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We are a Five-Star Level of Excellence Chapter that sponsors social and informative activities.  Together with our Foundation, the Chapter provides service and support to programs that serve veterans, high school and collegiate military programs independently and in cooperation with community and educational organizations.

We hold dinner meetings with guest speakers or entertainment November thru April (see Calendar and Reservation pages on this site) at the Crown Colony Golf Club, 8851 Crown Colony Blvd., Fort Myers. Please make a reservation to join us, see “first hand” what a welcoming group we are, and learn more about our chapter.

CHAPTER PRESIDENT'S ANNUAL ADDRESS                               11 NOVEMBER, 2018:

Welcome to our 2018-2019 Season.  I have been honored to serve as your president since 2017.  We begin this season highly energized and motivated to continue to support our membership and veterans in our community. 

I have immense respect and admiration for our past presidents as they have set the stage to allow us to truly have an impact on our community.

This past season was indeed a banner year. We have gained six new members for our chapter.  Our officers and Board collaborated to modernize our website and enhance our ability to disseminate information, allowing us to post upcoming menus and make online dinner reservations.  We have instituted the use of credit cards for dinner reservations and for our Golf tournament auction items.

Speaking of our Golf Tournament, between Roger Triftshauser’s herculean “silent auction” efforts, sponsorships and, golfing fees, we collected over $30,000.00 during our 2018 Shell Point Golf Tournament.  Our new Golf Chair, Dr. Maria Colmer, has been instrumental in capitalizing on our talent pool to maximize our efforts!

Thanks to BG John Bathke’s diligent research, we have selected and purchased Liability insurance for our chapter.  In an increasingly litigious society I believe strongly that we need to protect our membership and those who step up to help others.  None of us should fear reprisals for acting in the best interest of the Chapter. That being said, having liability insurance also allows us to apply for MOAA National Grants, something we are actively pursuing.

In June our chapter hosted the annual MOAA state conference.  Those of us who attended can only marvel at Doug Quelch’s hard work! The conference was attended by 218 people.   Our area’s beauty was a showcase for this event. The guest speaker, Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (Ret)- was a great addition to a spectacular event (thanks to Terry who was his Coast Guard Academy classmate).  Doug’s effort resulted in a $5,000.00 donation to our Lee Coast MOAA Chapter.

So you can ask, what are we doing with the Foundation funds we are collecting?  My philosophy is to give a “hand up, not a hand out.”  To that end we have been developing partnerships and supporting existing agencies that truly represent what’s best about our chapter, our county and our country!

We presented Mission United with a $5,000.00 check to support United Way’s efforts with the Mission United program for veterans in Lee County and specifically the 211 call program.

We sponsored the Lee County Schools Raider challenge with a donation of $2,000.00 and provided Lee County Junior ROTC graduating cadets with $5,000.00 in scholarships.

Our chapter purchased 400 MP3 players to provide support to Veterans served by the VA in Lee County.  We continue to support the National MOAA heritage foundation who provide community grants.

We have not forgotten the agencies who provide the “daily support” of less fortunate veterans.  We have, however, put in place a system that requires transparency and accountability.  We must be good stewards of the funds we raise.  We owe this to our membership and to our dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to raise funds.  If you are aware of a worthy cause we should sponsor, please forward an application form. Application forms are available upon request by E-mail to:  LeeCoastMoaa@gmail.com   All applications are reviewed during Foundation Board meetings and voted on, based on need and relevance to veterans’ issues in Lee County.

In order to continue our philanthropic work, we need to network on a larger scale.  This is one of the reasons the Board authorized Terry and Marilyn to attend the National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona in November.  Terry & Marilyn were able to attend the National Award ceremony where our chapter was awarded the 5-star rating!!!

We have created TWO endowed scholarships!!!! One with Florida Southwest University and the other with Florida Gulf Coast University.  These scholarships are in perpetuity: that means Lee Coast MOAA has established a legacy at both FSW and FGCU.  We hope to continue contributions to both of these scholarships, so we can offer deserving veterans opportunities to attend both institutions!

On 6 November the city of Sanibel presented our chapter with a special proclamation in honor of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

I look forward to an amazing 2018-2019 season, highlighted by a line-up of wonderful guest speakers.  Please join me as we continue to strive to do the best for the most deserving!!!

With gratitude, Brigitte Belanger, Maj, USA (Ret)



                 

Never Stop Serving

© Lee Coast Chapter MOAA 2019