Col. McMillen presents Certificate of Appreciation and MOAA Challenge Coin to Command Sgt. Maj. Kreiberg. (Photo by George Bone)

William Myers, Lt., CEC, USN (former)

The Catalina Mountain Chapter (CMC) of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) held its most recent meeting on Saturday, Feb. 18, at SaddleBrooke Ranch. The meeting began with a business session presided over by retired Col. Kurt McMillen, U.S. Army, First Vice President, during which members were updated on the chapter’s current and upcoming activities.

The day’s speaker was retired Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Kreiberg, the founder and executive director of Veterans Affinity. Originally from Spokane, Wash., Command Sgt. Maj. Kreiberg enlisted in the Army in 1983 and continued his military career for the next 35 years, retiring in 2018.

Upon his retirement, Rick founded Veterans Affinity, a nonprofit, IRS Section 501(c)(3) organization that assists elderly veterans find suitable housing, coordinate needed health care, and assist veterans and family members with obtaining their earned Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. His presentation included a PowerPoint showing the operations of Veterans Affinity, followed by a questions and answers session.

Rick emphasized that one of the problems veterans face is that there are some individuals and organizations taking advantage of veterans by charging to help the veteran apply for certain VA benefits when a little research, such as reviewing the veteran’s DD-214 Form, would quickly reveal the veteran is not qualified to receive these benefits. This typically occurs because the veteran’s period of service does not qualify them for these benefits. This is either because the length of active duty was less than 180 days or the period of service was not during a wartime era, such as the Vietnam War Era—Aug. 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975.

Veterans Affinity does not charge to assist veterans but does require the veteran to take an active role in seeking his or her help available from the VA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as other Veterans Service Organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Rick briefly discussed HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), which combines HUD’s voucher rent support with VA’s case management and clinical support.

The March luncheon meeting of the CMC will be held at SaddleBrooke Ranch Grill on Saturday, March 18, at 11:30 a.m. The speaker will be Lisa M. Hopper, the executive director of the Arizona Heroes Memorial. Ms. Hopper was born in Chicago and is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. She received her Bachelor of Science in radiology administration/physics from George Washington University.

The intent of the Arizona Heroes Memorial is to create a space in which to honor and celebrate our heroes while educating future generations about the meaning of service and sacrifice to our country and our community. Young people can learn that liberty and safety are attained through selfless acts of kindness and valor.

If you are a former or present officer of the uniformed services interested in joining our organization, please contact Membership Chair former Lt. j.g. David Bull, U.S. Navy, by email at [email protected] or by telephone at 520-825-0604.

The membership of CMC encompasses the areas of Catalina, Oracle, parts of Marana and Oro Valley, SaddleBrooke, SaddleBrooke Ranch, San Manuel, and Sun City. For additional information, please visit our website

The CMC and MOAA are nonprofit veterans organizations dedicated to maintaining a strong national defense and preserving the earned entitlements of members of the uniformed services and their families.