March 29, 2021
Editor's Note: We are saddened to report the passing of Fay Morgan, the lovely wife of Colonel Alvin Morgan, USA (Ret), long-time members of our Black Hills Chapter family of the Military Officers Association of America. Our condolences to Colonel Morgan and the entire Morgan family. Below is Fay's obituary.
March 25, 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to unleash its wrath on the U.S. population, the race was on to develop and distribute vaccines to battle this scourge as quickly and safely as possible. Importantly, getting those vaccines into the arms of Americans was and remains a challenge. The year 2020 and early 2021 have been rife with stories about citizens having difficulty scheduling an appointment and then getting the vaccine administered. In some places, the situation was often described as chaotic.
South Dakota has fared much better. In fact, as of March 12th, Center for Disease Control data published in the New York Times indicated the state was a leader in getting citizens vaccinated for COVID. Just over one out of every four South Dakotans (26%) had received at least one dose. Only Connecticut, New Mexico and Alaska had higher figures.
Of course, differences from state to state are caused by a wide range of circumstances, but aspect of the success realized by South Dakota has been due to the smooth rollout of vaccinations coordinated by the Veterans Administration. Retired Air Force Colonel Jim Cowan of Rapid City can attest to the efficiency and smooth rollout of the vaccine through the VA Black Hills Health Care System.
VA Black Hills spokesperson Terese Forbes has noted that "The drive-through vaccinations of our priority group – those 75 years of age and older – was particularly effective in the beginning."
February 17, 2021
December 30, 2020
|Colonel Bob Mallow and wife Shirley|
with our "Fiftieth Anniversary Affiliate
Award" received from national MOAA.
That's especially true for the Black Hills Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America. Our chapter turned 50 years old in November 2020. Deferring to the hazards of Covid-19, meetings were first postponed – then cancelled. A planned December celebration, including a speaker from national MOAA headquarters had to be scrapped. As it turned out, there was no celebration.
With 2021 just around the corner, we know that the coronavirus remains a huge problem. Nonetheless, with development and distribution of vaccines and precautionary measures, we’re optimistic about our future.
While a national MOAA representative wasn’t able to visit our chapter – and there was no big celebration – MOAA President, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret) was kind enough to to send us a note of congratulations and a “Fiftieth Anniversary Affiliate Award” commemorating our 50 years of service. (Click images to see a larger versions.)
Our charter from MOAA, originally known as The Retired Officers Association (TROA), was reportedly presented by General Cyril Sheehan at the Gill Sun Inn in Rapid City on March 15, 1971. Mel Hoherz of Deadwood coordinated the meeting. Colonel Hoherz would go on to become president of the South Dakota Retired Officers Association.
Among the many locations that have hosted our Black Hills Chapter meetings over the years: Ellsworth AFB Officers Club, the Crossroads Picnic House at Cheyenne Crossing, L’Epicure Restaurant in Rapid City, Sacora Station in Piedmont, Dave Turgeon’s Club in Central City, Timber of Ages Recreation Hall in Piedmont, the Radisson Hotel and the American Legion Club Post #22 in Rapid City. We suspect there were other locations, too.
Of course, it’s people who make the organization, and we’ve been blessed to have leaders like Gus Jacob, Jerry Teachout, Dick Trankle, Denny York, Jim Cowan, Mary Piper, and Bonnie Walker, among others. Other names prominent in news stories we've seen about our chapter over the years include Charles Gardner, Bill Colson, John King, James Bergman, Don Martini, John Welch, Don Smith, and Frank Howell.
Fellowship within any organization is important, and we all miss the social aspect of our MOAA organization. That will return as we more aggressively resume activities consistent with our mission. The Military Officers Association of America is a leading voice in protecting the rights of service members and their families. MOAA is comprised of active duty, retired, and former commissioned officers and warrant officers from all of the uniformed services – Our membership includes Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Space Force, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
As we enter 2021, we look forward to again seeing our members down the road. If you're not a member, no matter which service branch you're from, we hope you'll consider joining our Black Hills Chapter! We hope you all had a good holiday season!