Lorraine Holland

President’s Message (Lorraine Holland) – February 2024

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It is with great pride that I announce we have now had two Veteran Art Shows to showcase the unique artwork from 5 of our local veteran artists!  The interaction between the veteran artists and the patrons was beyond my wildest expectations!  Not only did the patrons ask the veterans to talk about how their artwork came to be, but the veterans felt a sense of empowerment to tell their story on the journey they have made to help overcome their fears and mental anguish they experienced in the military.  At both showings, each veteran captured the hearts of the patrons and sold several pieces of their artwork!  We will be hosting a Veteran Art Show at our upcoming February 13th luncheon, and in addition, we will be given a briefing by Recreational Therapist MaryBeth Verbinski from the VA Lake Nona.  MaryBeth has been a steadfast supporter of our “Healing Through Expression” program, and our chapter supports her monthly veteran’s art class at Lake Nona with donations of art supplies, drinks, and refreshments.  There is far more than art therapy to the VA’s Recreational Therapy program to address suicide and PTSD, and I encourage you to attend the luncheon to hear the innovative ways the VA is helping our veterans who are dealing with the results of their military service. Some of the artwork on display will be for sale, and we can take cash, check or credit card as payment (all sales go to the veteran).   We will also be partnering with the Museum of Military History (5210 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, Fl) for a museum fundraiser on Sunday, February 11th for another showing of artwork for our veterans.  There is free admission to the museum between 10:00-6:00pm, and I can attest that the museum is worth a visit!  See attachment.

I hope to see you at our luncheon on February 13th.

And for our March luncheon …. save the date of March 12th for a rare chance to hear from Dr. Lourdes Benes, a practicing neurologist who specializes in age-related cognitive and mobility issues as we age.  In April, our usual 2nd Tuesday luncheon is replaced with our JROTC Awards Luncheon, this year on Saturday, April 20th.  Don’t miss it.

Next MOAA CFC Event is February 13th @ 11:30 am  $24 per person 

Our next Chapter meeting is a luncheon on February 13th at 11:30 am at the DoubleTree Orlando East – UCF Area. The DoubleTree is located at 12125 High Tech Ave, Orlando. Please note, the hotel sits back off the road and may not be immediately visible. We are very fortunate to have a special briefing on the Lake Nona and Lake Baldwin Recreational Therapy program to combat suicide and veterans with PTSD.  MaryBeth Verbinski is the Recreational Therapist we work with on implementing our “Healing Through Expression” program.  In addition, we have invited several veteran artists to set up their artwork for viewing or sale, and they are looking forward to discussing how art therapy has transformed their lives after leaving their respective military service.   The DoubleTree is serving London Broil with Mushroom Sauce on the side, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and California Vegetable Melody.   Dessert will be the Chefs selection, and a warm Doubletree Cookie. Please RSVP NLT February 9th to this email, or email lorraineholland@hotmail.com or call 407-221-1388. Come out to enjoy a wonderful event with your fellow chapter members!  Save-the-date for our next luncheon on March 12th where our guest speaker is Dr. Lourdes Benes, a board-certified Neurologist in Cognitive, Behavioral and Movement Disorders.  (www.NeurologyOne.com)  Dr. Benes will enlighten us on age-related cognitive and mobility issues as we age.  We all can use helpful tips to keep our minds and bodies sharp as we get older! And we will learn how to spot forgetfulness versus dementia setting in. Dr. Benes had a Fellowship with the VA Medical Center Cognitive, Behavioral & Movement Disorders.

Florida Council of Chapters Website

The Florida Council of Chapters is rolling out a new website following the retirement of John Snyder, our former Webmaster.  John’s website was a custom created site that only he knew how to operate; it served our needs for many years and his efforts over the years was greatly appreciated.  The new website features a new look and can also be easily used by Chapters who don’t have their own customized website, like we do.

Go to www.flmoaa.org to check it out.  Once the February Communique’ newsletter is published it, and all following newsletters, will be posted there as well.

President’s Message (Lorraine Holland) – February 2024 Read More »

Henry VI, Part 1: Joan Of Arc @ The Orlando Shakes

Update On The Veterans “Healing Through Expression” Project

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Since my last update, things are continuing to get busy. We had another meeting with The Orlando Shakes and picked a date for our first Double Feature program with them. It will take place on Sunday January 21, 2024. Our Veteran Art Show will take place after the Matinee showing of King Henry VI Part 1. Joan of Arc. The performance begins at 2:00pm.
Henry VI, Part 1: Joan of Arc – The world whirls out of control in the thrilling tale of France’s Joan of Arc, the English warrior Talbot, and the young King Henry VI. Shakespeare’s epic, powerful beginning of the Wars of the Roses is riveting storytelling that never lets up. In this raw, “Bare Bard/Original Practices” production, Orlando Shakes’ actors will perform the play with less than 40 hours of rehearsal, no designers, and no director – just like the acting companies of Shakespeare’s time!

Henry VI, Part 1: Joan Of Arc @ The Orlando Shakes
Henry VI, Part 1: Joan Of Arc @ The Orlando Shakes

If you would like to see the show there is a Military Discount for seats in section A and B. To order tickets, call 407-447-1700 x1 and ask for our Military Discount. This is a very popular play and seats are selling out fast.

The Artists and Art Show will be in the Patrons Room with sales taking place after the show. More information to follow.

On February 11th 2024 we will have another Art Show and Sale at the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee. More on this in the coming months

First Quarter of 2024, Date and Time TBD. A Private Art Show and Sale at the Mayflower, Winter Park’s Distinctive Retirement Community.

Please keep watching for more information to follow.

Update On The Veterans “Healing Through Expression” Project Read More »

Chaplain's Corner

Chaplain’s Corner, November 2023

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As a parent, there are some words I dread hearing more than others. If you have children, you know the words I’m talking about. They are words that can make you break out in a cold sweat just thinking about them. Just knowing I will hear those words makes me almost terrified to face the reality of the situation. You know those words… “some assembly required.” I am not the most mechanically inclined person. I do some things well, but I struggle with things mechanical.

It could be anything requiring assembling. Toys (especially toys), furniture… you name it, and I was able to make sure the pieces didn’t fit. I remember bringing a bookshelf home in a box to be put together. Now, how hard can it be to assemble a bookshelf? After opening the box, I discovered how foolish my assumption had been. It took over two hours of tedious work before it even resembled the picture on the box, much less became operational. I could never had done it without the instruction manual.

Our lives are that way. We start off trying to assemble our life on our own. After all, how hard can it be to assemble our lives? But we soon learn it is not that easy. Life is tough. Many people I have encountered seem to be wandering through life with no idea how to fit the pieces of life together. There are people who have broken lives, marriages torn apart, family relationships that have become far less than they could have been, relationships with others that have shattered. And we cry out wishing for an instruction manual, because we soon realize how complicated that “some assembly required” really is. So we go off looking for books (bookstores and the internet are filled with them) that tell us how we should assemble ourselves while not paying attention to the Book that tells us how we should assemble ourselves so that we function at our greatest capacity.

We look at our children in frustration because we don’t always know just how to respond in a crisis situation. We sit in despair because we don’t know what to say when we are having a problem relating to our spouse. And we wish we had a manual that would tell us just what to do.

The good news is we have such an instruction manual. It is one that tells us how to relate to our family members, co-workers, our neighbors and even our enemies. It tells us where we can draw comfort in times of sadness and hope from despair. It tells us how we can cope when we are lonely and how to find true joy. This is not some new self-help or psychology book. You won’t find it in the self-help section of the bookstore. Chances are, you already have a copy of it. That’s right, it’s the Bible.

Unfortunately, too many of us fail to realize just what a valuable resource we have right at our fingertips. And so I ask, when was the last time you went to it and God for help? Like any instruction manual, it works best if you do not wait to turn to it after messing up the assembly. You need to be following it all along. It is never too late to start.

You can maximize your performance, function at your greatest capacity and effectiveness as a human being if you will just follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Proverbs 21:11 says “When a wise person is instructed, they get knowledge.”

Follow God’s instructions. You will be surprised what a difference it will make.

Chaplain’s Corner, November 2023 Read More »

Surviving Spouse Corner

Surviving Spouse Corner, November 2023

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Know your State Benefits!

Florida is an extremely friendly state in many respects, but especially in regulations that benefit Surviving Spouses.
If you own a home, you should qualify for the homestead exemption. If you are widowed, there is an additional exemption. Each additional exemption has eligibility requirements and requires that an application be filed at your County Property Appraiser’s Office. The deadline is March 1.
Also I recommend that each of you get a copy of “Florida Veterans’ Benefits Guide 2023” and read it. Surviving spouses, who have not remarried, are allowed to continue receiving their veterans benefits in many circumstances. A few examples are listed and quoted below:

Education Benefit

There are scholarship opportunities for spouses (and dependent children) of veterans who died from a service-connected disability. Visit www.floridafinancialaid.org or call Florida Department of Education 888-827-2004.
Property Tax Exemptions: The unremarried surviving spouse of a disabled ex-service member having a VA certified disability of 10 percent or greater is entitled to a $5,000 deduction on the assessment of her/his home.
Any real estate owned and used as a homestead by the surviving spouse of an Armed Forces member who died from Service-connected causes while on active duty is exempt from taxation, if the member was a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the year in which the member died.
If, upon the death of the veteran, the spouse holds the legal or beneficial title to the homestead and permanently resides there, the exemption from taxation carries over to the benefit of the veteran’s spouse until such time as he/she remarries, sells, or otherwise disposes of the property. If the surviving spouse sells the property, an exemption not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the new residence as long as it is used as the primary residence and the spouse does not remarry.
Any partially disabled veteran who is age 65 or older, any portion of whose disability was combat related, and who was honorably discharged, may be eligible for a discount from the amount of ad valorem tax on the homestead commensurate with the percentage of the veteran’s permanent service-connected disability. Apply at the County Appraiser’s office. The benefit carries over to the Surviving Spouse.

State Employment and Promotion Preference

The state and all political subdivisions of the state, shall give preference in employment and promotion to….
The unremarried widow or widower of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability.

Review the specifics above. If you are eligible, act now to gain the benefits your veteran earned for you.

Surviving Spouse Corner, November 2023 Read More »

Lorraine Holland

President’s Message, November 2023

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It’s a busy time of year as we gear up for Veterans Day and the November month of activities surrounding this annual day of honoring our Nation’s Veterans. Starting this year, the week of November 11th is “Veterans Week” in Florida. I will be representing our MOAA Chapter at several functions, and I encourage you to participate in Veterans Day activities in your respective areas to honor those who have honorably and selflessly served. I know many of our members are very active in their veteran community and we would like to hear your stories!
This Focus newsletter covers both November and December, and I would be remiss if I didn’t wish all of you a wonderful day with family and friends on Thanksgiving, and a Merry Christmas full of magical festivities with your loved ones! Let’s not forget that as our world is swirling in unrest overseas, we have deployed military personnel stationed in harm’s way. Please keep our brave men and women in your thoughts and prayers, as they are the reason we have a peaceful and safe home in America. For our November 14th luncheon, we are very fortunate to have our own Patricia Green, a MOAA National Surviving Spouse Advisory Council member, as our guest speaker. Pat’s topics include the downsizing process and financial awareness needed as we age, and topics for preparing for living potentially as a single person later in life.
It’s that time of year again when we need to review our Board of Directors and Chapter Leadership. Like any successful organization, we need new eyes and ears to help steer us into the future to keep our Chapter alive and vibrant. Please make yourself known at the November and December Chapter events so we can put your name forward to fill Chapter positions of leadership. I’m looking forward to seeing you at our luncheon on November 14th! Cheers, Lorraine

President’s Message, November 2023 Read More »

Surviving Spouse Corner

Surviving Spouse Corner – September 2023

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As I wrote this column last Monday, we were under a threat from Hurricane Idalia. I spent the day moving patio furniture and tying down small trees and putting loose things in the garage.

When you read this I hope you are well and suffered minimal damage. I have a few recommendations looking forward (for the next one):

Keep in touch with friends and family. Super charge your phone and keep those charging bricks at full power. If you don’t have one, buy one…about $30. Communicate to loved ones about your safety and location.

Find a handyman or strong teenager who can help you move things.

If you have large trees on your property, have them trimmed. I contacted a tree firm two months ago. My scheduled trim date is September 28. Fortunately, that tree was not impacted by Idalia. I should have made plans earlier. Hurricane storms peak in late September and October.

If you don’t have a generator, get extra industrial strength extension cords. In my tree canopied residential area, neighbors often share electricity using those orange cords.

If your freezer is full, start cooking. As you remove food, pack it with ice.

There are lots of other suggestions at various sites, but these are helpful if you live alone.

Virtual Chapter information…

The next meeting is September 19th at 1 pm. The program is about storing important documents in the cloud. Timely topic! The same day, at 5 pm, the BOOK CLUB will meet. This month’s selection is THE PELL HEIST by Norb Vonnegut. The author will attend the discussion.

If you would like to become a member, contact me. I am the Membership Chair and will send you an invitation to the Zoom meeting.

SBP Recipients, please check that FICA withholding is the appropriate amount!

This has been an issue in 2022 and 2023. I recently double checked my deductions and found that the amount still was not correct. Luckily, I have 4 months to make up the deficit.

Surviving Spouse Corner – September 2023 Read More »

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