Middle Tennessee Chapter Newsletter September 2019
Editor: COL Doug Minton, USA Retired
MOAA Middle Tennessee Chapter Meeting
Upcoming MOAA Luncheon Meeting
24 September 2019; 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Capt. Dan Thomas, USAF
Old Natchez Country Club,
115 Gardengate Drive, Franklin, TN 37069
Dan Thomas has been a weather fanatic for as long as he can remember. As a small child, in his hometown of North Andover, MA, he loved to stare out the window, watching New England's powerful ocean storms. To this day, he still has a cassette recording from when he was 6 years old, on which he said, "It's rainy, snowy, windy ... That's all the news for now. This is Danny Thomas." Needless to say, he's living out his dream.
Dan's passion for weather led him to The Pennsylvania State University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in meteorology. While at Penn State, he worked as a part-time, on-air meteorologist for WPSX-TV. He also joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and was commissioned as a Lieutenant upon graduation.
After graduate school, Dan began his military career at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, GA. He deployed to the Middle East, where he briefed pilots on weather conditions for their training missions over Iraq's no-fly zone. He completed his active duty military service in the fall of 2000 as a Captain, leading a 15-person organization in weather operations at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, OK.
After his time in the military, Dan began his full-time career in television as the morning meteorologist for KHBS/KHOG-TV in Fort Smith/Fayetteville, AR. For the following two years, he chased and tracked severe thunderstorms all across western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.
From tornado alley, Dan moved to "hurricane central" - New Orleans - in early 2003 to work as a broadcast meteorologist for WDSU-TV, the NBC affiliate. While there, he covered more than a half dozen hurricanes and tropical storms that hit the southeastern United States. His coverage of Hurricane Frances in 2004 earned him "First Place for Breaking Weather" from the Louisiana Associated Press.
Most notable was Dan's coverage leading up to and during Hurricane Katrina. Dan warned viewers of the impending devastation during the final hours of preparation and the first hours of impact. He rode out the storm on the 11th floor of the Hilton Hotel in New Orleans. Dan recalls the room began creaking eight hours before landfall. The hotel beds began shaking two hours before landfall, due to the increasing wind. It was at that point that Dan and several coworkers evacuated to the hotel lobby for safety. The following day, as flood waters rose and crime escalated, Dan and his remaining coworkers evacuated to a sister station in Orlando, FL, where they remained for the following two months.
Dan moved to Nashville and joined the WSMV News4 team in August 2006. In May 2009, Dan was certified by the American Meteorological Society as a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, which involves passing very rigorous testing and standards. In 2010, Dan won an Emmy award for his coverage of the Flood of 2010.
Dan's thrilled to call this area home with its gorgeous terrain, ever-changing weather, and very kind people. When not in the office, Dan loves spending time with his wife, Deanna, and two children, Sadee and Hudson. During his "me-time" he'll usually go running, lift weights, play tennis, golf, or even tend to his many palm trees.
MTC President's Message
5 September 2019
Thanks to all who came to our August meeting. If you missed it, Army Chaplain Jay Outen gave us an excellent update on what is going on with the Chaplain Corp as well as valuable insight to the challenges they face every day supporting and aiding a force that deploys on a routine basis. Another in a long line of excellent programs.
By now you should have received your request for donations to the Middle Tennessee Chapter of MOAA Veteran’s Scholarship program. We have a long tradition of donating generously to this fund. Over the years we have funded three endowed MOAA national scholarships for $25,000 each. Several years ago, we started contributing to Lipscomb and Belmont Universities to help fund education for our disabled veterans at those schools. Over the years we have contributed $1,000 dollars annually to each school. Two years ago, because of our strong relationship with Lipscomb, we inherited a dormant endowment fund and started funding it under the Middle Tennessee MOAA moniker. The endowment fund is in addition to the annual gift but both parties look forward to watching the new endowment fund grow.
Our tradition is to ask for every member to make minimum $25.00 tax-deductible contribution to support our scholarship initiative. Historically we have had some members want to contribute directly to MOAA national. All we ask if you do that is to annotate on your check that your donation be credited to the Middle Tennessee Chapter. For contributions directly to the Middle Tennessee Chapter we have included a self-addressed envelope in the mailing, or you can drop off your check at the front desk at the next meeting. Thank you in advance for your support.
At our last meeting, we announced we have been selected for our sixth 5 Star Chapter recognition. It is always great to get the recognition but to me the significance of the award is that we have an outstanding chapter because we have outstanding members. Each year the criteria for selection are a bit different and many of the things that make it different are the addition of more requirements. This year we needed 80% of our local membership to be a member of the National organization. Although 80% is good, I believe we can do better that. So for next year I am setting a goal of 90% national membership. So, if you are not a member on the National level please take a few minutes to go to MOAA.org and join. Although we hope we join as regular dues paying member, you can join as Basic member for no cost. I think once you join MOAA at the national level you will see what an outstanding organization it is and what a great job they do lobbying for our active, reserve and retired members.
This month we will be welcoming Air Force veteran and channel 4 meteorologist Dan Thomas as guest speaker. So, mark your calendar for the 24th of September. Look forward to seeing everyone.
Congratulations Are in Order
CPT Art Jacobs, USA
CPT Art Jacobs has become President of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association this year following their Annual Reunion held in Kansas City. It took four years in various positions before he arrived at the Presidency (similar to the succession plan in our Chapter) and he will hold that position until their Annual Reunion to be held in Denver in 2020. He will serve for several more years on their Executive Council following his term as President.
The role of the Association is to enhance and accredit the cohesiveness, esprit de corps, and traditions of valor of rotary wing aircrews that flew in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era (1961 – 1975). The VHPA has a membership of over 16,600 helicopter pilots from around the world out of the approximately 40,000 who served as helicopter pilots during and in the Vietnam War.
This is yet another example of how our members continue to embrace the concept of “Never Stop Serving”.
Mrs. Patricia Bergquist, Surviving Spouse Liaison
Mrs. Patricia Bergquist received the MOAA Leadership Award last week as the first Surviving Spouse Liaison for the TN MOAA Council of Chapters.
At the National level, Patricia has been a strong advocate for our military, representing the Council at nine “Storming the Hill” events.
At the State level she has visited 7 of the 10 TN Chapters, engaging Surviving Spouse members in the activities of the Chapters, as well as reminding everyone of the value that our Surviving Spouses bring to our Chapters.
The award signed by Lt.Gen. Dana Atkins is Patricia’s second MOAA Leadership Award. She also received the Award from Adm. Norb Ryan in 2012 for her leadership at MOAA National in organizing what became the Surviving Spouse Advisory Council.
Another outstanding example of our members’ “Continuing to Serve”!
VA's Tennessee Valley Health Service Veterans and Family Advisory Council
In July 2017, the VA’s Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) established the Veteran and Family Advisory Council (VFAC), which includes Veterans, family members, caregivers, and employee Veterans who receive their care at the VA Hospital.
The mission of the Council:
1. To partner with health care staff to improve communication among Veterans, families and staff.
2. To assist in improving safety, satisfaction, and quality of care.
3. To allow staff to listen to and honor Veteran and family choices.
CAPT (Ret.) Steve Arends, USN and MTC member is a founding and current member of the Council. He will hopefully be joined soon by COL (Ret.) Kent Crossley, USA who has applied for a position on the Council.