Oldest NARFE chapter in Md. celebrates 65 years
On Feb. 2, Charles County residents and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the 65th anniversary of NARFE Chapter 126 Western Charles/Indian Head. Approximately 50 NARFE members gathered at St. James Episcopal Church in Indian Head for a three-hour tour through the history of the chapter, entertainment, a catered buffet by the Rev. Jacques T. Banks and guest speakers.
Ed Rice, co-president of the NARFE Chapter 126 Western Charles/Indian Head, has been chapter president for more than 10 years. Rice said he was extremely honored to have the national president and county commissioners present the organization with certificates recognizing their service to the community.
“Organizations like this are what really enrich Charles County because they enrich so many things in the community so for that we’re really grateful,” said Peter Mur- phy (D), Charles County Board of Commission- ers’ president. “I’m really proud to say that in the State of Maryland we have the oldest active NARFE chapter. This is a very active group and we’re so glad they’re here on the western side of the county. They have a lot to be proud of — having kept the chapter going for that many years. The kinds of things that they support are incredibly important to us as a coun- ty and contributions they have made to the county [are] greatly appreciated throughout the years.”
The citation from the board of commissioners read, “This Charles county organization is the old- est active NARFE chapter in the State of Maryland offering friendship, com- munity, information and support to retired federal employees.”
“To do anything for 65 years these days is pretty awesome,” said Commis- sioner Debra M. Davis (D). “Their advocacy is making a difference across the country ... I would hate to have to go against any of them as a group.”
NARFE member Jea- nette Green of Waldorf was happy that the 65th anniversary celebration turned out so well.
“We worked on the planning for about six months, each person involved had a function to carry out and did so willingly. The food was delicious, and the cake was absolutely gorgeous, besides tasting so good,” Green said.
Ron Bush, co-president of the NARFE Chapter 126 Western Charles/In- dian Head, said NARFE has helped protect or enhance the retirement benefits that federal workers like he and his wife, Brenda Bush, now have.
In 1952, Chapter 126 Charles County was orga- nized as a Maryland Federation founding member of the National Associa- tion of Retired Civil Em- ployees (NARCE). Over the years, the national organization changed its name to the National Ac- tive and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE).
NARFE’s mission is to support legislation beneficial to current and potential federal annuitants and to oppose legislation contrary to their inter- ests. The organization’s national officers con- stantly speak before Con- gress and keep federal retirees informed about important changes to their earned retirement benefits.
Richard G. Thissen, the national president of NARFE, said he is look- ing forward to seeing the chapter’s continued success. He also took the time to encourage local members to become more vocal about federal retirees potentially losing their healthcare benefits and coverage.
“It was really nice to be out here with the members to present the certif- icate and remind them to be ready, to be on board and respond to the call for support. I want them to continue to be active and participate in chapter, regional and national levels of NARFE,” This- sen said. “This year is going to be the absolute ar- mageddon year for new and retired employees who would be affected [by the possible changes in retired federal employee benefits].”
This particular chapter has more than 200 registered members with 25-30 members who regularly attend chapter meetings. Rice said many of the retired employees are worried about issues such as the protection of their health benefits program and the state taxing their retirement.
“We’re facing some tough times coming up. In the past we’ve had local, state and national programs making gains in our benefits for the employees. However, in the last five years we’ve been in a very defensive mode trying to protect the earned benefits that we have,” Rice said.
“Right now the government wants to cut back on the federal retirees’ benefits like we’re a drag on the economy, but we’ve paid our dues just like the people that get Social Security. You pay in and pay in and when you retire, you’ve been promised benefits so when you retire you should not have those benefits taken away,” Brenda Bush said.
Membership in NARFE is open to current civilian employees and retirees of the federal and Washington, D.C., govern- ments, to their spouses and to those receiving survivor annuities. For more information, contact Ron or Brenda Bush at 301-934-8311 or email email@example.com.
Commissioner Debra M. Davis; Ed Rice, co-president of the NARFE Chapter 126 Western Charles/Indian Head; Ron Bush, co-president of the NARFE Chapter 126 Western Charles/Indian Head; and Charles County Board of Commissioners’ President Peter F. Murphy at the 65th anniversary celebration of NARFE Chapter 126 on Feb. 2.
Ed Rice, co-president of the NARFE Chapter 126 Western Charles/ Indian Head, received a certificate of recognition from Richard G. Thissen, the national president of NARFE, at the NARFE Chapter 126’s 65th anniversary celebration on Feb. 2.