"The mission of MOAA, the motto of MOAA is never stop serving and that’s what we do," said Colonel Mike Early, the secretary and personal affairs officer for MOAA’S Susquehanna chapter.
MOAA stands for Military Officers Association of America. It's the nation's largest association of military officers with members from every branch of service.
They saw veterans struggling throughout the pandemic and wanted to offer some assistance. MOAA's foundation, a nonprofit, has an emergency financial relief grant, that's how they're able to help veterans impacted by COVID-19.
"The country owes veterans something for putting their lives out there," said Col. Early. He retired with 30 years of military service. He's involved with MOAA because he has "a passion for vet service" and helping soldiers.
He processed the applications for the financial relief for those living in Harford and Cecil Counties, since that's where the Susquehanna Chapter covers. However, he still processed applications that came in from outside those counties.
Col. Early said, "because of privacy concerns I haven’t been told who’s been approved or not but I’ve received thank you notes from some of the recipients."
A Baltimore City magician, Anthony Ware, was one of the applications Col. Early processed.
"They were able to assist me with a small grant, financial grant and of course during the pandemic with no shows coming in every little bit helps," said Ware.
Ware explained how his passion for magic started while he was serving in the United States Army.
"A magician came to the base put on this magic show and it just blew my mind. It caught my imagination and it always stayed with me," said Ware. "When I finished my tour of duty, I discovered a magic shop in downtown Baltimore, I took a two-hour lesson and that was the beginning of my journey."
After he booked his first show, he was non-stop until the pandemic hit. All of his shows were canceled. He's been able to start again, virtually.
"The show is just like I’m in your living room or family room right there with you," said Ware. "My show is a humorous, zany comedy magic show so I’m always playing off of the audience. That’s what makes the show exciting and fun."
His goal is to spread a little joy during a tough time. "My show is about having fun and we need some smiles and laughter during the pandemic right now," said Ware. "I tell people to try to get a laugh in every day."
The MOAA grant helped him pay some bills while he was out of work and he recommends every military personal apply for the help. So far, the MOAA foundation has given out more than $100,000!
MOAA doesn't plan on stopping the financial assistance until the money runs out or the pandemic is over. To apply go to www.moaa.org/billreliefapp for a digital application or www.moaa.org/relief-application for a PDF form. If you have any questions you can call MOAA’s Member Service Center at (800) 234-6622 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MOAA Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund offers Emergency Financial Relief Grants to those who are experiencing an unexpected, short-term financial setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- All uniformed services personnel
- Currently serving (including National Guard and Reserve)
- Spouses of currently serving
- Veterans (with an honorable discharge) and caregivers of the same
- Surviving spouses
- All ranks *Preference will be given to those who are not eligible for support from military service relief societies.