April marks the beginning of FRA’s new membership year and FRA Today is taking this opportunity to acknowledge our storied past and look ahead to our future. In addition to our “History & Heritage” section about the achievements of our great organization, our recruiting theme for this year is “Celebrate 90 Years of FRA.” If you sponsor three new or reinstated shipmates (between April 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015), you’ll receive an incentive pin featuring our 90th anniversary logo. You’ll also qualify for additional recruiting rewards with each new shipmate you sponsor to be part of the FRA. Be sure to check out the details on page 16.
Also, in an effort to position FRA for the future, plans are underway to make some significant capital improvements to your FRA National Headquarters (NHQ). The general plan is to consolidate FRA operations from three to two floors of the building in order to update and optimize the use of space within the structure. The first floor space will be reconfigured to house FRA’s museum, conference room and mail room, while the second floor will be used as office space for the majority of NHQ staff members. The third floor will be made available for lease to an outside entity, making this valuable FRA asset a source of revenue for years to come. This is a major endeavor that will require NHQ staff to temporarily relocate their work spaces within the building during construction, but we are committed to providing continued customer service from all departments. We’ll be including regular updates on this project in future issues of FRA Today and on our Facebook page (www.fra.org/fb), so be sure to check out the progress regularly.
Scholarship Application Deadline Approaching
It’s not too late to apply for FRA Education Foundation scholarships—the deadline is April 15. All college-bound students who have an affiliation with the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard are encouraged to apply. Eligible candidates are invited to submit applications for academic awards of up to $5,000 before April 15, 2014. Applications and eligibility criteria are available online at www.fra.org/foundation.
The FRA Education Foundation provides academic scholarships to deserving students based on financial need, academic standing, and demonstrated leadership qualities. The Foundation was a Combined Federal Campaign-authorized charity for the first time in 2012 and partners with military and education professionals to promote lifelong learning opportunities that help scholars reach their educational, professional, and personal goals.
Lauren Armstrong is FRA’s Director of Communications and serves as the Managing Editor of FRA Today. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Return to Table of Contents
FROM THE FANTAIL
Happy Spring to All Shipmates!
I’m very happy to say “Welcome Aboard” to all of our Navy Career Center Recruiters (previously called Navy Recruiting Stations), as they all have copies of FRA Today being sent to them. Remember our preamble tells us to, “be ever mindful of the glorious traditions, to assist in obtaining the best type of personnel for our Sea Services.” We are working to expand our exposure to new outlets, in an effort to raise awareness of our great work, our meaningful traditions and our vision for moving forward.
As I attend a wide variety of conferences, hearings, meetings with members of Congress and with their staffs, I continue to be amazed at the many facets of FRA’s legislative work. With all the military and government acronyms, overlapping legislative initiatives and changing bill numbers, it can get a little confusing. I often ask for clarification or for things to be phrased in “laymen’s language,” because I know if it’s confusing to me, I imagine it must be doubly so for some of our shipmates and others who don’t deal with these issues on a daily basis.
That’s where FRA comes in: As it’s been for 90 years, it’s our mission to ensure our members understand the legislative and policy threats to their earned benefits and that lawmakers understand the impact those threats will have on service members, retirees, veterans, family members and survivors. Our very competent Legislative and Communications Teams work hard to sift through all the intricacies and confusion, and present information to you in a more sane, more understandable form.
We ask you, shipmates, to contribute at your end by staying abreast of the issues and communicating your concerns about these legislative threats to your elected officials. FRA Today and our weekly e-mail update, NewsBytes, are great resources for learning about the issues that concern you. Phone calls, branch letter campaigns, town hall meetings, or e-mail messages sent through the FRA Action Center (at action.fra.org) are all ways you can make your views known. Help us help you by getting out there and making sure legislators know the effect these benefit reductions will have, not only on you and your family, but also the impact on military recruiting, retention and overall readiness.
We have a great opportunity to reach a broader audience by being involved in our local communities. For example, a new elementary school is being built across the street from our National Headquarters (NHQ) and I will be making a personal visit there in the coming weeks to see what kind of partnerships we might develop with the staff and students. These and other partnerships raise awareness within communities and help others understand who we are, what we do and why our work is important.
The focus of this month’s feature story is our upcoming national convention in Corpus Christi. The Convention Committee is already hard at work to organize a fun, productive, educational and rewarding convention. The NHQ staff and I are looking forward to seeing as many shipmates and Auxiliary members as possible at this event.
Plans for the upcoming capital improvements to our NHQ building are progressing nicely. Our staff has done tremendous work to consolidate operations to the top floor of the structure and we expect to begin demolition work this month. We look forward to sharing regular updates on the improvements to YOUR Headquarters in the months to come.
So, even though congressional efforts seem to forecast gloom and doom, we are making strides in cooperative measures with our Military Coalition members, building outreach efforts to share the FRA story and positioning our organization for the future. I ask all shipmates to do the following: Bring in a new or former shipmate; tell our story in your communities, and then let YOUR voice be heard by your congressional leaders in your districts and states. I assure you this NED has, and know each shipmate can do the same; it’s a total commitment. We can do it, and starting tomorrow, make that aggressive step to “move forward” in all three areas. “Gloom and doom” isn’t inevitable; it’s only a consequence if we don’t do something to prevent it.
Shipmates, PRESS ON!
Tom Snee is FRA’s National Executive Director. Return to Table of Contents