Military Officers Association Cape Canaveral Chapter Committed To Charity

By  //  December 2, 2013

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ABOVE VIDEO: With more than 1,400 members, the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America is the largest – and the most active – of 400 similar chapters nationwide.

They represent America’s best, the men and women who have served their country during times of war, as well as during periods of peace.

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“Good Deeds” fund solicited from the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America members each year help support ROTC, JROTC, Sea Cadet Battalions and others. The chapter has awarded more than half a million dollars in scholarships that will help shape America’s future leaders. (Images for Space Coast Daily)

With more than 1,400 members, the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America is the largest – and the most active – of 400 similar chapters nationwide.

They come from all of the seven uniformed services, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Many of them have been severely wounded in action, shot down over enemy territory or endured torture and prison.

They may have been born to privilege or to poverty, but when America needed their help, they all equally answered the call, putting their lives on the line from World War II to Afghanistan.

Now at home, these veterans continue their commitment to their country through charitable endeavors.

“With MOAA, you’re always serving your country,” said retired Army Major General John Cleland, a former judge who has been active with MOAA for more than three decades. Cleland represents the allegiance to country that so many MOAA members share. As a young paratrooper, he was seriously wounded in Korea. His wife, Clara, was one of the MASH nurses who tended to him in the field.

“With MOAA, you’re always serving your country,” said retired Army Major General John Cleland, a former judge who has been active with MOAA for more than three decades.

MOAA_seal-180Cleland represents the allegiance to country that so many MOAA members share. As a young paratrooper, he was seriously wounded in Korea. His wife, Clara, was one of the MASH nurses who tended to him in the field.

The couple later reunited at Walter Reed Hospital while Cleland was recuperating, and a long lasting love affair ensued.

Service runs beyond generations in the Cleland family, as it does for many MOAA members. The Clelands’ daughter, an Army widow, attests to the degree of sacrifice these individuals are asked to make.

CHAPTER SUPPORTS PHILANTHROPIC, SCHOLARSHIP EFFORTS

In their community, MOAA members are a generous lot.

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Courtney Yelle

“The chapter has several activities that support philanthropic endeavors,” said retired Navy commander Courtney Yelle, the chapter’s president.

Members of the local chapter annually fund out of their own pockets the ten $3,000 scholarships the chapter awards to graduating high school seniors.

“Good Deeds” fund solicited from members each year help support ROTC, JROTC, Sea Cadet Battalions and others. The chapter has awarded more than half a million dollars in scholarships that will help shape America’s future leaders.

Ernie Joy, second from right, President of the Military Officers Association of America, Cape Canaveral Chapter, and Senior Master Sgt. Galen Zalace, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron, second from left, present a $6,000 check in support of Operation Warmheart. (Image for Space Coast Medicine & Active Living)

Ernie Joy, second from right, of the Military Officers Association of America, Cape Canaveral Chapter, and Senior Master Sgt. Galen Zalace, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron, second from left, present a $6,000 check in support of Operation Warmheart. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

Each October, the chapter engages in a spirited golf tournament to raise money for Patrick Air Force Base’s Warm Heart program, which provides financial support for needy soldiers, sailors, airmen and their families. The chapter donates approximately $6,000 annually to the program.

Chapter members also work with legislators to support benefits that service men and women have earned through their service to their country.

Retired Major Joe Oblack, a local MOAA member, has received national recognition for his efforts in curbing high school dropout rates.

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Joe Oblack

Oblack doesn’t just talk-the-talk, he walks-the-walk when he visits local high schools to encourage students to stay in school and graduate.

A high school dropout at age 15, Oblack later committed to do whatever it took to launch a career, eventually passing the high school competency exam and graduating from college, while at the same time serving several Air Force assignments. The 333rd Air Force Recruiting Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base created an anti-dropout video using Oblack’s story.

MOAA members give of themselves well beyond the confines of the military organization.

“The members are volunteers in many local hospitals and charitable organizations,” said Yelle.

“All members are giving back to others their time, talent and treasure regularly throughout the year.”

ABOUT THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS

SCSHOF-SPONSORS-5The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world. 

This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, with the festivities beginning at 6 p.m.

“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.

All Humanitarian alumni are presented a specially commissioned medallion.

“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in Space Coast Daily,” said Dr. Palermo.

This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Brighthouse Networks, Community Credit Union, Parrish Medical Center, SOAR, BioCellular Therapies, Brevard Geriatrics, Clear Choice Health Care, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, First Choice Medical Group and Space Coast Daily.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-615-8111 or e-mail SpaceCoastMedicine@gmail.com.


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