Friday, November 30, 2012

Noteworthies with a Local Link

Air Mobility Command prepares for a change of command ceremony Friday at 10 a.m. at the Parade Field as Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., relinquishes command to Gen. Paul Selva. Officiating the ceremony will be the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Welsh.

Johns, who took command of AMC in 2009, is retiring after serving 35 years on active duty. Selva arrives from Hawaii where he served as vice commander for the Pacific Air Forces at Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. He was stationed here previously with the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (TACC) and with U.S. Transportation Command.

Both Gen. Johns and Gen. Selva are former commanders of McChord AFB/62nd AW (now JBLM-McChord Field). Full coverage of the event will be posted online at after the ceremony.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Avoid the Fiscal Cliff

The Tacoma-Piece County Chamber is working through several venues to encourage Congress and the Commander-in-Chief (President) to solve the dilemma posed by the self-mandated fiscal cliff adopted earlier as a budget-balancing incentive.  Always considered to be an incentive to get national adoption of budget and tax compromises, the looming implementation date of the fiscal cliff and its sequestration component pose significant harm to our national defense and our fragile economy.

The Chamber participates in the Association of Defense Communities which recently issued a letter encouraging adoption of a solution to the fiscal cliff and sequestration, which details ADC’s 2012 positions on specific pressing issues for the ‘lame duck’ session.  This letter was distributed to the leadership and senior ranking members of the Senate and House  Armed Service Committees, Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees, and the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, as well as the Defense Communities Caucus leadership. 

(click on image for a larger view)

Monday, November 19, 2012

WA AFA Chapter Presents Awards

The Washington State Air Force Association honored several of its leaders with special recognition at their last meeting.  Pictured are the recipients (l to r) as Mary Moss, Washington State Chapter President, presents the awards:
Rick Sine is the Regional AFA President, received the Exceptional Service Award. In 2010 when Rick became Regional President, one of his biggest challenges was the Greater Seattle chapter's loss of a very active president.  Mr. Sine promptly enlisted the assistance of other chapter leaders to keep the Seattle Chapter functioning.  At one point, when the chapter might fold, he contacted Seattle chapter’s general membership as well as specific groups within the chapter for help. His leadership led to continuation of the Greater Seattle Chapter.

Mary Moss, Washington State AFA Chapter President presenting awards.

Bill Striegel, President for the McChord Chapter and Vice-President for State Chapter, received the Medal of Merit Award. Bill accepted the role as Co-Chairman for the Chapter Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament, the Foundation’s primary fund raising activity.  His oversight, initiatives and personal efforts last year insured the most successful tournament in the last decade. His dedicated efforts were responsible for finding new donors in both areas.  He also assisted the Community Partner Chairperson in identifying several new Corporate Partners members.

Gary Brackett, the State AFA Government Affairs Officer, was honored for the role he played in the 2011 Air Mobility Command (AMC) Rodeo, especially insuring a warm welcome specifically to the international teams.  Gary’s work coordinating and assisting resulted in a very successful International Team Reception, held at the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum. Volunteers in the effort raised $12,000, coordinated the meals, obtained entertainment, sent out invitations and worked with JBLM to transport the teams to and from the event.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Honoring Vets

Thank You to Everyone Who has Served our Country!

On Sunday, November 11th we all will be celebrating Veterans Day. As this honorable day grows closer I wanted to express my very deep gratitude to those who have served us in the past and to those who are serving today - from the bottom of my heart -- Thank You!
Recently one of my daughters Abby wrote an essay for her 5th grade class called 'What Makes America Great' and she concludes with this statement "We all have our own voice in America, and I'm proud to be an American." I too am proud and grateful to be an American. In a time when we have been in war for the past 11 years I think it is very imperative that we all use our own voice to reach out and to thank those who are around us and that have been protecting our freedoms. As many families and friends of the military know best, our freedom is not free!
I am touched by the many stories of why individuals have signed up to serve us but one I carry with me all the time are those who after the atrocities of September 11, dedicated themselves to our country and committed their lives to serve all of us here in America and continue to serve us today! These sacrifices are made across this nation by individuals who make up our military and ultimately make up the fabric of our society!
Additionally, I thought I would share a great video tribute that was created by Boeing which includes employees of the company. It will be airing in the next few days to honor those who serve Boeing Tribute.
Again, thank you to our Veterans. I am grateful for the men and women in this great county that served us, those here at JBLM, as well as those across this great country and around the world!
Hope you have a blessed Veterans Day and great weekend!
Best wishes,

Tom Pierson
President & CEO

Thursday, November 8, 2012

34th Military Citizen Announced

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber presented the 34th annual John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award to Sergeant Robert Pangaro today. Sgt. Pangaro is currently an active duty servicemember assigned to Rear Detachment, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, JBLM.
MG Lanza (7th ID, JBLM), Amy Tiemeyer (ACU), Stephanie & Robert Pangaro, Tom Pierson (Chamber)
Sgt. Pangaro volunteers at the Park Lodge Elementary School in Lakewood, Wash. and currently serves a two-year term as the PTSA President for Park Lodge. His role includes being responsible for the overseeing decisions for the allocation of the non-profits funds, including school bus transportation, field trips, field days and extracurricular events such as school dances and graduation for the 350 students at Park Lodge.
Sgt. Pangaro volunteered for every PTSA sponsored event, whether it was a book fair, a sock-hop, a curriculum night or a spruced-up date for the school grounds.
For the upcoming Veteran’s Day assembly at the school, he arranged for a color guard unit to attend, to bring a more exciting and professional feeling for the event.
Sgt. Pangaro also takes requests for funds from teachers to help offset their personal purchases in classrooms and arranged for parents to vote for allocation of funds online.
Last year, Sgt. Pangaro helped start a local Watch Dogs program, (Dads of Great Students), where father figures, (fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles and others), work with kids in group or individual settings.  This year, he is a volunteer Watch Dog – having handed over the coordination to another person.
To help all parents, deployed soldiers or civilian, Sgt. Pangaro leveraged social media and other sites as a way for parents to engage and be a part of their child’s school experience. He spends time emailing meeting minutes to deployed servicemembers whose children are students at the school and then posts to their social media pages.
Sgt. Pangaro is helping reestablish a PTA Council and is putting together the first PTA Presidential Committee.
Sgt. Pangaro is also a member of the Clover Park School District DTAP (District Teachers and Parents Team) and a member of the Site Council for Park Lodge Elementary – deciding on how the transition to a Title 1 School (a vast majority of poverty-level students) will take place next year.
“There is no question that Sgt. Pangaro devotes countless hours and boundless energy to improving and serving his community,” said Amy Tiemeyer, award sponsor America’s Credit Union’s representative.
Award Sponsor:
America’s Credit Union has been serving the military here at Joint base Lewis McChord (JBLM) since 1954; ACU has been active in creating a community that is aware of soldiers needs and able to serve our military who give so much for all of us. Amy Tiemeyer America’s Credit Union’s Military Relations Liaison is a veteran herself and presented the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s 34th John Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award.
About John H. Anderson:
The Chamber created the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award to honor an outstanding military citizen to commemorate the civic contributions by our resident military personnel. John H. Anderson, a veteran, served as Tacoma’s mayor in the early to mid-1950s. An accomplished civic leader, he is also a past Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Board of Directors, as well as a successful local businessman.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Honoring Service to Vets

Several Washington residents will be honored this Saturday with Outstanding Service to Veterans Awards for their contributions to Washington State’s veterans and their families during the past year.
The awards -co-sponsored each year by the Governor's Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee (VAAC) and the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs - recognize individuals who devote time and energy to improving the lives of Washington's veterans.
The awards are presented at a special luncheon in Auburn, following the awardees participation in the City’s annual Veterans Day Parade. Parade starts at 11 am and luncheon begins at 1:30 pm.
2012 Award Recipients:
Outstanding Patriotic Service to Veterans

Tami Michaels lives in King County and is one of the most effective advocates a veteran could have in our state. Last year, Tami advocated for Fisher Broadcasting and KOMO TV to do a documentary on Washington’s veterans and the struggles they face coming home from war. This documentary made sure that our community does not forget about the all-volunteer military who risk their safety and well-being for our freedoms.
Outstanding Veteran Service Officer

Richard Calef is a resident of Stevens County and a Veteran Service Officer for the American Legion. In addition to exceptional service officer work, Richard created the 9-1-1 Memorial Ride which is known throughout the Tri-State region. Richard was also instrumental in the development of the VA Outreach Medical Clinic in Colville. Rick is a member of the National Association of Medics and Corpsmen and maintains a unique Memorial Complex to All Combat Medics on his ranch in Eastern Washington.

Outstanding Employee

Michael Flood, a resident of King County, is the Vice President for Community Relations for the Seattle Seahawks/FC. As a board member of Camp Patriot, Mike has ensured there are enough sponsors to cover expenses for disabled veterans to participate in the yearly events of climbing Mt. Rainier, riding the Pony Express and hunting. Mike was also instrumental in getting Washington’s first Veterans Raffle advertised during Seahawks games and coordinating the 2011 Raffle kick-off events with NFL Hall of Fame Player Steve Largent.
Outstanding Veteran Volunteers

The Washington State Women Veterans Advisory Committee was established in 2008 and is composed of an all-volunteer group of women veterans from all branches of service across the state. In the span of 4 years, this group of women veterans demonstrated vision and actions on behalf of the over 60,000 women veterans. Each year, they have organized a women veterans summit with resounding success. Through the summits, they have connected women veterans to benefits and services they might be entitled to, resulting in a 15% increase in the number of women veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. The committee works hard on behalf of their fellow women veterans and has provided the WA Department of Veterans Affairs with sound advice on how to better serve women veterans in our state. They provide their services and time selflessly and abundantly.
Outstanding Volunteer Veteran Service Officer

Lawrence Strozyk lives in Douglas County, serving as a volunteer service officer for the past 10 years with VFW Post 3617 in East Wenatchee. Larry’s success rate for submitted benefits claims for veterans has been at a steady 92%, resulting in veterans receiving well over $1.7 million dollars in retroactive payments. When Larry is not performing his service officer duties, he recruits, volunteers and organizes the Post’s Honor Guard for funeral duties and does the same for the Post’s Color Guard participations in local veterans and civic parades in Douglas County.

Outstanding Male Non-Veteran

Hal Bernton is a Seattle Times reporter and has been the military/veterans community voice since reporting as a war correspondent from Iraq in 2005. Hal’s reporting has helped shed light on an unfortunate situation faced by many returning combat soldiers, involving “other than honorable discharges” for misconduct. Hal’s investigative reporting has brought attention to the fact that many of these misconduct incidents can be directly attributed to being diagnosed with PTSD prior to the behavior change.
Outstanding Female Non-Veteran

Venay K. Money, a resident of Clallam County, has been active in the VFW Auxiliary for the past 25 years. Venay participates in the Port Angeles Annual POW/MIA Program, Veterans Day Parades, and is very instrumental in the yearly stand downs in Clallam County. Her passion for helping veterans and their families in stems from her experience being married to a Vietnam Era veteran. Venay has been instrumental in increasing the Disabled American Veterans Van volunteer drivers from 3 to 11 in her community, providing transportation for local veterans to the VA Facility in Seattle.
Outstanding Legislators

Representative Barbara Bailey, District 10, Oak Harbor

Representative Bailey has served as a member of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs since 2007 and currently serves on the Executive Committee as the Joint Committee Co-Chair. In this capacity, Representative Bailey has heard and supported numerous veteran initiatives including the creation of the Veterans Innovations Program which serves veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan and the Veterans Raffle which now provides funding for the Veterans Innovations Program. As the spouse of a military retiree and mother of two children serving in the United States Armed Forces, Representative Bailey is also a staunch supporter of military personnel and has supported legislation that helps separating military personnel translate their military experience into Washington State certificates or licenses. In 2012, she sponsored a bill that would provide a free Discover Pass to 100% disabled veterans, as well as voting in favor of several other bills for veterans and their families.
Representative Larry Seaquist, District 26, Gig Harbor

Representative Larry Seaquist is a former US Navy warship captain and Pentagon strategist who served for 32 years in the U.S. Navy. His passion for serving veterans and military personnel has carried over into his legislative career where he advocates for veterans who are pursuing their higher education goals using the GI Bill benefits they earned. In 2012, he sponsored legislation which would have provided additional funding for colleges to develop programs to serve veterans on their campuses. He also co-sponsored a bill to bring establish a fourth State Veterans Home in Walla Walla in addition to voting in favor of several other bills for veterans and their families.