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L-R  CAPT Fred Boyles USN (R) Treasurer, Lt Col Frank Baugh USAF (R) 2nd Vp, LTC Barry Gardner USA (R) President, Lt Gen Dana T Atkins USAF (R) President & CEO of MOAA

            Newly Elected 

    Georgia MOAA President

LTC Barry J Gardner, US Army (Ret), 3rd from left, was recently sworn in as  President of the Georgia Military Officers Association of America (GAMOAA) at a ceremony held in the National Infantry Museum at FT Benning GA.   

Conducting the Ceremony was Lt Gen Dana T. Atkins USAF (Ret), President & CEO/ Military Officers Association of America. 

 



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Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events in Afghanistan, such as the U.S withdrawal and the takeover by the Taliban.

You  are  not  alone!!!

Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s normal to feel this way. Talk with your friends and families, reach out to battle buddies, connect with a peer-to-peer network, or sign up for mental health services. Scroll down for a list common reactions and coping advice.

Resources available right now

Common Reactions

In reaction to current events in Afghanistan, Veterans may:

  • Feel frustrated, sad, helpless, grief or distressed
  • Feel angry or betrayed
  • Experience an increase in mental health symptoms like symptoms of PTSD or depression
  • Sleep poorly, drink more or use more drugs 
  • Try to avoid all reminders or media or shy away from social situations
  • Have more military and homecoming memories

Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service.

Veterans may feel like they need to expect and/or prepare for the worst. For example, they may:

  • Become overly protective, vigilant, and guarded
  • Become preoccupied by danger
  • Feel a need to avoid being shocked by, or unprepared for, what may happen in the future

Feeling distress is a normal reaction to negative events, especially ones that feel personal. It can be helpful to let yourself feel those feelings rather than try to avoid them. Often, these feelings will naturally run their course. If they continue without easing up or if you feel overwhelmed by them, the suggestions below can be helpful.

Strategies for Managing Ongoing Distress

At this moment, it may seem like all is lost, like your service or your sacrifices were for nothing. Consider the ways that your service made a difference, the impact it had on others’ lives or on your own life. Remember that now is just one moment in time and that things will continue to change.

It can be helpful to focus on the present and to engage in the activities that are most meaningful and valuable to you. Is there something you can do today that is important to you?  This can be as an individual, a family member, a parent, or a community member. Something that is meaningful to you in regard to your work or your spirituality? Such activities won’t change the past or the things you can’t control, but they can help life feel meaningful and reduce distress, despite the things you cannot change.

It can also help to consider your thinking. Ask yourself if your thoughts are helpful to you right now. Are there ways you can change your thinking to be more accurate and less distressing? For example, are you using extreme thinking where you see the situation as all bad or all good?  If so, try and think in less extreme terms. For example, rather than thinking “my service in Afghanistan was useless” consider instead “I helped keep Afghanistan safe.”

Finally, consider more general coping strategies that you may want to try including:

  • Engage in Positive Activities. Try to engage in positive, healthy, or meaningful activities, even if they are small, simple actions. Doing things that are rewarding, meaningful, or enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it, can make you feel better.
  • Stay Connected. Spend time with people who give you a sense of security, calm, or happiness, or those who best understand what you are going through.
  • Practice Good Self Care. Look for positive coping strategies that help you manage your emotions. Listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, journaling, or reading inspirational text are some simple ways to help manage overwhelming or distressing emotions.
  • Stick to Your Routines. It can be helpful to stick to a schedule for when you sleep, eat, work, and do other day-to-day activities.
  • Limit Media Exposure. Limit how much news you take in if media coverage is increasing your distress.
  • Use a mobile app. Consider one of VA’s self-help apps (see https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/) such as PTSD Coach which has tools that can help you deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
  • PTSD Coach Online. A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.

If you develop your own ways of adapting to ongoing events and situations, you may gain a stronger sense of being able to deal with challenges, a greater sense of meaning or purpose, and an ability to mentor and support others in similar situations.

AFghanistan

Afghanistan: How Veterans can reconcile service

READ MORE


VetCenter

Afghanistan: How Veterans can learn from Vietnam Veterans

READ MORE 

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If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

 

IMPORTANT:  

https://dph.georgia.gov/       GA Dept of Public Health Website

 

The AJC is covering the coronavirus outbreak with a focus on what it means to Atlanta and Georgia. Follow AJC for news updates, health information and helpful resources.

https://www.ajc.com/news/coronavirus/

 

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Articles Below:

 1)  Georgia Retired Military Income Tax Exemption

 2)  TOGETHER AGAIN

 

  • Slide 13 of 51: > Cumulative COVID-19 cases as of June 25: 265 per 100,000 people -- 9th lowest (total: 4,645) > COVID-19-related deaths as of June 25: 5 per 100,000 people -- 7th lowest (total: 90) > Total tests administered as of June 25: 80,060 > Change in trailing 7-day avg. daily cases, June 17 - June 24: 31.2% -- 4th biggest increase (from 3,540 to 4,645) > Est. peak date: 3/25/2020 (est. 301 active infections) > Population: 1,754,208 Idaho is in phase 4 of reopening. As of June 13, gatherings of more than 50 people will be allowed where social distancing can be practiced. Nonessential travel is permitted to locations without ongoing transmission of the virus. Bars and movie theaters can reopen if they meet safety protocols, and nightclubs and large venues can open with limited standing-room capacity. Restaurants can allow more than six people at one table. Employees can return to offices if they practice social distancing. The state still encourages face mask use and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others in public. Phase 4 is scheduled to end on June 26, after which the state is supposed to enter the Idaho Rebounds Plan. It's unclear if this will happen due to an increase in coronavirus infections. ALSO READ: 30 Popular Restaurants That Won’t Reopen After the PandemicSlide 51 of 51: > Cumulative COVID-19 cases as of June 25: 222 per 100,000 people -- 7th lowest (total: 1,282) > COVID-19-related deaths as of June 25: 3 per 100,000 people -- 4th lowest (total: 20) > Total tests administered as of June 25: 40,154 > Change in trailing 7-day avg. daily cases, June 17 - June 24: 17.7% -- 14th biggest increase (from 1,089 to 1,282) > Est. peak date: 5/6/2020 (est. 94 active infections) > Population: 577,737 Outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people have been allowed since June 1, but people must practice social distancing. Indoor gatherings of up to 250 people are now allowed as well. Schools, community colleges, the University of Wyoming and other educational institutions can resume in-person instruction, but fitness classes cannot be of no more than 50 people. Child care facilities resumed normal operations with unlimited class sizes on June 15. Fitness class limit is now 50 people. Personal care services no longer have to operate by appointment only. Long-term care facilities can now resume outdoor, in-person visitation under specific health guidelines. ALSO READ: States Where the Virus Is Growing the Fastest Right Now

 

1)  Georgia Tax Exemption Info

NOTE: A Coaliton of One of Veterans Service Organizations is in the preliminary stages of formulating.  Info to follow as available. If successful, this will provide a larger "voice" of Georgia Veterans on various military legislative issues!

Tax Update: The Status of 5 Key States

By: Amanda Dolasinski

JULY 28, 2020

READ Georgia MOAA President COL Paul Wingo USA (Ret) interview below!

Is your state still fully taxing retirement pay? MOAA National serves in an advisory capacity for state-specific issues such as income tax exemption. Please contact your local MOAA council as state legislation must originate at the state level.

Advocates in two states have pledged to keep pushing to exempt military retiree pay from state income tax after the COVID-19 pandemic halted efforts.

Proposed legislation in Vermont, where military retiree pay is fully taxed at the state level, would have provided a full tax exemption. In Georgia, a lawmaker proposed a bill that would offer a phased-in exemption.

[NEWLY UPDATED: MOAA’s Military State Report Card and Tax Guide]

Legislation on exemptions in both states stalled when lawmakers ended sessions early to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

In Vermont, state Rep. Daniel Noyes was able to get legislation for an exemption introduced by pegging it as an economic development strategy.

Noyes said the exemption, although decreasing state revenue, likely would have an overall benefit for the state because it would attract people who will spend money. It will also shore up the state’s aging workforce, which has been a challenged to fill emergency responder and firefighter jobs.

“Veterans are skilled workers who typically look for other employment opportunities after the military,” Noyes said. “This cohort of individuals coming out of the military is the kind of people we’d love to see immigrate to Vermont.”

There are about 3,900 military retirees eligible for a pension in Vermont. The average pension in Vermont is about $22,300, and state income tax can take up to 4%.

Vermont is one of the few states that doesn’t have a tax break for military retiree pay. The proposed move from full taxation to full exemption would mirror actions taken by North Dakota, which made the change starting with the 2019 tax year.

Georgia Bill Update

Meanwhile in Georgia, lawmakers proposed two bills in an effort to give military retirees a tax break. The first, which may not be reintroduced, would grant a full, immediate exemption, while the second would phase in an exemption over 10 years.

State Sen. Zahra Karinshak sent a bill that would grant the full exemption, which was originally introduced in the 2019 legislative session, to the Department of Audit and Accounts for review. She has not said if she will refile the bill.

That bill could result in state revenue loss of $80.5 million to $131.5 million, with retroactive pay from Jan. 1, 2019, according to fiscal researchers.

In a similar bill, an exemption would be phased in by 10% starting at age 50 and increasing 10% until age 59, when retirees would receive 100% exemption.

Col. Paul Wingo, USA (Ret), President of MOAA’s Georgia Council of Chapters, said every MOAA chapter in the state has been actively pursuing lawmakers to approve the exemption. Coronavirus wrinkled their efforts, but they will keep going, he said.

“I have been reassured by my particular senator it will be reintroduced next year,” he said. “We’re confident it will still be on the table.”

Georgia is home to about 91,262 military retirees, according to a report. About 55% of those retirees were age 62 or older and already subject to a tax exclusion that is granted for all Georgia taxpayers in that age range.

Wingo said a plethora of Georgia’s jobs are near bordering states Alabama and Florida, which are appealing to veterans because of breaks on income tax. Offering an exemption on state income tax would entice more veterans to choose Georgia, he said. And, just like Vermont, Georgia is looking for educated, talented people to bolster its workforce, especially in classrooms, hospitals, and airports.

“All the states around us have exemptions, so we’re trying to convince (legislators),” Wingo said. “We know the revenue the state would normally receive would be overcome by the number of soldiers retiring that we can keep.”

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2)  TOGETHER AGAIN - for Veterans Families!

 

                          TOGETHER AGAIN

Members of MOAA’s Old Capitol Area Chapter understand how difficult it can be with the separation that comes when the need arises for a loved one to enter into assisted care. We want to make it easier for family members of veterans to attend to their loved ones in their time of need. Often, that time comes when we are the least prepared for it. That is true whether the loved one is a resident of the Georgia War Veteran Home or is being cared for elsewhere.

The Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville serves the entire state meaning that it can be difficult to visit. To assist, the Old Capitol Area Chapter has stepped forward to establish TOGETHER AGAIN, offering comfort and facilitating lodging arrangements for family members in need. Inspired by Fisher House’s Hotels for Heroes program, working with other veterans’ organizations and the public, we are easing the financial burden on family members in gratitude for their service to country. As a Military Officers Association of America chapter, we recognize the effort we all share that comes with military service, whether it has been a single tour of duty or a career, whether it has been service through active duty, National Guard, or the Reserve components, or whether it has been as a Gold Star, Silver Star, or Blue Star family, all have served under the same flag, the stars and stripes of the United States of America. We are being blessed with organizations and agencies that have voluntarily stepped forward to say they want to contribute to bring veterans families TOGETHER AGAIN.

Community partners are helping by offering Milledgeville Milly Money for use with merchants throughout downtown, and by innkeeper offerings of discounted lodging for families while they visit residents of the Georgia War Veterans Home. Veterans also are a part of our program.

The Military Officers Association of America Foundation provided a grant to start up the program and see to its initial operation. The Old Capitol Area Chapter of MOAA is providing for the promotion, operation and maintenance of the program with the assistance of the statewide Georgia MOAA. Other veterans’ organizations have expressed an interest in supporting the program and are offering pledges. We would like to see the TOGETHER AGAIN initiative become a movement. The need most likely exists elsewhere to bring veterans in assisted living accommodations together with their families.

We hope that our program can serve as a model for community partnerships and veterans’ organization cooperation to provide a way to bring veterans and their families TOGETHER AGAIN. Please help us with donations, no matter the amount. Mail checks or cash to: NEVER STOP SERVINGOld Capitol Area Chapter Military Officers Association of America P. O. Box 1314, Milledgeville, Georgia 31059 Serving Baldwin, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Laurens, Morgan, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington, & Wilkinson Counties TOGETHER AGAIN Members of MOAA’s Old Capitol Area Chapter understand how difficult it can be with the separation that comes when the need arises for a loved one to enter into assisted care. We want to make it easier for family members of veterans to attend to their loved ones in their time of need. Often, that time comes when we are the least prepared for it. That is true whether the loved one is a resident of the Georgia War Veteran Home or is being cared for elsewhere.

The Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville serves the entire state meaning that it can be difficult to visit. To assist, the Old Capitol Area Chapter has stepped forward to establish TOGETHER AGAIN, offering comfort and facilitating lodging arrangements for family members in need. Inspired by Fisher House’s Hotels for Heroes program, working with other veterans’ organizations and the public, we are easing the financial burden on family members in gratitude for their service to country. As a Military Officers Association of America chapter, we recognize the effort we all share that comes with military service, whether it has been a single tour of duty or a career, whether it has been service through active duty, National Guard, or the Reserve components, or whether it has been as a Gold Star, Silver Star, or Blue Star family, all have served under the same flag, the stars and stripes of the United States of America. We are being blessed with organizations and agencies that have voluntarily stepped forward to say they want to contribute to bring veterans families TOGETHER AGAIN.

Community partners are helping by offering Milledgeville Milly Money for use with merchants throughout downtown, and by innkeeper offerings of discounted lodging for families while they visit residents of the Georgia War Veterans Home. Veterans also are a part of our program. The Military Officers Association of America Foundation provided a grant to start up the program and see to its initial operation. The Old Capitol Area Chapter of MOAA is providing for the promotion, operation and maintenance of the program with the assistance of the statewide Georgia MOAA. Other veterans’ organizations have expressed an interest in supporting the program and are offering pledges. We would like to see the TOGETHER AGAIN initiative become a movement. Th

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