2/7/19 Division Minutes

SOUTHWEST DIVISION MEETING

FEBRUARY 7, 2019

OPENING CEREMONIES/WELCOME (NVC Ebright/Chaplain)

INTRODUCTION OF DIGNITARIES (Sgt-At-Arms Levin): Bob Borka, National Chief Operating Officer, Warren Griffin, National Judge Advocate.

ROLL CALL OF OFFICERS (Adjutant Reese):

REPORT OF NATIONAL, DIVISION, ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICERS:

National Officers

National JA Griffin: Detachments and Departments should review National bylaws and Administrative Procedures. They can be found on the website – library section.  It will make things much easier for you to succinctly run a Detachment or Department. Sometimes people are quick to file a grievance against someone they don’t like.  However, that person will have help from others in the Detachment.  What happens is the grievance winds up fracturing the Detachment/Department.  Give some time for things to calm down and heal before going into the Chapter 9 process.

We are all volunteers.  You joined the League because you liked what we do and wanted to be part of the organization.

National Chief Operating Officer Borka:  NVC’s and department commandants should be getting a weekly email from him.  If you are not getting it, contact him.  He reviews and responds to all emails, keeping his email box empty. If you haven’t heard back, something happened to your email.

Library:  Where all the documents are kept on the website.  He can update the library from his desk.

Toys for Tots: – Everyone is doing a great job! Rarely any issue with the program.  The Commandant of the Corps wants us to participate in this program as much as we can.

Funeral Honors:  Doing more than 7,000 a year.  Marine Corps can only send a couple Marines to a funeral service.  Marine Corps League has really stepped up to assist.  You can contact Marine Borka with questions and he will forward as necessary.

Transitioning Marines:  After leaving our meeting, he is going to a mixer sponsored by the Sugar Bear Foundation.  The Marine for Life employees will be there to network with Marines that are transitioning out.  They will enjoy refreshments, mingle and talk.  Employers will also be present. We need to be like “family” or a close friend to these Marines as they transition out.  This program is also active in Washington, DC.

Covers/Blazers: Shortage of covers in the Ship’s Store.  7 ¼ and 7 ½ are very hard to get.  Orders will be doubled in an attempt to take care of the shortage.  Blazers are also a problem.  Hardwick, the company used in the past has been bought out and no longer offers the blazer.  He will bring a solution to mid-winter.  The jacket will be bright red.

Is there a way to be informed when an item is discontinued?  Marine Borka will be give this some thought.

Certificate Templates: are available in the library now so you can create a certificate to your specifications.

Detachment Level Bylaw Templates: No detachment level bylaws on the website.  Use what is on the website but tailor to the individual detachment.  Make them simple. Adjust over time as needed. Should be short.

ROI’s:  Email ROI’s to Jfoster@mcleague.org

Membership Rosters: – always several months behind.  J. D. and his staff input all information by 31 December.  Once entered, they put together the roster.  Currently only 66% have paid their dues.

Transmittals:  When there is a question on a transmittal, the detachment Paymaster is contacted directly.  A suggestion was made that it would be better if National would contact the Department Paymaster or at least keep them in the loop.  Marine Borka will check with J. D. to see if this change can be made.

Death Notices: – One attendee mentioned that he had three death notices that had not been acknowledged by the State or National Chaplains and were not published in Semper Fi. Is there another way to contact National to get cards to the families?  You can contact National Chaplain directly.  Email Marine Borka directly on the three that are at issue.

NVC Ebright: Regarding emails- If you’ve been a Commandant, you know the importance of having a good Adjutant.  When Marines Ebright or Connell send correspondence to staff through the Adjutant, it’s important to read and respond if appropriate.  Requested information on how many funeral honors were done.  No response.

He was told that we were the worst Division.  Do we need new officers?  Do we have officers in “name only” without taking any responsibility?  If you have an election, ask more than “will you serve”.  Will you do the responsibilities of this post?”  If they say yes, hold them to that!

ANVC Connell:  This is the first meeting of the Southwest Division with all new Officers in place. I want to thank past National Vice Commandants Gene Rivers and Richard Hoery for laying the groundwork for your new Officers to follow. I believe that our New National Vice Commandant, Marine Bill Ebright, will guide this Division down the right path, will initiate new ideas, build on old ones and make this Division one of the best, if not the top producing Division in the League. We have already reached one milestone; the Southwest Division was number #1 of all Divisions in recruiting new Marines last year. He has assembled a remarkably talented staff from all walks of life. We have room to grow and improve on Marine Corps League Programs and with the assistance of all members; we can achieve what we strive for.

I am looking forward to working with each and every member of each and every Detachment that comprises the Departments in this Division. I know what is expected of each Department Commandant, as I have held that position in Arizona. I have ideas to share with all the Commandants, and in return, I will seek your ideas and welcome your input. My only goal is to have all of us work together for the common good of the League. I am confident that we can do that.  As your Division Assistant National Vice Commandant, I want to act as the conduit between all the members of the Division and the National Board of Trustees. I promise to work closely with Marine Ebright, to listen to your concerns, to move forward with acceptable ideas that you might have, to disseminate League related information so all will be aware of what is going on in the League and finally to ensure that all the Marines of this Division remember our motto of Semper Fidelis – to be ever faithful to God, our Country, our Corps and our Brother and Sister Marines.

One of our first orders of business will be to ensure that all Detachments throughout the Division are in compliance with the 501c(4) requirements mandated by League Headquarters. If they are not, or are in need of help bringing their Detachment(s) into compliance, help is available. Our Division Chaplain is well versed with the processes needed to ensure compliance and he and the Marine 4 Life Coordinator will make themselves available to render assistance.

We have an outstanding webmaster, and social media chairs.

He has seen many Commandants come and go in his nearly 30 years in the League.  From earlier conversations, death notices were discussed.  The Department Chaplain is supposed to get the notices out.  If that is not happening, you DO NOT go to Marine Borka or any other National Officer! You go to your Department Commandant.

Bylaws; are the constitution of the League.  In them are the rules of conduct for members and officers.

Uniforms:  You’d be surprised at how many uniform regulations are being broken, when, and when NOT to wear the tie, ribbons, etc.  Official uniform of the Marine Corps League is the cover.  If you are going to wear the uniform, or any part thereof, wear it appropriately.

Eventually, Marine Connell will seek input from each Department Commandant to see what they want to work on.  Remember it rests on the Department Commandants to make sure their members are following bylaws.

Working together, we will persevere in our endeavors.

Department Commandants

 

Department of Arizona Report by Department Jr. Vice Marine Wallace:  Marine Rodriguez gives his regrets and apologies as he was unable to attend Expo West.

The Department of Arizona continues to flourish in all aspects of what we do in part to the great membership we have. With the leadership of the past Officers who put this Department on the right path, we will continue to strive to accomplish our goals.

Our Marines Helping Marines program has been extremely successful as we continue to help these Veterans. Marine Lloyd Dellacourt, who is the Chairperson for this committee, is very instrumental in the success of this program.  It’s a $20,000 a year program.

We have recently met with a few individuals who are committed to establishing a new Detachment in Tucson, Arizona. With the help of National Southwest Division Commandant Bill Ebright and National Southwest Division Adjutant Kathy Reese, we will be sure this becomes a reality.

We will keep in contact with him for any assistance he may request.

The Department also presented an Eagle Scout Citizenship Award to an individual from San Manuel, Arizona.

The Department is ensuring that we find coordinators for the Marine for Life Network for all Detachments per National’s directive. The Department Level does have a coordinator in place along with an Assistant.

In closing, I cannot thank enough National Southwest Division Commandant Bill Ebright, National Southwest Division Pat Connell and National Southwest Division Adjutant Kathy Reese for their knowledge and leadership they have provided this past few years. The Department is where it is due to their efforts and contributions.

Fire Team Concept:  3 or 4 Marines that want to participate in a League activity but are too far away from a Detachment to make it practical to attend meetings.  You can have a small group that can attach to the nearest Detachment and still do things in their own communities.  As their numbers grow, they may be able to form a Detachment.  We could start this in our own areas.

 Department of California Report by Commandant Valenzuela: Due to the size of the state (approx. 770 miles long and 250 miles wide) the Department thought it would be beneficial to have a link between the detachments and the Department.  So, the Department established 12 regions within the state. Each region has an assigned Region Coordinator (these coordinators have a strong background in MCL business in the Detachment level).  Each Region’s Coordinator (RC) oversees a number of detachments in their commuting area and are the major communication link between the detachments and the department. The RC attend one of their assigned detachment’s meetings and reports to the Department Sr. Vice who oversees the RC Program.  So far, it has been beneficial to the mission: improving communications.

Secondly, we are faced with the same issues as other Departments:  recruitment and retention.  An ongoing problem throughout the state.  The problem is attendance, lack of younger members stepping up in leadership roles and our, older members fading away.  However, some detachments are doing quite well.  It is my privilege to announce that two of our detachments received awards in achievement in recruiting within their group size.  Those honors went to:  San Fernando Detachment 1277, 1st place and Six Rivers Detachment 1068 received 3rd place. Their awards were presented to Department Commandant Ray Valenzuela on their behalf at the National Convention in Buffalo, NY.

One of the things previously discussed at conferences was how to enhance our communications between the Department and the detachments by whatever means it would take.  Some detachments have newsletters as a means to communicate not only with members of the detachment, but to share their information with other detachments in the state.  It’s my pleasure to announce that Simi Valley Detachment 597 was recognized at the National Convention for their newsletter concept.

Along the same vein, several of our detachments were awarded certificates of appreciation for meeting their recruitment goals. Even though this might seem to contradict my earlier statement about recruitment and retention, it shows that detachments are working hard to meet their goals even with all of the uphill struggles.

As you are all aware, the summer of 2018 was plagued by several devastating fires in California.  As a result, many of our Marines and other military branch members lost all and unfortunately, some paid the ultimate price and lost their lives or those of loved ones. Two MCL members were affected by the Camp Fire in the community of Paradise, CA. The MCL members of local area communities were able to assist these two members – provide them with financial assistance to assist them on the road to recovery. I’m also happy to say that other detachments, not only from California, but from other states were able to provide substantial monetary donations to assist not only fellow Marines, but other veterans of other branches as well.  Some donations came from as far away as Wyoming, New Jersey and Florida.  For that – I thank them!

In closing, even though things might seem difficult at times, Department Officers and Staff work to improve and assist detachments whether they are doing well, and those detachments that are facing difficult times by providing them with the information and tools to continue as active detachments.

On a brighter side, I am pleased to report that we have two new detachments on board and have received their charters; San Francisco Detachment 1458 and a Cpl. Aaron M. Allen Detachment 1459 located in Redlands, Southern California.  Also, another detachment is in the process of being established in the Coronado area, San Diego County.

Also, the Department Public Relations Officer, Mario Blandini, has been putting forward a lot of effort as any one person could do in the program known as “Virtual Detachment”.  MCL Dept. of Ca. has been testing strategies focused on recruiting Marine Corps veterans <50 yrs. old. The operation title “Virtual Detachment”, is a term that resonates with the <50yr old target audience, and has been successful in getting younger audiences to engage.  One constant in this strategy has been to tie these activities to physical detachment meetings in the state, rather than create a separate community.  As such, activity has been focused on adding value to the existing detachment meeting experience, and bringing new Marines to those meetings.  This program is in its early stage with more work ahead.  CONCEPT:  to improve communications overall…Our Department goal.

NV Dept Commandant:  No report

Department Officers

Department of Arizona Sr. Vice Commandant Brown:  The second quarter has been a very busy quarter. I have helped to restore Detachment 1245 Southwest Valley back to an active status with the help of my Judge Advocate.

I put together a first Department Honor Guard and helped a family put a memorial ceremony together for them. Attended and help with some fundraisers for the area.

Marines of Surprise: Attended a new Veterans Advisory board for the City of Surprise.

On Veterans Day, I put together a detail of Marines from the USMC Reserve Center the North Valley Young Marines and The White Tank Mountain Detachment 1246. We took first Place for the best Military unit. We also had our second annual Baseball Game between Veterans of the Fire and Police Department of Surprise and the M.C.L. for a fundraiser for the Special Olympics and the Police 100 club, for the fallen first responder’s families.

Took a vacation for two weeks and now getting ready to kick off a new year, I am involved with a lot of functions.  I also have been awarded the 2018 MODD (Dog of the Year) award for the Pound #375, AZ Pack. I have brought in to the Detachment (7) new members this quarter as well as working on four others at the present time. We established an Assistant Paymaster for the Department Paymaster, to help lighten his load. We are moving forward one step at a time. OOrah!

Aide-de-Camp Lott:  As Southwest Division Aide de Camp, I hope to give my information to an Officer from each Department to pass on to all Aide de Camps, so that I might establish contact and determine if I can be of service.  I continue my Aide de Camp duties as the Department of Arizona Aide de Camp for the Southeast Valley.

I did attend an emergency installation of Officers at the Tombstone Detachment several months ago.  I was impressed by the way this was handled by Department Commandant John Rodriguez.

I would like information on additional duties of the Division Aide de Camp.  I stand ready and able to attend any Detachment Meeting and assist and observe, as well as report any significant findings to the Division Commandant or Assistant Commandant.

Chaplain Donaldson:   During the eighteen months ended December 31, 2018, regretfully, several of our brother and sister Marines and FMF Corpsmen ended their tour of duty on this earth to return to our Supreme Commandant, as follows:

No. Deceased

Department of Arizona                                                  35

Department of California                                             71

Department of Nevada                                                   20

Offshore Detachments — No report received

Total                                                                                   126

Please join me for a moment of silence for our deceased brothers and sisters.

I would also ask that you keep in your thoughts and prayers our Department and Detachment Chaplains and our Pack and Pound Dog Trainers. In my experience as a Chaplain, we are not only a source of spirituality for our members but we, when the occasion arises, are integral to commencement to the grieving process. I believe we also need to accept a roll of fostering brotherly love among our members and reduce the work of our Judge Advocates.

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Southwest Division Chaplain.

Webmaster Dennis:  Provided a verbal report.  Websites are the “yellow pages” today.  Each Detachment should have a website. Doesn’t have to be complicated, but it must be up-to-date.  Send pictures and event information to him for posting on the Division website.

Marine for Life Crawford:  Needs a coordinator for Nevada.  Needs addresses for the California reps.  Arizona is in process.  The “planning” document on the National Website is not helpful.  California should see a lot of Marines needing assistance.  Chain is Detachment, Department, Division, National – each should have a coordinator.  The program is being heavily pushed by National.  It is hoped that it will help with the high suicide rate in the Veteran community.  Program is still in development. The most important thing is that our Marines and veterans must know they are not alone!

Marine Crawford reviewed the importance of reporting occasional hours to the VA. These can be hours spent doing funeral services, fundraisers where all the money goes to veterans, etc.  It also helps the VA get more funding.

At the April meeting, we will try to have training for the chaplain and paymaster.  Let Cmndt. Ebright know what you need. We will also need M4L training so we are consistent across the board.  Marine Crawford will coordinate with National to get someone here for the April meeting.

 

 

OLD BUSINESS

EIN Status (ASVC Connell):  All entities have to be 501c4.  By the first of March, Detachments not in compliance may be put on probation.  If not corrected by April, charters will be pulled.  Detachments have been warned for nearly year.   In Arizona, it was “assumed” that everyone was in compliance and that was not correct.  After appointing a tax consultant and assistant, all but one Detachment was in compliance in 7.5 months.  If anyone is still having trouble converting, Marine Donaldson and/or Marine Crawford can assist.  All Detachments and subsidiaries MUST be in compliance.  National informed Arizona that they were at 98% compliance, the first in the country.

NEW BUSINESS

Social Media (Marine Mascari):  Provided handouts of the various Face book groups his Detachment uses to get the word out in their community.  Useful in recruiting.  Post information from other websites on your page.  Information on VA benefits, suicide prevention, local community events, fundraisers.

 

GOOD OF THE LEAGUE

  • Marine of the Year -No nominations received. Nominations will be accepted by March 31st with the award made at the 2020 SW Division meeting.
  • SemperFi Fund – If Viet Nam Veteran needs help with rent and has already received some funding from another source, this program can make up difference. Also helps with burial/cremation expenses, Agent Orange exposure, “blue water” veterans, Lou Gehrig disease, combat related PTSD. Go to the website SemperFiFund.org to get information.

               

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Cmndt James Pruitt – His detachment presents certificates and challenge coins to base personnel. His Detachment is currently having financial issues so he is selling challenge coins for $20 to raise funds.  If anyone can buy one to help support the Detachment it would be appreciated. He signed up 38 new members today.
  • Virginia MacDougal in an assisted living home in Barstow.
  • Adjutant Scanio – Spring Conference in Casa Grande March 8th & 9th. Golf tournament on 3/10.  Wall will be in town that weekend.
  • Marine Schott forming a new Detachment in Tucson. Detachment will be named after Lance Corporal Lucero – first Tucson Marine killed in Iraq.
  • Marine Valenzuela – Training sessions being held in different areas in the state to help improve staff abilities.
  • Be sure to keep the new member guides on hand

 

CLOSING CEREMONIES (Marine Ebright/Chaplain)