The Department of Minnesota ROA is comprised of officers and noncommissioned officers from all branches of the service from locations all over Minnesota and throughout the country. Please stop by a meeting and check us out, or contact one of the officers listed to the right. We look forward to all future or prospective members to join us.
2019 Annual Convention Summary
The Department of Minnesota Reserve Officers Association convention was called to order by President Paul Groskreutz at 1810 hours with an introduction of our speaker, LCDR Jennifer Franco, who provided a virtual presentation on The Veteran’s History Project. This project is under the auspices of the Library of Congress, with an emphasis on video content, to archive records, highlight Reserve-specific contributions, and foster a stronger sense of community among Reservists across the services. Personal stories can assist in moving legislation of importance to Reservists. Go to the website www.loc.gov/vets/kit.html for instructions and online submission of information.
Report on the Major Dan Anderson Freedom Fund, including a revised constitution and bylaws, approved by members of the board present. LtCol Jones is requested to define a process for applying for funds—procedure and criteria. Col Marilyn Chambers and LtCol Cleo Bonham volunteered to assist.
National Councilman’s Report: CAPT John Mueller: National Leader’s meeting held in Washington, D.C., in Mar 2019, and included “march on the hill” to visit members of Congress—this year met with staffers as Congress was not in session. CAPT Mueller visited the offices of 9 of our 10 Congress members and presented information on ROA legislative priorities. The ROA magazine will resume with one issue to come out in late 2019. The name of the building is to remain the same. Legislative liaison is LtCol Susan Lukas who now has an assistant. Legislative priorities include veteran’s status for hiring priority—180 total days vs consecutive days; the need for a DD-214-type process documenting service and awards following deployments, for benefits; compensation and medical care for exposure to hazardous substances; tax laws and the military; difficulties with the fact that deployments can involve one or more of 48 different types of status. Current legislative priorities are listed on the ROA website.
Chapter Reports: St. Paul Chapter meets monthly, second Tuesday, at the Richfield American Legion Post Flying Viking Chapter VP LtCol Gia Wilson-Mackey talked about recruiting new, younger members, on base. Example of survey being used to increase member engagement. Asking older members to come in and speak to units at Commanders Calls—meet commanders, members—to describe the benefits of ROA. Working issue of post-deployment “down-time”. LA Haen: Craig Lukow: still meets twice a year. The summer party was 8 Jun 2019.
Old Business: Reinstitution of the newsletter, On the ROAd, is still a goal. We need an editor. To be sent electronically, if possible, and by postal mail as needed. ROA is now an all-ranks organization with regular and associate membership options.
New Business: ROAL is being absorbed into ROA as full members. These members will become part of ROA and continue to offer family support programs, such as STARS School Kits. A celebration of 70 years of service to military families will be held at the national convention in Des Moines in Sep.
Paul Groskreutz, Department President
2018 Annual Convention Summary
I’d like to give you a summary of this year’s Department of Minnesota Convention. And it is about time I finishing writing it. Again this year there was an increase in the number of ROA members attending the convention. Thank you to the 30 members who took time out of your busy calendars to attend.
The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and a meal from Fat Lorenzo’s. Then it was on to business. Here are the “high lights” of it. The minutes of the 2017 convention were approved. Col Thom Weddle, Department Treasurer, reported that the Department had received membership rebates from National for life and recurring memberships and that the appropriate disbursements were made to the three chapters. Thom reported there were only two expenses during the year; our membership in the United Veterans Legislative Council and the parcel reimbursement of expenses for the National Councilman to attend the Senior Leaders Meeting in March.
CAPT John and Mueller and I had attended the Senior Leaders Meeting in DC. The following items were passed onto the attendees:
- National Convention will be in Omaha, NB the last week of September.
- Expect a revision in membership criteria to include all ranks to be on the floor.
- Executive Director Jeff Phillips has been invited to periodically write an article for the publication The Hill.
- The Army Section will elect the next ROA President Elect, currently there are two candidates: Col Judi Davenport and LTC Dr. Milt Houghton. (We need at least one Army member to attend the National Convention so we can participate in the decision.)
- The ED challenged all departments to consider sharing the recently received membership rebates with National and return some of the money. The membership voted to return 10% and to further challenge the three chapters to do likewise. This challenge was accepted.
The members then approved revisions in the Department Constitution. The Board had earlier approved revisions in the By Laws. The revised documents can be found elsewhere on our website.
I reported that CIOR and CIOMR will hold its annual Congress in Quebec City, Canada the first week of August. It’s a great opportunity to experience a Congress without having to fly to Europe. All information is available at: roa.org.
The current board members were elected to serve yet another year. Most have been serving for the six years that I have been your President. We need more of you to volunteer to serve. I have set two new objectives for the next year: 1 – to find a volunteer to be the newsletter editor and 2 – to find a volunteer to lead our Membership efforts. If you would consider either of these positions please respond to this website.
Presentation of Honorary Membership to Congressman Tim Walz
U.S. Congressman Tim Walz, who represents Minnesota’s 1st District, receives an honorary Dept. of Minnesota ROA Membership on March 15, 2016 from CAPT John Mueller, USN (Ret) in recognition of his ongoing support in Congress to U.S. service members and veterans. The honorary ROA membership was given near Congressman Walz’s Washington DC office during the 13 – 15 March ROA National Leader’s Conference. This was given in recognition of his 24 years of dedicated service in the Army National Guard, his ongoing support for our active and reserve service members, and his tireless work on behalf of our veterans.
Last year the 34th Infantry Brigade, MN National Guard was preparing to deploy to the Sinai in support of the United Nations Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO). This mission is considered a Peace Keeping Mission and the Sinai, Egypt is not considered a combat zone.
When the ROA Department of Minnesota board learned of this, they did some fact finding. What we learned was that the Army was relying on the National Guard to fulfill this mission. The 34th was just the latest in the rotation. What we also learned was that since the Sinai was not a combat zone, guard members would not receive combat pay, educational benefits or Federal Tax exemption for this deployment.
The Sinai MFO mission currently faces increased ISIS and other militant group threats. Mortar attacks, direct fire and IEDs are nearly daily occurrences. The Sinai was not considered hazardous while places like Qatar and Kuwait are designated combat zones.
The board authored a resolution asking that the President or the Chief of Staff of the Army designate the Sinai, Egypt as combat zone. This resolution was supported by the Departments of Missouri and Georgia. The resolution was adopted during the 2016 ROA National Convention in Reno, NV.
Currently HR 1384, Reserve Compensation Benefits Parity bill is working its way through the House of Representatives. Congressman Tim Walz, 1st district, is a co-sponsor.
The Department of MN has quarterly meeting to discuss past and current business. With the recent reduction in hours of the 934th Airlift Wing's Services Club, a new location and time for meeting is being determined. Officers and noncommissioned officers from all branches of service are encouraged to attend. As dates and locations are set, this page will be updated.