Since 1929, the national Military Officers Association of America was founded in Los Angeles, California, has advocated for both active service members and veterans. The Hilton Head Area Chapter of the MOAA, which formed in 1982, takes that mission to heart with its strong commitment to community service and veteran care.
The chapter, which boasts more than 200 members and also supports a ladies auxiliary, meets regularly and hosts a number of events and celebrations for veterans. The group has an extensive roster of annual projects and activities that includes placing flags at veterans’ graves in Six Oaks Cemetery, manning a hospitality tent for active-duty personnel at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing golf tournament, and supporting Lt. Dan Week and the Healing Heroes Banquet. The chapter also awards Junior ROTC scholarships, offers financial support for the Fisher House Foundation, supports Operation R&R, provides judges for area science fair programs, and is part of a coalition of local military service organizations that coordinates Hilton Head Island's annual Veterans Day ceremonies. It's a lot of work, but it's all part of giving back, said Dr. Mike Danoff, the Hilton Head chapter’s president.
“My favorite thing about my military service and my involvement with the Hilton Head Area Chapter of the MOAA is having the opportunity to give back to my country that has given me so much,” he said.
Under Danoff's leadership, the chapter has had a rather specific focus: advocating for active-duty and veteran servicemen and women who are not having their medical needs met. As a physician, the issue is near and dear to Danoff, who says the country's leadership can do much better — particularly when it comes to treatment for disorders like PTSD that affect the service members’ ability to reintegrate to civilian life.
“We try to focus on veterans — whether they're active-duty, discharged or retired — who have medical issues that are not being addressed in a timely fashion,” he said. “Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is one issue that's particularly important to me. As a physician, I have learned that our country can do better in terms of recognizing this disorder among service members and expediting their care. Adequate and timely treatment is so badly needed because PTSD compromises veterans' ability to function normally in our society.”
Danoff won't stop until he gets results — and he's taken the issue all the way to Washington, D.C.
“I have gone to Washington's national headquarters to address this issue with a lot of our veteran service organizations to educate them about how we can recognize and treat the complex disorder that is PTSD,” said Danoff. “That's one of our areas of focus because it's so important.”
To learn more about the Military Officers Association of America, call 800-234-6622 or 703-549-2311, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.moaa.org. The MOAA is also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.