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Passing of Former New River Chapter Member

Passing of Former New River Chapter Member
Porter Hicks

Only recently after running into Lois Rhodes in WJ was I made aware that her husband, Porter Hicks, former New River Chapter member, had passed away in 2022.

Lois shared that both she and Porter had a cold earlier in the year, but in his case it continued on to pneumonia, being hospitalized, and after 13 days on a ventilator, he passed away.

Porter was a Chapter member in the early days of our Chapter and served as Legislative representative for a brief period.

Lois also shared that she will be moving to Montana shortly to be with her daughter.

10/07/22 11:26/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

BOTM - Another Successful Membership Outing

BOTM - Another Successful Membership Outing
Park entrance at Mount Jefferson
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Good eats being prepared on the grill

September 15, 2022

Twenty New River Chapter members AND High Country Chapter guests enjoyed another successful Breakfast on the Mountain on Thursday, September 15, 2022 atop Mount Jefferson State Park.

Open the many photographs - courtesy of Membership Chair, Mik Mikulan - that highlight the good food, good fun and camaraderie of our dedicated MOAA Chapter members.

Best news for the outing was it resulted in a new member, Mik Mikulan’s guest Randy Cook...WELCOME!

09/16/22 10:54/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River's Own, Barbara Sears Memorial Day Celebration Speech

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Barbara Sears

May 29, 2022

Barbara Sears, New River Chapter Personal Affairs Chair, was the presenter at the Memorial Day Celebration at Ashelawn Veteran's Cemetery on May 29, 2022.

Read her speech here:

Good afternoon, COL Hollis, Mr. Josh Roten, Sheriff Howell, Cadets from the Ashe County High School JROTC, ladies and gentlemen,

As I was thinking about what I would say today, my earliest memories of patriotism came to mind. When I was a child I lived in Panama City, Panama. My father was a State Department employee; we were American citizens. I chattered away in Spanish with my little friends as we rode bikes and roller skated-doing the things that kids do here in this country. At the time the United States controlled the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone was home to American military families, several military bases, and American schools. I attended school in the Canal Zone. Not only did I attend school in the Canal Zone, but it’s where I took swimming lessons and ballet classes. Those extracurricular activities ended at 4:30 in the afternoon and our mother would let us play on the playground until a bugler sounded “Retreat” at 5:00. We’d hop off the swings as soon as the first notes sounded, stand ramrod straight and put our hands over our hearts. When the bugle was silenced, we’d pile in the car and return to our neighborhood in the city. I played patriotic music on 78 RPM records left over from my father’s WWII days in Special Services at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas. I’d march around the apartment feeling the excitement of the music, feeling proud to be an American, even though I had no memory of ever living in this country. So, I had been a child-patriot for many, many, many years. (I won’t tell you how many, but if you remember 78 RPM records, you and I are probably about the same age!)

When we returned to the United States permanently, we moved to a small town that celebrated the 4th of July with a wonderful parade: high school marching bands, bagpipes, kids riding their bikes decorated in red, white, and blue, the JROTC. Flag waving at its best!

My patriotism got an extra shot of adrenaline when I married Commander Scott Sears. The next 30 years were filled with military ceremonies, military bands, cannon volleys, gun salutes, uniforms, and flags. When he died of a neuromuscular disease in 2011, I unfortunately experienced the ultimate show of patriotism- his burial at Arlington Cemetery complete with a horse-drawn caisson, the Navy band, and a multiple gun salute.

​So, I stand here today full of pride to be an American, to live in Ashe County, and to be sharing these moments with you.

​Memorial Day is not a day of celebration. It is a solemn day- a day to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our right to assemble here, to speak freely, to choose our government officials, to go anywhere we wish, to enjoy all of the rights spelled out for us in the Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights and our Constitution. We are who and where we are because of men and women from all over our country who answered the call to defend our rights. They answered the call during the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Viet Nam, Desert Storm and the Gulf War. We owe them this day of remembrance. ​

There are statistics stating how many died in each of the wars, but they are not just numbers nor names on a black granite wall. They were people like you and I who believed that what they left at home was worth defending, even if it meant losing their lives. So today I remember specific people whom I cannot forget.

I remember Richard Gray whom my brother and I played with when we were growing up. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, he was ready for take-off on a tarmac in Viet Nam when a sniper ended his life.

I remember Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, who rests eternally right here. The 22-year-old soldier died from wounds sustained in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. I am reminded of Dillon’s sacrifice every time I go to Glendale Springs as the bridge once known as Sheets Bridge is now named for him.

I think about COL Notley Maddox, an uncle by marriage, a pilot in the Air Force flying intelligence-gathering missions in Viet Nam when his plane went down. It was his twins’ 8th birthday. It is suspected that he became a POW. He never came home. He left a pair of twins and another son for his wife to raise on her own.

And lest we forget those who fought wars not fresh in our hearts and minds, let me remind you of those soldiers who shivered and starved through the Winter at Valley Forge. Or the battles at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Chancellorsville where brother fought brother on fields where corn once contentedly grew. Or the doughboys crouched in the muddy trenches of France.

Today we honor the fallen, but do we owe them more than a day of remembrance, gun salutes, flags on their graves, and flowers on the water? I believe we do. I quote Richelle Goodrich, an author whose father was a Viet Nam War veteran: “On this day, take time to remember those who have fallen. But on every day after, do more; put the freedoms they died for to greater and nobler uses.” That, I believe, is our duty: to honor their sacrifice by doing what we can “to put the freedoms they died for to greater and nobler uses.” Get involved in local government, fly a flag, take a walk through a national cemetery and if you are so inclined, pray for specific names on tombstones, thank a veteran for his or her service, support the military through local military organizations, re-read the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution.

I’ll share with you one small thing that I do: I carry several U.S. flags in my car and when I see a tattered one on someone’s flag pole, I leave a new one in their mailbox. ​​​

Ceremonies are important and I don’t minimize the outpouring of honor we pay those who made the ultimate sacrifice. But our gratitude has to be more than a once-a-year Memorial Day ceremony. We honor the dead best by treating the living well. Let me repeat that: we honor the dead best by treating the living well.

God bless those who paid the ultimate price.

God bless their grieving families.

God bless you.

And God bless the United States of America.

06/01/22 12:55/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Student

New River Chapter Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Student
CAPT Ehrhardt presents the leadership award to CadetCPT Jezik Martin

May 10, 2022

The New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently provided a leadership award to a deserving Junior ROTC students at Ashe County High School. The MOAA Leadership Award and medal was awarded to Cadet/CPT Jezik Martin.

May 24, 2021/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Award Presentation to WCHS JROTC Student

New River Chapter Award Presentation to WCHS JROTC Student
CAPT Ehrhardt presents the leadership award to Cadet Kenia Hernandez
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May 3, 2022

The New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently provided a leadership award to a deserving Junior ROTC students at Wilkes Central High School. The MOAA Leadership Award and medal was awarded to Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Kenia Hernandez.

May 24, 2021/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

HB 83. NO STATE INCOME TAX FOR MILITARY RETIRED PAY

November 16, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN SZOKA

45TH House District

Phone Number: 919.733.9892 North Carolina House of Representatives

Room 2207, Legislative Building Raleigh, NC 27601

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 16, 2021

HB 83, NO STATE INCOME TAX FOR MILITARY RETIRED PAY

INCLUDED IN STATE BUDGET CONFERENCE REPORT

In North Carolina we’ve called ourselves “the most Military friendly state in the country” for quite some time. While it’s true that we’ve done a lot in the past 10 years to make North Carolina more military friendly, the one policy we didn’t have was to exclude Federal Military Retirement Pay from State Income Tax.

HB83 Eliminate Income Tax for Military Retirees was filed early this year. When filed by Representatives John Szoka, John Bradford, John Bell and Diane Wheatley, HB83 had strong bipartisan support in the House with a total of 59 bill sponsors and co-sponsors. On June 16, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill 100-5, in another major show of bipartisan support. Today, members of the Conference Committee on SB105, the state budget, signed the Conference Report which includes the text of HB83.

The timeliness of this action this close to Veterans Day is appropriate. Remember the words of our Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What has kept these truths alive from the founding of our country until now is the Armed Forces of the United States. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and the Coast Guard who freely volunteered to defend our country and our way of life in both peacetime and wartime. They, their spouses, and family have sacrificed immeasurably over their careers. Including HB83 in the budget is a fitting recognition of those sacrifices and the value that we place in military retirees.

When this budget becomes law, then we can truly say that North Carolina is the most military friendly state in the country.

Contact: John Szoka (john.szoka@ncleg.net)

Representative John Szoka | North Carolina General Assembly 45th House District / Cumberland County

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11/22/21 12:40:00/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

HB 83. NO STATE INCOME TAX FOR MILITARY RETIRED PAY

November 16, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN SZOKA

45TH House District

Phone Number: 919.733.9892 North Carolina House of Representatives

Room 2207, Legislative Building Raleigh, NC 27601

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 16, 2021

HB 83, NO STATE INCOME TAX FOR MILITARY RETIRED PAY

INCLUDED IN STATE BUDGET CONFERENCE REPORT

In North Carolina we’ve called ourselves “the most Military friendly state in the country” for quite some time. While it’s true that we’ve done a lot in the past 10 years to make North Carolina more military friendly, the one policy we didn’t have was to exclude Federal Military Retirement Pay from State Income Tax.

HB83 Eliminate Income Tax for Military Retirees was filed early this year. When filed by Representatives John Szoka, John Bradford, John Bell and Diane Wheatley, HB83 had strong bipartisan support in the House with a total of 59 bill sponsors and co-sponsors. On June 16, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill 100-5, in another major show of bipartisan support. Today, members of the Conference Committee on SB105, the state budget, signed the Conference Report which includes the text of HB83.

The timeliness of this action this close to Veterans Day is appropriate. Remember the words of our Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What has kept these truths alive from the founding of our country until now is the Armed Forces of the United States. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and the Coast Guard who freely volunteered to defend our country and our way of life in both peacetime and wartime. They, their spouses, and family have sacrificed immeasurably over their careers. Including HB83 in the budget is a fitting recognition of those sacrifices and the value that we place in military retirees.

When this budget becomes law, then we can truly say that North Carolina is the most military friendly state in the country.

Contact: John Szoka (john.szoka@ncleg.net)

Representative John Szoka | North Carolina General Assembly 45th House District / Cumberland County

11/22/21 12:44:27/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Supports the New River Marathon

New River Chapter Supports the New River Marathon
The New River alongside Panorama Dr on Railroad Grade Rd
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October 2, 2021

* Members of our New River Chapter supported keeping marathoners, 1/2 marathoners and 5K runners hydrated at todays annual New River Marathon.

* Shown here are two photos of why runners LOVE coming to beautiful Ashe County to run along the New River and enjoy a picture perfect fall Saturday.

Thanks to Bob and Bobbi Worley, Mik Mikulan, Jim Cain, Steve Tucker and Doug Ehrhardt for their “superior” water distribution expertise and Sharon Need and Cathy Ehrhardt for directing the marathoners and 1/2 marathoners in the right direction coming from Castleford Rd. and going to the east on Railroad Grade Rd.

10/02/21 16:31/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Regular Meeting

New River Chapter Regular Meeting
The pit is lit so lets party!
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A view from above

June 19, 2021

* The members of the New River Chapter gathered for an especially memorable evening at the home of Chapter At-Large Member, Charles Knapp.

* In his COVID-19 spare time, Charles constructed a beautiful, new outdoor patio (seen here) at his home at 500 Rooster Ridge Road in Lansing, NC.

* Charles and his wife Mary invited all our New River Members AND guests to his home on June 19th to enjoy seating around the outdoor fire pit. There were picnic tables and chairs set up in the patio area and everyone brought desserts, finger foods and the like to share with fellow revelers.

* The activity got underway @ 1700 and everyone stayed to enjoy their fill of scrumptious goodies and even hung around until just before darkness!!

* The Chapter was also treated to a medley of tunes from honorary Chapter member Earl Inge and Mary Knapp. Open here to view one of Earl and Mary's songs on our Facebook page.

* See the accompanying photos of the 25+ members enjoying having to no longer socially distance while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow New River Chapterites (sp?).

05/03/21 21:07/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter’s Officers and BOD

New River Chapter’s Officers and BOD
Standing tall in leading MOAAs New River Chapter

June 19, 2021

* On June 29th, the eight officers and Board of Directors attended the regular Chapter social gathering at the home of Charles and Mary Knapp.

* The members took a few minutes after dinner was served to assemble on the stairs to Charles’ new patio to post this photograph of our Chapter leadership.

* Shown (right top) are Bob Worley, Doug Ehrhardt and Charles Knapp; (middle row) Don Goodhart and Barbara Sears; and (lower row) Steve Tucker, Jim Cain and Mik Mikulan.

Kudos for all their hard work!

06/20/21 21:36/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Regular Meeting

New River Chapter Regular Meeting
Frances Goodhart and Cathy Ehrhardt start the celebrations

May 20, 2021

* The New River Chapter's Board of Directors has prepared a calendar of events for our membership in 2021 that began with a Thursday evening "Meet and Greet" held at the exciting new location for The Tavern (formerly the Sears store) in West Jefferson, NC @ 1730. This first gathering of our membership was an opportunity for members to renew acquaintances and maybe even meet new people.

* In lieu of a regular gathering with a more traditional dining experience, the Chapter reserved the use of the small dining room at the Tavern where attendees ordered their own drinks from the bar - beer, wine or cocktails - and numerous delicious hors-d'oeuvres were available on tables in the meeting space.

* The May 20th regular meeting was a wonderful opportunity for a return to "normal" activities with the New River Chapter after a L-O-N-G absence that was necessitated by COVID-19. See the photographs that are a part of this post for pictures of chapter members enjoying the time to get reacquainted and celebrate POST COVID-19!

* We look forward to having many members come out for all of our "GREAT" 2021 New River Chapter events. Remember to bring a friend or acquaintance especially if he/she is in our eligible field of participants (any veteran who is or was in one of the seven commissioned branches of the military). Open/print the attached, downloadable file that has a calendar and a description of each of the events in 2021. Pin it to your refrigerator or make notes in your own calendar and plan to attend at least one meeting this year!

05/03/21 20:16/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Leadership Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Student

New River Chapter Leadership Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Student
LTC Hollis presents the Leadership Award Certificate to Cadet

May 19, 2021

The New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently provided a MOAA Leadership award to a deserving JROTC student in the junior year at Ashe County High School. A certificate was awarded to CDT/CPT Chloe Miller. Due to limitations with COVID-19, the Chapter was unable to make an in-person award presentation to the student, and instead the award was presented by LTC David Hollis, JROTC senior instructor via a Zoom teleconference. The accompanying photograph was provided for posting on the New River Chapter website and for publishing in a future e-newsletter

May 27, 20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Student

New River Chapter Award Presentation to ACHS JROTC Student
LTC David Hollis presents the Award Certificate to Cadet Coldiron
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May 19, 2021

The New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently provided a scholarship award to a deserving ROTC student at Ashe County High School. A certificate and a $1000 Rear Admiral Scott L. Sears, USN scholarship was awarded to Cadet Battalion Executive Officer Maura Coldiron. Due to limitations with COVID-19, the Chapter was unable to make an in-person award presentation to the student, instead the award was presented by LTC David Hollis, JROTC senior instructor via a Zoom teleconference. The accompanying photograph was provided for posting on the New River Chapter website and for publishing in a future e-newsletter

May 27, 20/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/

New River Chapter Award Presentation to WCHS JROTC Student

New River Chapter Award Presentation to WCHS JROTC Student
Lt Col Sapp presents the leadership award to Cadet Dishman

May 5, 2021

The New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recently provided a leadership award to a deserving Junior ROTC students at Wilkes Central High School. The MOAA Leadership Award and medal was awarded to Cadet 1st Lieutenant Nathanial Dishman. Due to limitations for in-person meeting with COVID-19, the Chapter made the award presentation to the student via a Zoom teleconference. The accompanying photograph was provided by Lt. Col. Sapp for posting on the New River Chapter website and published in our e-newsletter.

May 24, 2021/ Douglas Ehrhardt/ General News/