NARFE - Chapter 1594
~~~~ Welcome to San Antonio Chapter 1594 ~~~~

2021 CHAPTER OFFICERS

 

PRESIDENT:  GERRY RENDON

1st VICE PRESIDENT:  AL DREUMONT

2nd VICE PRESIDENT:  SHIRLEY SWIFT

TREASURER:  SANTA MARIA JONES

SECRETARY:  CHRISTINE A. CUELLAR

Passing of Former Chapter President Joyce Zerr

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Our beloved Chapter Chaplain, Joyce Zerr, passed away the 26th of April 2020.  Joyce Zerr was our good friend as well as an active Chapter member.   She always had a smile and a kind word. We will always have her in our thoughts and prayers and we are thankful for the time we were able to enjoy her friendship.

NARFE Chapter 1594 was established the 16th of June 1978 and Joyce joined it on the 27th of January 2003.  She served as current Chapter Chaplain and formerly was the Chapter's Public Relations Officer, President (1 January 2012 to 31 December 2018) and Secretary.  As Public Relations Officer she submitted monthly articles to the Southside Reporter about the Chapter activities and NARFE.  As President she was responsible for coordinating several successful District 12 Conventions which were hosted by the Chapter.  In June 2018 she planned the celebration lunch for the Chapter’s 40th Anniversary.  Her dedication to the Chapter and NARFE can be highlighted by her performance in all activities.

A viewing is set for the Quinn Funeral Home in Hondo TX Monday, May 4th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  There is a limit to 10 people in the room at one time and anyone can come; however, they will just have to cycle in and out after a while.  The funeral itself is set for Tuesday, May 5th, services at 10:00 a.m.  Services also limited to 10 followed by a burial at the D'Hanis cemetary that will also be limited to 10 people.  We do plan to have a memorial at her church in the future where all her friends and relatives will be welcome.  Because of current restrictions, the funeral and service is by request, or invitation only.  All are welcome to the visitation.

February Meeting Minutes

Meeting called to order at 12:30 pm by President Gerry Rendon. Invocation led by Elevia Gant. Pledge of Allegiance led by Gerry Rendon.

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Bruce Ashton with the Rail Passengers Association gave a presentation on traveling via train

Twenty-eight members were present. Guest speaker Bruce Ashton from the Rail Passengers Association presented a slide show about traveling on Amtrak trains. This included destinations, travel deals, discounts for seniors and military and his experience traveling on these trains. Reservations can be made on-line at Amtrak.com or calling 800-872-7245.

Members having birthdays in February were Ida Arrambide, Connie Bedock, Jovita Durand, Elevia Gant, Renee Harris, and Shirley Swift.

Officer and Committee Reports:

       a. Membership: Connie Bedock reported that membership is 121. Also, Joyce Zerr is in the hospital. She had back surgery. Her address was given to members if they want to send her a card. Connie sent one from the chapter.

       b. Treasurer’s Report: Two Chapter members audited the final report from Margarita Hernandez. Reports are closed and new treasurer Santa Maria Jones can take over her assignment.

       c. Secretary Christine Cuellar was absent her reports will be submitted at next meeting.

       d. Legislative Report: Shirley Swift gave each member a paper copy.

       e. Service Officer: Sandy Vogel reminded that all members should now have their income tax information for filing 2019 taxes.

       f. NARFE PAC Chair David Cuellar was absent but Gerry Rendon reminded how important the PAC contributions are and how they are distributed in congress. Also, members should contact their congressmen and voice their opinions on important subjects.

January Regular Meeting

Meeting was held at Brookhill Baptist Church. Gerry Rendon called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. Invocation was led by Shirley Rushfeldt followed by pledge of allegiance by David Cuellar. Special guest to the meeting was Attorney Todd Marquardt, Marquardt Law Firm, P.C., Business and Estate Law. After introduction of special guest, member birthdays were announced. Birthdays in January were Juan Ballin, Kathyrn Click, Beryl Parker, Ricardo Salmon, Amelia Sanchez, and Joyce Zerr. 

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L-R:  1st Vice-President Al Dreumont presentating Attorney Todd Marquardt with a small gift in appreciation for his presentation to Chapter members on Trusts, Wills and Protecting Assets

 

Speaker Attorney Todd Marquardt gave a very informative briefing on wills, trusts, and protecting assets. He urged everyone to leave a will in order to avoid leaving problems for the loved ones you leave behind. 

Officer and Committee Reports:

  1. Membership:  Connie Bedock reported membership at 125.
  2. Treasurer’s Report:  Margarita Hernandez reported $2,709.79 in the bank with $477.44 in checking and $2,232.35 in savings.
  3. Secretary’s:  Christine Cuellar reports to be presented at February meeting.
  4. Legislative: Shirley Swift had nothing to report.
  5. Service Officer:  Sandy Vogel had nothing to report.
  6. NARFE PAC:  David Cuellar had nothing to report.

Items of Interest discussed were a final 3.1% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for active Federal employees for 2020 (2.6% across the board and .5% to locality) and a 1.6% for Federal annuitants and Social Security recipients. Executive committee meeting was also scheduled for February 12th.

Old Business discussed was the Chapter stopped paying for new memberships effective December 31st, 2019 and that Gerry Rendon was working on posting events calendar on the webpage.

December Regular Meeting

Meeting was held at the Golden Corral at 1025 SE Military Drive. Gerry Rendon called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m. Invocation was led by Elevia Gant followed by pledge of allegiance by David Cuellar. Forty-six members were in attendance. After the pledge, there was a moment of silence to honor members lost during 2019. Gerry Rendon introduced guest speakers Dr. John Creswell, Texas Federation President; Dorothy Creswell, New Braunfels TX Chapter 0672 President, NARFE Configuration Advisory Board Chair, and Region VI Representative (TX); and Carol Wetz, Texas Federation District 12 Representative.

After introduction of guests, member birthdays and anniversaries were announced. Birthdays in December were Shirley Click, Marva Gary, Steve Guzman, Santa Maria Jones, Richard Weber and Rosie Yznaga while Lynda and Steve Guzman celebrated their anniversary.

First speaker was Dr. John Creswell who highlighted issues and events that occurred across Texas. Second speaker was Mrs. Dorothy Creswell. She provided an update on AMS and requested members having problems while using the application to report them to her so she could forward to the contractor to have them fixed. Third speaker was Mrs. Carol Wetz who gave the newly elected 2020 officers the oath of office. Newly elected officers receiving oath were Gerry Rendon – President, Al Dreumont – 1st Vice President, Shirley Swift – 2nd Vice President, Christine Cuellar – Secretary, and Santa Maria Jones – Treasurer.

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Pictured L-R:  Jovita Durand, Al Dreumont, Gerry Rendon and Shirley Swift were recognized for recruiting new members during July - December timeframe

Mr. Rendon recognized 90+ year old members Earl Harris, Exia Duke, Elevia Gant, Berry Parker and David Cuellar with a gift. He also recognized Margarita Hernandez (Treasurer) and Mary and Ricardo Salmon (Social Committee) with gift cards for their excellent support to the Chapter during 2019. $25 gift cards were also presented to Al Dreumont, Jovita Durand, Shirley Swift and Gerry Rendon for their recruitment efforts during the July – December 2019 time period. Appointed and Volunteer Officers were also recognized for their new assignments.

Mr. Rendon chose to forgo December’s monthly reports until January 2020.

Items of Interest discussed were CFC and COLA’s. Members advised contributions to CFC was open through January 12, 2020. Federal annuitants and Social Security recipients were receiving a 1.6% cost of living adjustment for 2020 while active civil servants could expect a 2.6% increase.

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Members at the December Meeting/Luncheon at the Golden Corral Restaurant

 

November Regular Meeting

Chapter President Gerry Rendon welcomed all members and introduced guests Sandra Gallagher with Humana Healthcare, Sandy Esquivel with Aetna and Kim Fletcher and Melissa Santoya with Blue Cross/ Blue Shield. After a prayer and pledge of allegiance, he congratulated members celebrating birthdays. Four members celebrated birthdays: Bonnie Herndon, Nora Perez, Lanita Perry and Theresa Sanchez.

Chapter veterans were honored with a gift and thanked for their service. Chapter veterans are Keith Click, David A. Cuellar, David N. Cuellar, Al Dreumont, Fred Eddie, Guadalupe Flores, Jesse Gorden, Steve Guzman, Earl Harris, Margarita Hernandez, Henrietta Horton, Billie McLaughlin, Maria Montes, Connie Jo Popham, Martin Solis, Lawrence Spencer, Melvin Thiel and Richard Weber.

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Chapter 1594 Veterans from L-R:  Al Dreumont, Martin Solis, Melvin Thiel, David Cuellar, Margarita Hernandez & Connie Jo Popham

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Chapter President Gerry Rendon presented (from L-R) Sandra Gallagher, Sandy Esquivel, Kim Fletcher and Melissa Santoya a small gift in appreciation for the information provided to Chapter members during the November Healthfair

During the Healthcare representatives discussions on changes for 2020, they mentioned benefits didn’t change much from last year. Blue Cross/Blue Shield representatives stated increases in the reimbursement amount for the Basic Option members who pay Medicare Part B premiums increased from $600 to $800. You must provide proof you paid 2020 Medicare Part B premiums to receive this benefit. 

Officer/Committee Reports:

  • Membership Report for October – 120 members
  • Treasurer’s Report for October – Account balance is $2,901.01.   Checking account balance of $419.23 and saving account $2,481.78.
  • Secretary’s Minutes for October – No corrections noted.

Item of Interest:

  • Reminder the 2019 Combined Federal Campaign official solicitation period runs through January 12, 2020. To pledge online, go to https://cfcgiving.opm.gov/welcome to setup an account and donate.
  • New health insurance premiums rates listed in the November NARFE magazine were listed incorrectly for some carriers. Correct rates will be posted on the eNARFE magazine soon.
October Regular Meeting

Chapter President Gerry Rendon called meeting to order. Invocation was led by Public Relations Officer Joyce Zerr followed by pledge of allegiance by PAC Chair David Cuellar. Members and guests were welcomed. Shirley Swift introduced her friend Harriet Shockley who is a member of NARFE National. Ms. Shockley gave a report on her work experience as a Federal employee. There were 17 members in attendance.

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L-R:  Santa Maria Jones presented Beth Dietert, CFC Area Coordinator, a Chapter "Thank You" mug in Appreciation for her visit to brief members on CFC

President Gerry Rendon introduced guest speaker, Beth Dietert, who is the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Area Coordinator. She works for the Penn Good Corporation, which has been contracted by the Office of Personnel Management, to handle CFC donations. Retired Federal employees are now able to make donations to CFC. CFC is the largest combined charity originated by President John F. Kennedy. All charities in the CFC have been vetted before becoming a CFC member. Retirees can now make a one-time donation or can have donations deducted from their annuities. The CFC charities support families, educational needs, etc. The Chapter members shared what they care about. There are charities that support what members care about. Ms. Dietert was available throughout the meeting to help members with their selections and donation process. Contact information provided: Website – cfcgiving.opm.gov, and by mail at CFC Processing Center, PO Box 7820, Madison, Wisconsin, 53707-7820.

October Birthdays and Anniversaries: Birthdays – Elsa Castillo, David Cuellar (90 years old), Johnnie Davies, Carmen Dreumont, Jesse Gorden, Joyce Gorden, Annette Ivy, Gerry Rendon, and Adolph Trevino. No anniversaries in October.

Walk to End Alzheimer's in New Braunfels October 12, 2019
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NARFE Chapter 0672 Team Members L-R:  Dr. John Creswell, Teri Vukson, Gail Doerr, Gerry Rendon, Dorothy Creswell, Jaye Rendon Zongker, Tommie Reyes, Rosa Rendon Rodriguez, Idalia Rendon Hagamon and Santa Jones
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NARFE Team 0672 Team Members at Start Line L-R:  Roxann Soto-Serna, Gerry Rendon, Idalia Rendon Hagamon, Tommie Reyes, Santa Jones, Jaye Rendon Zongker, Jesus A. Rendon, Rosa Rendon Rodriguez, Judith Rendon and Zenieda Guerra
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NARFE Chapter 0672 Team Members at Finish Line L-R:  Rosa Rendon Rodriguez, Idalia Rendon Hagamon, Jaye Rendon Zongker, Mr. Vukson, Zenieda Guerra, Terri Vukson, Roxann Soto-Serna and Dorothy Creswell
October 2019 Executive Committee Meeting

Meeting was called to order at 12:09 a.m. by President Gerry Rendon and after a prayer by Joyce Zerr, members took break for lunch.

Members present were Gerry Rendon, Al Dreumont, Shirley Swift, Margarita Hernandez, Shirley Click, Sandy Vogel, Connie Bedock and Joyce Zerr.

Membership report by Connie Bedock included the chapter has 122 members. New member as of this month is Amelia Sanchez.

Margarita Hernandez presented the treasurer’s report. As of September 30, 2019, the savings account balance is $2,481.57, and the checking account is $260.87.

Mr. Rendon reported under Items of Interest that NARFE was recognized by the Alamo Federal Executive Board (AFEB) as the second runner-up for the annual summer “Feds Feed Families” food drive at the October 1st meeting of the full board.  NARFE chapters donated $828 to this cause. 

Old Business included:

    a.  Executive Committee proposes ending the payment of the $40 annual membership fee for any new active and retired federal employee joining the Chapter effective December 31st, 2019.

    b.  The New Braunfels Walk to End Alzheimer’s (W2EA) will take place October 12th, 2019. Gerry Rendon has received $1,147 in donations so far for this event and Santa Jones $200. A sincere thanks for all who donated to this cause.

    c.  The Chapter’s Bylaws have been updated and approved by members and are awaiting signature by Chapter Secretary Christine Cuellar before they can be mailed to HQ for approval. Once approved, this item will be closed.

    d.  NARFE membership will run from September 1st – December 31st. Recruit new member and get $10 and chance to win monthly prizes, plus a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 10. Your membership number must be on new member applications to qualify for prizes.

New Business included:

    a.  The 2020 Chapter Calendar is being prepared. Need member input on subject matter they would like speakers to cover in 2020.

    b.  Chapter will be honoring its veterans at the November meeting. We have 16 veterans however 10 usually attend. We will have cake and Joyce Zerr will be decorating the room in their honor. We will also honor our deceased members. This will be done with display board listing all the deceased members.

    c.  Executive Committee proposes having the Christmas Luncheon once again at the Golden Corral at 1025 SE Military Drive. The facility has been reserved for our December 11th luncheon/meeting and Mr. Rendon is working with the manager on the cost per individual.

    d.  Executive Committee proposes honoring its 90+ year old members at the December luncheon. We have eight that are 90+ but 5 usually come to the meetings. Recommend giving our 90+ members present at luncheon a coffee mug with old Chapter logo. Margarita Hernandez will be paying for their lunch at Golden Corral.

    e.  Our Treasurer (Margarita Hernandez) and Social Committee (Mary and Ricardo Salmon) have decided not to continue performing their present duties in 2020. We thank them for a job well done and pray others will step up to assume their roles.

September 2019 Regular Meeting
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Michael Collins, Independent Advisor with Simple Senior Benefits, briefing members on Medicare

Meeting called to order by President Gerry Rendon, at 12:35 p.m.  Invocation led by Chapter Chaplain Elevia Gant.   Pledge of Allegiance led by Chapter PAC Chair David Cuellar.

Members and guests were welcomed.  Newly recruited member Amelia Sanchez was welcomed by the 25 members in attendance.

September Birthdays acknowledged were:  Fred Eddie, Isabel Cuellar, Guadalupe Flores, Harry Kilgore and Helen Rodriguez.

September Anniversaries were:  Theresa and Eduardo Sanchez 57 years and Renee and Dan Harris 12 years.

Program speaker was Michael Collins, Independent Advisor with Simple Senior Benefits who explained how Medicare originated and how it operates. He talked about eligibility, supplements, cost to members and all the information required by eligible recipients. Information is also available on their website: www.simpleseniorbenefits.org.

After the break President Rendon reminded members to vote on the proposed bylaws and standing rules amendments which are available for review in the September 2019 NARFE Magazine. Ballots must be received at Election Services Co. by 11:59 p.m. ET on September 30, 2019. You may also vote electronically from an email account.

Membership report by Connie Bedock included the chapter has 121 members. New members as of this month are Terry Curtin, Guillermo Olvera and Santa Maria Jones. Cards were sent to Lanita Perry whose husband passed away. Birthday cards were sent to Adeline McAdams 95 years old and Lawrence Spencer 85 years old. An anniversary card was sent to Joyce and Jesse Gorden for their 67th anniversary. Also, Joe Glawson who was a founding chapter member passed away in June. He was 97 years old and the last of the original founders. The chapter honored him at the 40th Anniversary in June 2018.

August 2019 Regular Meeting

Chapter President Gerry Rendon welcomed all members and introduced guests. He welcomed new member Santa Maria Jones to the Chapter. After a prayer and pledge of allegiance, he congratulated members celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Six members celebrated birthdays: Frances Marthijoni, Lawrence Spencer, Mary Kilgore, Lynda Guzman, Adeline McAdams, and Connie Jo Popham. Jesse and Joyce Gorden celebrated their 67th anniversary.

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Sam Pantoja being presented a gift by Gerry Rendon in appreciation for his visit to update members of Senate and House bills under review in Washington

Speaker for month of August was Mr. Sam Pantoja Jr., NARFE-PAC Coordinator and TF National Legislative Officer. He spoke of the 116th Congress Legislation affecting the Federal community.  In particular, he addressed:

  1.      1.  GPO/WEP (H.R. 141/S. 521: Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH). H.R. 141/S. 521 repeals the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). They have been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance.
  2. GPO/WEP (H.R. 3934: Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2019 sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX). H.R. 3934 provides a $100 rebate ($50 for surviving spouses) to those first eligible for benefits before 2022 (ages 60 and older in 2019).  WEP affected individuals eligible for benefits from 2022 to 2060 (ages 21 to 59 in 2019) would be subject to either a new formula created by the bill or the current WEP formula, whichever is more beneficial. Those eligible for benefits in 2061 (age 20 and under in 2019) would be subject to the new formula.  This has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
  3. COLAs (H.R. 1553: Fair COLA for Seniors Act of 2019 sponsored by Rep. John Garamendi, D-CA). H.R. 1553 requires Social Security and federal retirement programs to use the Consumer Price Index for Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to retirement benefits.  This has been referred to the House Committee Ways and Means, Veterans’ Affairs, Oversight and Reform, and Armed Forces.

Mr. Pantoja also added that when you’re contacting a congressman to ask for his/her support of a House or Senate bill, to be prepared with what you are going to say.  He recommended you first identify yourself, secondly let him/her know where you are calling from to include your zip code, thirdly what did you work on while a civil servant and length of your career, and finally how this bill will benefit you.

July 2019 Regular Minutes

Chapter President Gerry Rendon welcomed all members and introduced guests. After a prayer and pledge of allegiance, he congratulated members having birthdays and anniversaries. Only one birthday in July – Rita Horton while Lupe and Stella Flores celebrated their anniversary.

Items of interests discussed: BC/BS will remain an in-network provider with Methodist Hospital System, Federal Trade Commission warns that criminals are pretending to be from the government in order to scam people out of money and personal information, House of Representatives approved a 3.1% raise for 2020 for active Federal employees and it now goes to the Senate for consideration, and page 3 of the agenda is a list of White House and Texas Congressional Representatives contact information. Also, the NARFE toll-free to Washington.

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Philip Cortez, State Representative for District 117, Updating Members on House Bills He Introduced in the State Legislature

1st speaker Philip Cortez, State Representative for District 117, spoke to the members about the 86th legislative session and bills passed. A handout was passed out listing bills introduced by him and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. These included $140.9 million for Adult Protective Services to ensure senior citizens are better protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation. For Veterans, HB 1351 was introduced to protect the data of veterans and their families.   Other bills covered school safety and public health, specifically regarding the availability of epinephrine auto-inject pens. Other bills covering jobs and elections were listed in the handout. He was presented with a Chapter 1594 gift mug by 1st VP Al Dreumont in appreciation for his visit.

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Jon Arnold, Special Projects Manager for Representative Will Hurd, discussing House Bills Congressman Hurd Introduced in the House of Representatives

2nd speaker Jon Arnold, Special Projects Manager for Representative Will Hurd, spoke to the members. He thanked Mr. Cortez for his efforts on behalf of veterans, especially at the state level, which impacts the national level. Mr. Arnold discussed that there are 8,000 Federal employees in Mr. Hurd’s district with 175,000 in Texas. Mr. Hurd has focused on Social Security and health issues. He has opposed Medicare cuts and has fought to protect these rights. He also voted for legislation to reopen the government during the last shutdown. He co-sponsored a bill, USPS Fairness Act, which repealed the requirement of USPS personnel to pre-pay for their retirement benefits. Other items included changing the COLA for the elderly to CPI for the elderly. Mr. Arnold discussed Mr. Hurd’s recent voting trend which shows a departure from straight line party voting. Mr. Arnold also was presented with a Chapter 1594 gift mug by Ms. Rita Horton in appreciation for his visit.

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Jon Arnold being presented by a Coffee Mug by Ms. Rita Horton at July  Meeting

Connie Bedock, Membership Chair, reported Chapter has 116 members and mentioned a “Get Well” card was sent to Jovita Durand who was hospitalized with kidney concerns. Mr. Gamboa joined our chapter last month.

Margarita Hernandez, Treasurer, reported the Chapter had $2,829.54 in checking and savings for May 2019. For June 2019, there was a balance of $2790.44 for checking and savings.

Christine Cuellar circulated minutes for May and June, no changes noted.

David Cuellar, NARFE/PAC Chair, reported he received $405.00 this year to date. Our Chapter does not include monies sent directly to National.

Shirley Swift, Legislative Chair, circulated her report. She reminded the members it only costs $3.33 per month to become a member. Also, August is NARFE’s Grassroots Advocacy Month. The House approved paid family leave for Federal employees. The House has blocked OPM’s reorganization plan a second time. This is to stop it from being placed under the Executive Office. 

June 2019 Regular Meeting
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Head Table at June Luncheon
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Attendees at Luncheon
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Attendees at Luncheon

Chapter President Gerry Rendon welcomed all members and introduced new members and guests then invited everyone to enjoy their buffet meal.

A short meeting was called, starting with the birthday and anniversary announcements.  Birthdays:  Jane Garcia, Georgia Lindinger, Earl Harris, Ofelia Olivares and Dolores Rutledge.  Anniversaries:  David and Isabel Cuellar and Al and Carmen Dreumont.

Items of Interest:

    a.  NARFE Advocacy Take Action - shows support for a modest pay increase in 2020, supports the Equal COLA Act in 2019, supports the FAIR Act of 2019, supports the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, supports the Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 and supports the Fair COLA for Seniors Act of 2019.  On NARFE website, select "NARFE Advocacy" tab to access.

    b.  OPM Services On-line - OPM security requires accounts to be deactivated after 15 months on inactivity.  If you have not logged on in the past 13 months, log on within the next 60 days to prevent being deactivated.

May 2019 Regular Meeting
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1st Vice President Al Dreumont answering questions on his Hurricane Season presentation

NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees) Chapter 1594 met at Brookhill Baptist Church, 631 Utopia, at the regularly scheduled meeting, which is every third Wednesday of the month.

The 24 members in attendance were enthralled by the presentation about hurricanes, from our speaker, Al Dreumont. He is our Chapter’s First Vice President.  He had 38 years of experience with the National Weather Service, before retiring.  He showed dramatic pictures of hurricanes.  The first pictures of hurricanes were made possible by use of polar orbiting satellites in 1970.  Pictures taken now are sharper with advances in satellite photography technology.  Hurricane seasons run from June 1st through November 30th on the Atlantic side and from May 15th to December 15th on the Pacific side.  This is due to sea water rising to 80 degrees and above, which interact with circulating air above, causing its circulatory movement, forming hurricanes. Hurricane categories range from level 1 through 5 or 74 mph to greater than 155 mph.  Storms at less than 74 mph are called Tropical Storms.

Hurricanes were initially named after the Saint of the Day where it hit landfall.  Now names are chosen by a committee of representatives from the Atlantic countries.  Once a name has been used, it cannot be used again.  Whether a storm is called a hurricane, a cyclone or a typhon, they are all the same.  The location is the difference.  Damage is from storm surges, inland flooding, wind damage and tornadoes.  Major storms greater than 155 mph are rare.  Hurricanes can be monitored by use of aircraft used in high altitude research, which have been specifically made to withstand the severe winds encountered.

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Exia Duke presenting Al Dreumont a Chapter 1594 Thank You mug for his Hurricane Season presentation to Chapter members

Mr. Dreumont circulated brochures, published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, in association with FEMA, and the American Red Cross plus other agencies, which provide information on safety related to the weather. The information covered precautions to take in flooding conditions, driving in wet conditions, what to have packed if evacuation of the area has been announced, and what to do after the storm.

Mr. Dreumont was presented with a special Chapter 1594 commemorative mug for speakers.  As the first speaker to receive a mug in appreciation for their programs, Mr. Dreumont was very grateful.

April 2019 Regular Meeting

The April NARFE Chapter 1594 meeting was loaded with information for the members.

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Gerry Rendon presenting Sandra Gallagher, Sales Representative with Humana Healthcare, with a small gift in appreciation for her visit to brief members on Humana Healthcare changes for 2019

Starting with our guest speaker, Sandra Gallagher, who presented information on Humana health insurance. She explained that a reported merger between Humana and AETNA has fallen through. Humana is HMO and PPO provider. Some of the benefits she shared with the members for using Humana included:  Dental plans that start at $15.99, and there is no maximum on dental benefits or a waiting period to receive benefits; Humana does not charge for hearing aids, which can be purchased through True Hearing; there is a $75.00 credit per quarter that Humana members can use towards over the counter purchases; and transportation is paid by Humana to get to appointments, etc.  Humana will take any patient except those with end stage renal disease.  Ms. Gallagher stayed to respond to questions from the members.

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Shirley Rushfeldt reporting on her trip to the NARFE 2019 Legislative Conference in Alexandra, VA

Next the members received a report from Shirley Rushfeldt, who attended the LEGcon19 Training Conference. She spoke with Texas Congressional members about items important to NARFE members.  Items that were discussed with each Representative included:  thanking them for supporting Senate Bill 24 which approved back pay for furloughed Federal employees; thanks for supporting House Resolution (HR) 141 to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension offset; and to request the Fair COLAs  for Senior Act which would improve the calculation of cost of living adjustments for all Federal annuitants. Ms. Rushfeldt was also invited to and attended an after-hours tour of the Capitol building.  This was led by Representative Gohmert, District 1.  The tour included the opportunity to sit in the seats of the lawmakers, in the room where the President gives his State of the Union Address.

Our third speaker was Sam Pantoja who spoke about the up-coming Texas Federation Event, April 24th – 26th, in Longview, Texas.  Voting for issues to be discussed at the Event, should be completed by April 22, by mail or on-line.  An initial review of the ballots showed 5 ballots that were incomplete and could not be counted. Future ballots will be changed per request, to correct the “holes” in filling out the ballot.  The next Texas Federation Event will be in San Antonio in 2020. Members were asked what training they would like to see presented.  He also reminded the members that August is Legislative Month and to schedule a Representative to speak at our August meeting.

Shirley Swift, who is our Chapter’s Legislative Chair keeps the members up to date on issues and Bills that are important to our NARFE members.  Currently H.R. 1254 is being tracked as important to NARFE members.  It is the Equal COLA Act, which would provide Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees with the same annual cost-of-living adjustment COLA as Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees. Ms. Swift also informed the members that a Congressional directory is available for purchase from NARFE Advocacy Department, for $20.00.  It can be ordered by phone at 1-800-456-8410, option3.

Our chapter will continue to pay the first-year membership fee for any active and retired Federal employee joining our NARFE Chapter 1594.

March 2019 Regular Meeting
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1st VP Al Dreumont presenting thank you gifts to Sam Pantoja (NARFE PAC Chair for Texas  Federation) and Allison Tucker (VITAS Representative with VITAS Healthcare) for their presentations to members

Meeting called to order at 12:30 p.m. by First Vice President Al Dreumont.  President Gerry Rendon is helping with family concerns.  Al reported his wife is recovering from cataract surgery.

Members and Guests:  Twenty-five (25) members and two guests at today’s meeting.

March birthdays:  Christine Cuellar, David A. Cuellar, Al Dreumont, Dan Harris, Margarita Hernandez, Billie McLaughlin, and Dora Santillano.

No anniversaries in March.

Membership: Report from Connie Bedock – 6 letters have been mailed to prospective members.  We have 118 members currently.  Connie has dues withholding forms and applications for members to help in recruiting new members.  Al Dreumont reported on the Retirement conference he attended.  He reported that those close to retiring asked him about the benefits to join NARFE.  Dorothy and John Creswell both attended the retirement conference.

Our first speaker was Sam Pantoja, PAC Chair for Texas Federation.  He reminded the members that March is NARFE-PAC Month.  He recently returned from FEDcom19.  There were only 8 members attending from Texas at the conference.  They met with 36 Congressional members to discuss topics important to NARFE.  Several bills were discussed with HR 860 pertaining to Social Security and having Social Security income becoming tax exempt, as well as increases in Social Security benefits.  He also discussed NARFE-PAC raising 1.8 million dollars last cycle (2017 – 2018), when the goal had been 1.5 million dollars.  Money donated to candidates was $28,000.00.  Amounts are based on what the candidates request, with a cap of $10,000 per two years. There is a report in the NARFE magazine that on how the Congressional members vote on issues important to NARFE.  Members were reminded that NARFE is non-partisan.  Our PAC is the second largest in NARFE.  Members were asked to consider NARFE-PAC as an insurance policy to maintain and improve retirement benefits.  Chapter 1594 has raised $1750.00, from 30 members. 

February 2019 Executive and Regular Meetings

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) of San Antonio, Chapter 1594 has had a busy February 2019.

Starting with the Chapter Executive meeting, held on February 12, 2019, at Denny’s, on US Hwy. 90. The Chapter Officers met to plan the meetings and activities for the first six months of the year. A calendar, which includes the speakers that are scheduled for each month, was circulated and discussed. Several conferences are fast approaching, with the first scheduled for February 15th. It is the District 12 conference, being held at the Wayland Baptist University, in New Braunfels, Texas. Chapter 1594 is a part of this District. Several Chapter officers will be attending. Next is the LEGcon 19 (NARFE Legislative Training conference), scheduled for March 10-13, in Alexandria, Virginia. A Chapter 1594 member is scheduled to attend. Our Chapter will pay the $225.00 registration fee. Lastly, is the Texas Federation Event, April 24-26, 2019, in Longview, Texas.

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Chapter 1594 members in attendance at the District 12 Conference at Wayland Baptist University in New Braunfels

Paying the first-year membership fee of $40.00, for new Chapter 1594 members, will continue.

There was discussion on changing how we express our appreciation to our guest speakers. We currently present the speaker(s) with a Letter of Appreciation. We will change to NARFE Chapter 1594 “Thank You” mugs. Prices and a final design are being negotiated. This project is headed up by President Gerry Rendon.

There was a reminder about the up-coming Texas Federation vote on proposed by-law changes and a proposed budget. Voting will run from February 23, 2019 through March 22, 2019. Voting can be done by mail-in ballot or on-line ballot.

The District 12 conference had some great presentations, centering on communication and leadership, and maintaining membership numbers. The reports from the President of each Chapter, in District 12, was very interesting. Each Chapter explained their activities throughout the year and their successes in raising funds for NARFE “Feds Feed Families”, “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” for Alzheimer’s research and for Chapter 1594, we also raised money for The Wounded Warrior Project at Ft. Sam Houston. At the District 12 meeting, Chapter 1594 was singled out as having contributed over $350.00 towards Alzheimer’s research, collected specifically for the conference. Concern over the loss of members from the Chapter membership rolls was discussed. The members that are “lost” to the National NARFE rolls are reporting some confusion with the revised renewal form. Discussion centered on strategies to help retain the members: plans to use mentoring for new members, having greeters to greet each member by name, etc.

December 2018 Christmas Luncheon and January 2019 Regular Meeting
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Dr. John Creswell, Texas Federation President, addressing group on Texas Federation

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Dorothy Creswell, Texas Federation District 12 Representative (San Antonio and Austin), talking to members on upcoming events
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The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) of San Antonio, Chapter 1594 have had a fun and eventful two months.

Starting with our Chapter’s Christmas party held at the Golden Corral Buffet, at 1025 SE Military Drive, we celebrated a year of activities led by President Joyce Zerr.  We also had a moment of silence in remembrance of our associates who have passed away over the year.  Our members were then invited to make their selections from the great buffet served at the Golden Corral.  After a great meal we continued with the meeting and party.

Dr. John Creswell, President of the NARFE Texas Federation, made some opening remarks to our group.  He welcomed our members and thanked them for making Chapter 1594 one of the more active Chapters in Texas.

President Joyce Zerr reported on the money donated in December to the Wounded Warrior Project and NARFE’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  $187.00 was raised for Wounded Warriors and $90.00 was raised for Alzheimer’s Research.

Dorothy Creswell, District 12 Representative, spoke next.  She reported on the funds that had been raised nationally for Alzheimer’s Research.  $66,000 has been donated, with 14% coming from South Texas area. Mrs. Creswell also reminded the members of the up-coming District 12 conference, on February 15, 2019.  It is being hosted by Chapter 672, NARFE New Braunfels Chapter.   NARFE activities and breakout sessions are planned for the daylong conference.  Registration fee is only $25.00, and lunch is provided.

Texas Federation Dr. John Creswell also reported on the planned up-coming FEDcon19 Conference scheduled for March 10-13, 2019, to be held in Virginia.  He also reminded the members of the Texas Federation Event, scheduled for April 24-26, 2019, in Longview Texas.  Information is in the Texas Federation Register to register for these events.

Connie Bedock, Membership Chair, announced that the three members who had recruited the most, new members were eligible for a prize.  Mr. Richard Salmon was chosen and awarded a $25.00 gift card for his efforts.  Next, the names for the members who will receive a Christmas gift basket were chosen.  Also, the members who will deliver the baskets were selected to deliver the baskets to our members who are unable to attend our meetings and events.

Next the elected Officers for 2019 were presented.  Installation of Officers pledge led by Mrs. Dorothy Creswell.  Installed as the Officers were Gerry Rendon, President, Al Dreumont, First Vice President, Shirley Swift, Second Vice President, Margarita Hernandez, Treasurer, and Christine Cuellar, Secretary.  The Appointed officers/chairs were also introduced. Mrs. Creswell thanked out-going President Joyce Zerr for all her work and efforts in making Chapter 1594 so successful.  Joyce Zerr was presented with a photographic collage of the Officers and Members she led during her tenure as President.  She also was presented with a new name tag.  Joyce thanked all the members and officers.

Chapter Veterans Honored and Members Learn About Healthcare Changes for 2019

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) of San Antonio, Chapter 1594's President Joyce Zerr, welcomed members and guests, to the November 14, 2018 meeting, held at Brookhill Baptist Church, 631 Utopia, San Antonio, Texas. The invocation was led by Chaplain Elevia Gant and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by David N. Cuellar.

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Chapter Veterans: First Row L-R - Maria Montes, Connie Jo Popham, Margarita Hernandez, Odell Tyson, Henrietta Horton.  Second Row L-R - David N. Cuellar, Fred Eddie, Steve Guzman, David A. Cuellar, Earl Harris, Al Dreumont

President Zerr welcomed and introduced Chapter 1594 veterans.

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Chapter 1594 1st Vice President-elect for 2019, Al Dreumont (far right) welcomed guest speakers from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Mr. Adrian Figueroa, and from Aetna , Ms. Eloise Rendon.

Chapter 1594 hosted a Mini Health Fair. Members of Aetna and Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance companies were present to provide members timely information regarding their programs, since open season runs November 12 through December 10. First guest speaker from Aetna, was Ms. Eloise Rendon. New to the plan was Vision benefits, which are part of the high-end plans offered. In addition to vision benefits, there is a change in Dental benefits, which includes up to $30,000 in dental benefits. Different Medicare Advantage plans are available to members. Next Speaker was Mr. Adrian Figueroa from Blue Cross and Blue shield. He specifically addressed the benefits for Federal employees provided by BC/BS. He reported that most members who have BC/BS, do not take advantage of the $600.00 reimbursement available for Medicare Part B. He also reminded members that gym membership is available, with 10,000 health clubs to choose from to join. The BC/BS website has a full list of benefits and plans for members to review. Both speakers stayed throughout the meeting to answer questions from the members.

President Elect Gerry Rendon discussed our chapters website and its many features. It is located at www.narfe.org/site/chapter1594.

The Chapter 1594 Christmas party luncheon will be held at the Golden Corral at 1025 SE Military Drive. The luncheon will start at 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on December 12. Guests from Texas NARFE have been invited. Installation of 2019 Officers will take place at the luncheon. Money collected at the luncheon will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Our Membership Chair, Ms. Connie Bedock reported that all those who recruited new members between June and December 2018, to our Chapter, are eligible for a $25.00 gift card.

FEHB Open Season: November 12 - December 10, 2018. Sign Up by December 10

The 2018 Open Season runs from November 12 through December 10, 2018. Open Season allows you to enroll in the right health, dental and vision insurance options and find plans that minimize expenses in the coming year. Now is your window of opportunity, as you cannot make changes outside of Open Season unless you experience a “Qualifying Life Event.” For information on the insurance plans available to you, please click on the following link:  https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/compare-plans/.

Members Learn About Meals on Wheels Program at October 17, 2018 Meeting

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) of San Antonio, Chapter 1594's President Joyce Zerr, welcomed 25 members and guests, to the September 19, 2018 meeting, held at Brookhill Baptist Church, 631 Utopia, San Antonio, Texas.  The invocation was led by Chaplain Elevia Gant and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by David N. Cuellar.

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Joyce Zerr presented Certificate of Appreciation to Jim Snyder (Program Manager for San Antonio Meals on Wheels)

President Zerr welcomed and introduced Mr. Jim Snyder, the Program Manager for San Antonio Meals on Wheels.  He noted two points to cover as an organization – current and future potential clients and volunteer services. For 41 years, Meals on Wheels has been providing meals to their elderly clients.  The average client is a widow in her 80’s.  Funding has been through the 1968 Older Americans Act and from the Texas Department of Agriculture. 55% of funds are received through donations.  Staff drivers and volunteer drivers deliver meals over a 1 to 3-hour period.  One of the side benefits to the delivery service is a break in isolation for their clients. Meals are delivered 5 time a week, with extra, frozen meals, provided to clients with special identified nutritional needs.  Meals on Wheels also provide meals for their clients’ pets, once a month. “Friendly Visitors”, is a service that allows for volunteers with extra time, to spend with the elderly.  For care givers, there is a program called “Grace Place”, which provides care for clients with early onset Alzheimer’s, in a safe environment.  There is a $65.00 per day charge for use of this program. There is no charge for placement on the list to receive meals.  For more information, visit their website, mowsatx.org or call 210-725-5115.

Under Items of Interest:  Elected NARFE National President is Ken Thomas, who takes office in November 2018.

Chapter 1594 Officer Elections for 2019: Elections were held during the October meeting.  Elected Officers include, Gerry Rendon for 2019 Chapter 1594 President, Al Dreumont elected as the First Vice President, Shirley Click elected as Second Vice President, Margarita Hernandez elected as the Treasurer and Christine Cuellar elected as the Secretary.  Appointed Officer positions were also filled.

Up-coming Events for Chapter 1594: At the November 14th meeting, Chapter 1594 will host a Mini Health Fair.  Members of various insurance companies will be present.  This is timely, since open season runs November 12th through December 10th.  There are also plans to honor our Chapters veterans.

2018 Walk to End Alzheimer's Yields $1,071 in Donations

At the October 13, 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in New Braunfels, Chapter 1594’s team, represented by Gerry Rendon and Idalia Hagamon, received $1,017 in donations.  These donations will be used for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.  Donors to our team were:  Vicki and Jack Lewallen, Cyndy and Rich Farley, Jan and Pat Kidwell, Santa Maria Jones, Gerry Rendon, Annette Ivy, Chapter 1594, Idalia Hagamon, Juanita Zongker, Connie Bedock and Margarita Hernandez. 

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Start of Walk to End Alzheimer's
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Idalia Hagamon and Gerry Rendon at Finish of Walk to End Alzheimer's in New Braunfels

  

 

 

 

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Standing:  Gerry Rendon (Chapter 1594 1st VP) and Dorothy Creswell (Chapter 0672 President and District 12 Representative).  Sitting L-R:  Alice Pullin (Chapter 0672 Secretary and Network Coordinator) and Lynn Geyer (Chapter 0672 Legislative Chair).

 

 

Members Presented with Seminar on Estate Planning and Probate at September 19, 2018 Meeting
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Todd Marquardt with Marquardt Law Firm Conducting Seminar at September Meeting

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) of San Antonio, Chapter 1594's President Joyce Zerr, welcomed 25 members and guests, to the September 19, 2018 meeting, held at Brookhill Baptist Church, 631 Utopia, San Antonio, Texas.  The invocation was led by Chaplain Elevia Gant and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by David N. Cuellar.

President Zerr welcomed and introduced Attorney Todd Marquardt, with the Marquardt Law Firm, specializing in Elder Law.  He presented a seminar on Estate Planning and Probate.  He reviewed the things that must be done upon death - call the funeral home or police, attend the funeral, secure property, pay the funeral home, probate will, collect income and proceeds, marshalling assets, wrapping up bills, and distributing assets.  Other than dying your will must be reviewed by a judge to determine its validity and the qualifications of the named Executor.  There were seven steps in a Probate proceeding that Mr. Marquardt reviewed.   He reported that 7% of wills are invalid, including a review of the Howard Hughes case which took 34 years to settle.  In Bexar County you have to hire a lawyer.  Mr. Marquardt defined what constitutes a will and what comprises an estate and the stipulations you can place in your will to control your estate.  He also mentioned that money owed to the estate must be paid back.

Next he reviewed what is in a Living Trust - it is created during life, Trusted by banks or other financial institutions, avoids Probate, No judicial supervision whatsoever, and more secure privacy.  There were many questions from the membership, which Mr. Marquardt answered.  At the end of his presentation, Mr. Marquardt was presented with a Letter of Appreciation from the Chapter.

Under Items of Interest:

     1. We collected a total of $210.00 for Feds Feed Families food drive.

     2. Members were encouraged to vote for the September run-off election for NARFE National President.

     3. The Texas Federation Register newspaper- information on the on-going issuance of the Medicare cards which are coming out throughout September for Texas residents and health insurance tips during the upcoming season. 

Gina Ortiz-Jones Guest Speaker at August 15th, 2018 Meeting
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Gina Ortiz-Jones, Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative of Texas 23rd District

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) of San Antonio, Chapter 1594's President Joyce Zerr, welcomed 25 members, of which three are new members to our Chapter and two guests to the August 15, 2018 meeting, held at Brookhill Baptist Church, 631 Utopia, San Antonio, Texas.  The invocation was led by Chaplain Elevia Gant and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by David N. Cuellar.

President Zerr welcomed and introduced a Democratic candidate for the 23rd Congressional District, Ms. Gina Ortiz-Jones and a member of her Finance team, Mr. Aaron Cartwright.   Ms. Ortiz-Jones gave a brief personal history of her life through service, starting with service in the Air Force.  When she retired from the Air Force due to family concerns, she began with a review of her work history as a Civil Servant for the Defense Intelligence Agency through her work in the Oval Office for President Obama. Ms. Ortiz-Jones was firm in her stance that public officials should serve the public and not the other way around.  Members of Congress are frequently "camera ready" with promises to serve the voting public but then they vote in the opposite way to what they said for the camera.

Questions ranged from concerns about job losses, where CEO's are choosing moving as cheaper and more beneficial to corporations, than paying a living wage to their employees.  Also, concerns about Partisan allegiance was raised.  Ms. Ortiz-Jones said she is open to working with both political parties to accomplish positive change in the lives of her constituents.  She added that the voters need to check and follow what their Representatives say versus what they do.   She reviewed her concerns for the environment and how it can impact health issues and educational opportunities.  Health care was discussed as being a priority for the members.

There were many other questions and concerns raised by the members.  Ms. Ortiz-Jones listed her priorities as health care, the environment, educational opportunities and job development.  That being a Representative is not just a job but a service.  She encouraged the members to vote to make changes happen.

We are continuing to collect funds for Feds Feed Families. $72.00 was collected for August.  $63.00 dollars was collected for the Alzheimer's research fund.

President Zerr reminded the members that Federal Employee Health Benefits open season starts November 12th through December 10th.  Also that the run-off elections for the national NARFE President position is in September.   Ballots will be mailed to the membership through the NARFE magazine.

For the up-coming Chapter 1594 elections, forms listing the positions were circulated to members.

Jon Arnold from Will Hurd's Office Guest Speaker at July 18, 2018 Meeting

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) of San Antonio, Chapter 1594's President Joyce Zerr, welcomed 22 members and one guest to the July 18, 2018 meeting, held at Brookhill Baptist Church, 631 Utopia, San Antonio, Texas. The invocation was led by Joyce Zerr and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by David Cuellar.

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2nd Vice President Shirley Swift presenting Certificate of Appreciation to Jon Arnold, District Director for Congressman Will Hurd's 23rd District 

President Zerr welcomed and introduced a speaker from Will Hurd's office, Jon Arnold. He is the District Director for Mr. Hurd's District 23. Mr. Arnold discussed the work that Mr. Hurd and he have done to ensure all Federal retirees, including veterans and civilian retirees, receive their benefits and have their benefits protected. Mr. Hurd's district has over 175,000 Federal retirees. Legislative policies that negatively impact retirees were discussed, including the Windfall Elimination Act. Mr. Al Dreumont brought up the problem on legislative voting is based on "Tribal" VS "American" voting. Votes center on "Tribal" party lines and not what is good for the American voters. Mr. Arnold said he would take this concern back to Mr. Hurd.

Our 40th Anniversary, held June 20th, was a great success. All the guests and members were very complimentary about the decorations, provided by Teresa Sanchez and the meal, catered by Grady's BBQ. All our guests praised our Chapter for its activities, especially in recruiting new members. Funds raised for Alzheimer's Research fund totaled $197.00 and $119.00 was raised for the start of Feds Feed Families that runs through the end of August. Thank you cards were distributed to the membership, with a special gift of a box of candy to Connie Bedock, for all she did in making our celebration such a success.

The members were informed of the NARFE National elections. No candidate for the position of the President of NARFE won, so a second election will be held in September to determine the new President. Only 6.77% of eligible Texas NARFE voters submitted their ballot. This is comparable to other national elections.

The membership voted to continue meeting at Brookhill Baptist Church, 631 Utopia.

Legislative issues continue to impact retirees. Since July 2016, retirees paying for Federal long term care insurance saw an increase of up to 83% for their premiums. This was reportedly due to less insurance companies available to purchase long term care and an increase in the charges from long-term care facilities. Medicare has limitations for this care.

There is a Free Senior Expo, sponsored by AETNA insurance, scheduled for July 28th at Shearer Hills Baptist Church on San Pedro Ave. Over 20 vendors are expected.

A review of Chapter 1594 meetings for the rest of 2018 was discussed. August 15th will center on NARFE's Advocacy Month. September 19th will have the members voting on a site for the December 12th Christmas party. Sites are being vetted now. October is scheduled for election of Chapter 1594 Officers. President Joyce Zerr informed the members she will not seek reelection for the 2019 Presidency of Chapter 1594. Her leadership, since 2012 will be missed. Our November meeting will be held a week earlier, on the 14th, due to the closeness to the Thanksgiving holiday. American Veterans will be honored this month and Chapter 1594 will host a "Mini Health Fair". Guest vendors have been scheduled to speak. Our December meeting has also been rescheduled a week earlier, on December 12th. At our Christmas party we will have our installation of Officers and present Christmas gift baskets to our special members with special needs.

San Antonio Chapter 1594 40th Anniversary Celebration

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On June 20, 2018, San Antonio Chapter 1594 celebrated its 40th Anniversary at Brookhill Baptist Church.

Fourty-four members and guests were in attendance. Guests included: Dr. John Creswell, President of Texas Federation; Dora Benavides, South Area Vice President; Dorothy Creswell, District 12 Representative; and John Pantoja, NARFE-PAC Coordinator/TF National Legislative Officer.

Joyce Zerr, Chapter President, called the meeting to order at 11:15 a.m. She introduced guests followed by introduction of Gerry Rendon, Chapter 1st Vice President, for the welcome.

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Gerry Rendon (left) presenting Joe Glawson with Certificate of Appreciation

Gerry Rendon welcomed members and guests and gave a brief history of the Chapter. Chapter 1594 was established on June 16, 1978. Sixty-four retired federal employees began meeting and worked together to do all things pertaining to the good of the organization.   Of the 64 founding members, only Joe Glawson is still active in the Chapter. Mr. Glawson recently celebrated his 96th birthday and is an Army veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart. When established, the chapter was known as Fair Avenue Chapter 1594 and meetings were held at the Fair Avenue Apartments meeting room for 32 years. Due to renovations to the Fair Avenue Apartments, the Chapter moved across the street to St. Margaret Mary’s Church Activity Center in 2010. In 2012, meetings were moved to Holy Name Church Activity Center but had to move again due to increasing monthly costs. Meetings were then moved to the present facility, Brookhill Baptist Church. Over the years, chapter Presidents were John Pearce, Clyde Fuller, John Nesloney, Huland McAdams, Emory Palmer, Melvin Luddeke, David Cuellar 1997-1999, Robert Koenig 2000-2011 and our current President, Joyce Zerr, who took office in 2012. Mr. Rendon also recognized Mr. Joe Glawson with a Certificate of Appreciation for his support and contributions to the Chapter over the past 40 years.

Dr. John Creswell, President of Texas Federation, followed by congratulating the Chapter on this milestone. He praised officers and members for their strong support and contributions to the Chapter and presented them with a certificate. He followed by reading a congratulatory letter from NARFE President Richard Thissen. He reminded members who haven’t voted for the upcoming NARFE general election that they had until June 30t. If they were voting by mail, he advised them to mail ballots a week in advance to ensure they were received prior to the deadline.

Dora Benavides, South Area Vice President, followed by congratulating officers, appointed officers and members on the great job organizing the event. She was concerned memberships across NARFE were declining and that chapters had to recruit more members to make up for losses due to attrition. She also congratulated the chapter for their use of email, the web and newsletter in maintaining members informed of what’s going on within and outside the Chapter.

Dorothy Creswell, District 12 Representative, discussed upcoming Fedcon18 Conference being held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel, Jacksonville, FL, August 26-28, 2018. She stated this was going to be a fast-paced, two and one-half days of thought-provoking speakers, leadership training, intensive benefit education and the opportunity to engage and connect with your federal colleagues. She also discussed declining membership across NARFE and urged members to continue in their recruitment efforts.

Sam Pantoja, NARFE-PAC Coordinator, thanked chapter for the invitation and updated attendees on the monetary contributions NARFE-PAC had collected throughout the year. He mentioned funds would be used to contribute to congressmen running for office who support and work hard to protect the earned benefits of active and retired federal employees.

Members Learn About Hearing Aids and Other Hearing Aid Equipment at May 16 Meeting
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Pictured left to right:  Gerry Rendon presenting a framed Biography to Al Dreumont who was accompanied by his wife Carmen

President Joyce Zerr called meeting to order at 12:40 p.m.  Twenty-four members were in attendance.

Guest speaker was Rebecca Best from Beltone Audiology and Hearing Aids.  She discussed procedure for obtaining hearing aids and other hearing aid equipment.  A plan of care is made after the client's ears are checked and hearing tests performed.  The plan of care includes obtaining hearing aids or a referral is made to a hearing specialist for further evaluation.  Hearing aids are matched to meet the needs of the client's life style (quiet or active).  It takes approximately two weeks to obtain hearing aids or longer if special adjustments are needed.  Follow-up care and adjustments are provided as part of the initial cost.  Blue Cross Blue Shield currently covers $2500.00 per 3-year cycle, which covers battery and hearing aid warranties.  Other equipment such as amplified telephones are also provided by Beltone.  Questions about hearing aids and services answered by Ms. Best.

Birthday wishes expressed to Exia Duke, Stella Flores, and Sandy Vogel. No Anniversaries this month.

Carmen Dreumont accompanied her husband while Gerry Rendon read his framed biography.  Al thanked his wife for her support throughout his active civil service career.

State Representative Dr. Philip Cortez Speaks at March 21, 2018 Meeting
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State Representative District 117 Dr. Philip Cortez and NARFE San Antonio 2nd Vice President Shirley Swift

At the group's March 21st meeting, Dr. Philip Cortez, State Representative for District 117, spoke to the group regarding the 85th Legislative Session bills he introduced and that passed. Of most interest to the group’s members were HB 1414 and 970. HB 1414 enables servicemen and women deployed in combat zones to vote via e-mail. This bill affords the state’s military personnel the opportunity to participate in elections while serving our country. HB 970 acknowledges that seniors are affected by a pneumonia causing bacteria. This bill directs the Department of State Health Services to develop and implement a program to conduct health education and community outreach activities to promote public awareness. Dr. Cortez encouraged members to contact his office and their elected officials concerning issues of importance to them.

BC/BS Representative Briefs Members on Two New Programs for 2018

Ms. Laura Mansour (BC/BS FEP representative) briefed members of two new programs rolled out this year by BC/BS. The first is the Medicare Reimbursement Account.  If you have Basic Option, you can get a $600 Medicare reimbursement account if you have Medicare Part A and B.  You must use this account to pay for Medicare Part B premium.  Each member on your contract with Medicare A and B is eligible to earn $600.  To earn the money, you will need to provide proof that you pay 2018 Medicare Part B premiums.  BC/BS will accept the following as proof of payment: Copies of social security checks, bank statements, COLA statement, and cancelled checks or copies of canceled checks.  Additional information on this service may be obtained at fepblue.org/mra.  The second program was TeleHealth.  Under this program, a member has 24/7 access to a doctor via phone or video.  The average wait time is 10 minutes.  BC/BS has board certified doctors available 24/7 to treat cold and flu symptoms, allergies, bronchitis and more.

Pecan Grill Restaurant was Host to December 13th Luncheon/Meeting

Chapter President Joyce Zerr welcomed members and guests to the December's Luncheon/Meeting at Pecan Grill Restaurant.  Guests Dr. John Creswell (Texas Federation President) and Dorothy Creswell (Distrct 12 Representative) brought members up to date on NARFE items of interest.  Dorothy swore in the 2018 elected officers.  Joyce recognized members Guadalupe and Stella Flores and Shirley Click with certificates of appreciation for their long standing support to Chapter 1594.  Jovita Durand won the $25 gift card for her recruitment efforts during the June - December timeframe.  Mr. & Mrs. Chapa (Pecan Grill owners) were recognized with a certificate of appreciation and gifts for their support to Chapter 1594 in allowing us to host the  June and December meetings at their establishment.

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Pictured left to right, Guadalupe and Stella Flores presented with Certificate of Appreciation by Chapter President Joyce Zerr
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Pictured left to right, Shirley Click presented with Certificate of Appreciation by Joyce Zerr
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Pictured left to right, Joyce Zerr presented Jovita Durand with $25 gift card for her recruitment of new members during June - December 2017
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Mr. & Mrs. Chapa were recognized for their support to Chapter 1594
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Swearing in of newly elected officers for 2018 by Dorothy Creswell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1594 Veterans Honored at November 15th Meeting
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Pictured left to right back row: David Cuellar, Jesse Gorden, Abel Hernandez, Earl Harris, Guadalupe Flores, Al Dreumont.  Front row: Margarita Hernandez and Rita Horton

Thirty members were in attendance at meeting. Chapter President Joyce Zerr announced the passing of member Georgia Pilgrim.  Chapter Veterans were honored and presented with Certificates of Appreciation for their service to our country.  They were also presented with a pin and pen.  Representatives from Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield were in attendance at the Mini-health Fair and briefed on upcoming changes for 2018.  During the break, representatives passed out brochures/literature and answered more questions from members.

Prior Meeting Minutes

April 19, 2017

March 15, 2017

January 18, 2017

December 21, 2016

November 16, 2016

October 19, 2016

October 12, 2016 Executive Board

September 21, 2016

 

Southside Reporter Articles

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