BlueRidgeNow — Camp offers fun, support for military kids * July 29, 2016
More than two million children have felt the effects of seeing a parent, or two, deployed with the U.S. military since 9/11, which is where Operation Purple summer camp in Kanuga comes in to play. The week-long camp, known as Operation Purple, is a branch of the National Military Family Association and has been hosted by Camp Bob at Kanuga since 2008 at no cost to the campers or their families.
Fox 23 News — Government wants more data on military members' food stamps * July 21, 2016
Eileen Huck of the National Military Family Association echoed the same concern. "It's really hard to know what to do if you don't know how big the problem is or who is affected by it," Huck said. Farrell recommended the Defense Department start collecting more complete data of all food assistance programs and that it work with the USDA to access its information.
The Huffington Post — Operation Purple Camp: Supporting Veterans, Families, and Kids * July 6, 2016
To combat potential emotional, social, and academic issues, there’s been a massive growth of military family support programs. In 2004, the National Military Family Association (NMFA) founded one such program, Operation Purple® Camp (OPC). Named for the mix of service line colors - Army green, Coast Guard blue, Marine Corps red, and Navy blue - OPC offers children of military families a free week of summer camp. Since its founding in 2004, more than 55,000 military kids have attended the week-long camps across the country. This year alone, more than 2,600 military kids will have the opportunity to go.
Military.com — Push to Ease Licensing for Military Spouses Remains Patchwork by State * July 5, 2016
Despite movement in all 50 states to ease professional licensing regulations for military spouses, rules remain inconsistent and, in most cases, difficult to navigate, military family experts say. "They're not all created equal, and they don't cover every single profession," said Katie Savant a government relations strategist for the National Military Family Association.
Overdrive — Active, retired military eligible for free meal July 4 * July 1, 2016
TA is also encouraging customers to order a meal in support of the National Military Family Association (NMFA), a nonprofit helping military families. Participating Country Pride and Iron Skillet locations will donate $1 to the NMFA for each entree ordered from a select menu from June 28 to Aug. 5.
SpouseBuzz — New Network to Support MilSpouse Mental Health Professionals * June 15, 2016
A new support network from the National Military Family Association and Give An Hour seeks to make professional life a little easier – and a little more impactful – for military spouse mental health professionals. It’s no secret that there’s a mental health provider shortage in the U.S. as a whole, and an even more acute one in the military community, said Ingrid Herrera-Yee, a National Guard spouse, clinical psychologist and founder of Military Spouse Behavioral Health Clinicians (MSBHC). Many military spouses are in the mental health field – and the Defense Department and VA are hurting for mental health providers with a background in the community. But spouses face what Herrera-Yee sees as an unreasonable and unnecessary uphill climb to schooling, licensure and finding work within their own community, where their personal expertise could best be used.
MilitaryTimes — The controversial plan to slash military housing allowance faces opposition * June 5, 2016
“If it isn’t broke, don’t try and fix it,” said Kelly Hruska, government relations director for the National Military Family Association. “The [Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission] looked at this issue last year, and they found the system wasn’t perfect, but it works.”
Military.com — Agency Crafts New Rules to Go After Payday Lenders Who Prey on Troops * June 2, 2016
In a phone interview, Katie Savant, a government relations issues strategist for the National Military Family Association, said that the group was still studying the proposed CFPB rules changes. "We want to make sure that military families have access to credit through responsible lenders" but "we don't want them to get involved with something that could lead them into a cycle of debt," she said.
MarketPlace — Marketplace for Monday, May 30, 2016 * May 30, 2016
On this Memorial Day episode: Military spouse employment, home prices and part of our new podcast "The Uncertain Hour."
CharityNavigator — A Day Dedicated to Our Fallen Soldiers * May 27, 2016
Our fallen soldiers are frequently commemorated by way of parades, local cemetery visits, and family remembrance. Another useful and effective option to honoring our military, is through donating to the many charities who diversely support our troops. 3 and 4-star charities such as the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the National Military Family Association provide scholarships to the surviving spouses of fallen service members. In addition, 4-star charities like Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and Homes for Our Troops provide care for Veterans who are still alive. More than $2.5 billion gets raised annually to the 40,000 plus U.S charities that have military related missions.
New York Times — Veterans Groups Seek a Crackdown on Deceptive Colleges * May 21, 2016
Some of the nation’s largest veterans and military organizations sent letters last week to the Veterans Affairs Department asking it to crack down on colleges that prey on veterans by charging exorbitant fees for degrees that mostly fail to deliver promised skills and jobs. The letters were signed by top officials at the American Legion, the National Military Family Association, the Military Officers Association of America and nearly 20 other groups. They called on the department to improve its oversight of colleges that have engaged in deceptive recruiting and other illicit practices but that continue to receive millions in funding under the G.I. Bill.
MilitaryTimes — 25 military and veterans groups want customers to advise on commissary reform * May 9, 2016
“We don’t believe customer voices are being heard early enough in the process of determining what changes will be made and how they will be made,” said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, one of the organizations that signed the letter. “DoD has been forthcoming about telling associations what they’re doing and what they’re deciding, but that’s after the fact. “What’s needed now is more transparency on how decisions are made, how metrics are being determined and evaluated, sometimes at a higher level than [the Defense Commissary Agency],” Raezer said.
Medium — Stories of #JoiningForces: Celebrating 5 years of Joining Forces * May 2, 2016
I’m 17, and I went to an Operation Purple Camp when I lived in North Carolina while my dad was stationed overseas. We lived right outside of Pope Air Base at the time. The camp helped me so much to realize I wasn’t the only one going through deployment, and that I wasn’t alone. Operation Purple is an amazing thing and every military child should experience it. I still have my bag from camp that I got. –Military Child
Statesman Journal — Camps Ramp up for Summer Fun * April 28, 2016
Operation Purple Camp: A camp for youth in military families, with morning environmental education field studies on the lake, at the river or in the forest, then afternoon recreation including swimming, field games, hikes, arts and crafts, a snack shack and more, plus Oregon’s National Guard will be involved in a military theme day where campers can learn more about what their parents do when they’re away overseas; each evening there will be a full campfire program and two late night activities: a night hike and an outdoor movie under the stars (youth camp) or an all-camp dance (teen camp), June 20-25 (youth camp) and June 26-July 1 (teen week), 33806 North Fork Road SE, Lyons. Free.
Federal News Radio — First NDAA drafts call for pay raise, increased troops * April 20, 2016
“The past three years the pay raise has been lower than the Employment Cost Index (ECI) … in the military it’s spelled out in law that their pay raises would not drop below ECI,” said Kelly Hruska, government relations director for the National Association of Military Families. “Service members include this in their family budgeting.” Hruska said new retirement pay-in requirements and rising TRICARE costs have dipped into service members’ pockets, slimming down the paycheck they see every month. The 2.1 percent increase would be the largest raise for service members in at least three years.
Lincoln Journal Star — Military Family Association recognizes volunteer Radke * April 20, 2016
Since 2006, Radke has dedicated his time and efforts helping military families in Nebraska. As an outreach specialist, he hosts information tables, attends meetings, and networks with community groups to educate them about NMFA. In addition to his outreach to families in Nebraska, he has served as a member of the Volunteer Services Advisory Committee and represented the Volunteer Corps on our Board of Governors.
Military.com — Tricare to Let Military Families Get Urgent Care Without Preapproval * April 12, 2016
Officials with the National Military Family Association said they are pleased with the pilot roll-out but wish it included more allowed non-referral visits. "We don’t oppose a cap, but we believe a cap should’ve been higher," said Karen Ruedisueli, deputy director of government relations for NMFA. There are many legitimate reasons why people might have to have more than two urgent care visits. If they had had a higher cap, let’s say six or eight a year, it would’ve really allowed them to see how much suppressed demand is out there."
MilitaryTimes — Study: Families experience generally few long-term effects from deployment * April 11, 2016
"My biggest take-away from this whole study is that it was done several years too late," said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. "Rand is quick to admit — multiple times — that the bulk of the long, more intense deployments were over before they could get through all the approval processes and actually begin to field the study. "That's such a shame and should be a lesson to DoD for the future. There should be ongoing longitudinal research being conducted so that we have a good baseline of data about how military families are doing."
Stars and Stripes — Graham: Open federal civilian health plans to Guard and reserves * March 10, 2016
“We surveyed more than 6,100 military spouses in December and January,” Raezer said. “Nearly 30 percent of those who use military treatment facilities reported they rarely or never get an acute-care appointment within the 24-hour access standard.” Tricare reforms proposed in the fiscal 2017 defense budget call for higher fees and co-pays, particularly on working-age retirees and their families, but are short on details for improving benefits delivery, Raezer said. “Continuing to recapture care in military hospitals, already failing to provide timely, appropriate access to current enrollees, will neither improve patient satisfaction nor comprehensively address readiness needs,” she said.
MilitaryTimes — Commissary agency spends nearly $4 million on cost-cutting studies * March 4, 2016
“We do understand these studies were congressionally mandated. We’re willing to concede it might be worthwhile to look at ways to be more efficient,” said Eileen Huck, deputy government relations director at the National Military Family Association. “At the same time, these studies do cost money. It’s regrettable that the Defense Commissary Agency is having to spend money on something that has no value to shoppers,” she said.