complaint that Veterans have voiced about the VA is their uncertainty as to where to begin in order to receive services and supports.

* VA’s myriad of services, resources, and materials can be daunting. Therefore, the VA listened and released a Welcome Kit to guide Veterans to the benefits and services that they have earned.

* The VA Welcome Kit is user-friendly and addresses eligibility and benefits in six areas:

- Health Care,

- Finances,

- Housing,

- Employment,

- Education,

- Memorialization.

* Based on Veteran’s stage of life, Veterans can figure out how the VA can help in the present and future.

* Veterans can download a copy of the Welcome Kit for their convenience by clicking here.

Feb 14, 18/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ Veterans Affairs/