Redwood Empire MOAA
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 Sub-Chapter Information

  SUB-CHAPTER OFFICERS - (There are no longer any active Sub-Chapters)


Activated in 1964, the Redwood Empire Chapter was originally comprised of the northwestern California counties of Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte, stretching several hundred miles from the Bay Area to the Oregon border. For decades, organized Chapter activity was concentrated in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County where Chapter headquarters was located, with other parts of the Chapter area virtually ignored.

Finally, in the early 1990’s, Chapter members in Lake County, of their own volition, organized a Sub-Chapter to engage in local activity. Then, in 2002, the Chapter Board recognized what had long been apparent, that the remaining three counties and the southeastern portion of Sonoma County (Sonoma Valley) were still being ignored. In that year, the Chapter 2nd Vice President organized additional Sub-Chapters in Mendocino County and, combined, Humboldt/Del Norte Counties, followed in 2003 by the Sonoma Valley Sub-Chapter (city of Sonoma, communities of Glen Ellen and Kenwood). The remainder of Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa where the Chapter headquarters was located, was designated Sonoma County Main.

During those developmental years, there were over 300 officer members in the Redwood Empire Chapter, plus other MOAA officer members located within the Chapter boundaries who had not joined the Chapter. The latter have been periodically identified from rosters provided by MOAA National and have been periodically contacted for recruiting campaigns.

All of the three Sub-Chapter developmental efforts were typically conducted by the Chapter's 2nd Vice President with assistance from the Board of Directors. The original areas selected for Sub-Chapter development (Mendocino, Humboldt/Del Norte and Sonoma Valley) at that time, typically had from 50 to 75 officers each as possible members. First, existing Chapter members in each target area, usually few in number, were queried to assess their interest in forming a Sub-Chapter. Then, MOAA members living in the target area and not belonging to the Chapter were contacted to determine the degree of interest to form a Sub-Chapter. Those officers responding and showing interests were informed that an organizational meeting would take place, and screened to identify possible for Sub-Chapter leaders (Commander, Vice Commander, Adjutant).

An organizational meeting was then chaired and conducted by the Chapter 2nd Vice President. He discussed the Chapter history, organization, area of responsibility and current activities. and the reasons for forming the Sub-Chapters. He then outlined suggested organization and activities of the Sub-Chapter and relationship with the parent Chapter. Then, after assuring general agreement with the formation of the Sub-Chapter, he held an election to fill all three Sub-Chapter leadership positions. The new Commander then took over the meeting and began planning future Sub-Chapter activity with those present. At the end of the meeting the Chapter 2nd Vice President with few exceptions obtained applications for Chapter membership from those present who were not already Chapter members.

At their height, the Sub-Chapters typically had between 25 and 50 officer members, plus some auxiliaries, and typically held luncheon or dinner meetings every other month. With spouses/guests included attendees usually number between 20 and 30. A speaker or some other program is typically featured. Once a year, at one of these meetings,  the Sub-Chapter holds an election to select their Sub-Chapter leaders and a Director for the Chapter Board for the following year. Chapter Board officers, including the 2nd Vice President, periodically visit the Sub-Chapter meetings.

The existence of the Sub-Chapters is documented in the Chapter Bylaws. Chapter members living in a Sub-Chapter area were assumed to be members of the applicable Sub-Chapter. Each active Sub-Chapter is represented by a Director on the Chapter Board. The Chapter 2nd Vice President is still responsible for coordinating support and providing guidance to the Sub-Chapters, while exercising liaison between them and the Chapter. Other Chapter functions, Membership in particular, coordinate their operations through the Sub-Chapter leadership. The Commander, Vice Commander, Adjutant leadership structure is suggested in the Bylaws and is generally being followed. As with Sonoma County Main Chapter members, Sub-Chapter members pay Chapter membership dues and vote, in most cases by absentee ballot, in annual Chapter election meetings, or on other occasions when a general membership vote is required.

[2023 Addendum by LCDR (ret.) Tim Morgan: Since their original development and implementation in 2002, there have been changes to our Sub-Chapters. About 10 years ago, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties left the MOAA Redwood Empire Chapter. About 5 years ago, the MOAA Chapter in Marin County closed and their members requested the Redwood Empire Chapter incorporate their few members into our region although there was no interest in the Marin County members to form a Sub-Chapter. Within the past 8-10 years, our Chapter has seen a gradual decline in overall membership to well less than65 members for the four counties of the Chapter (due to a number of factors), and all Sub-Chapter organizations have disbanded.]

 Peter D. Wolffe   
Major, USA Retired