SMW NEW PRESIDENT  2016 – 2018



Thank you for being a member of SMW.  This is a reminder about the NAUS transition:  The officers who were members of NAUS had their membership transferred to MOAA.  The enlisted servicemembers who were members of NAUS had their membership transferred to TREA.  The military widows who were members of NAUS and SMW kept their membership in SMW and we were on our own.  We found another company (AMS) in Maryland and signed a contract with them to do the same things that NAUS was doing for us.  AMS is handling our membership database, sending out newsletters, and also handling our financial business. 


We trust you will want to come and join us at our SMW Convention in Las Vegas on October 15 - 20, 2017. It is the one time in the year that we can meet military widows from all over the country. Flights to Las Vegas are usually inexpensive. The hotel cost and meals are also inexpensive. If you share a room with another military widow, the cost per night will be less than $40. each. Registration of $140. covers the Welcome Reception on the 15th, Lunch on the 16th, and the Banquet on the 19th. You will see in the attached newsletter the variety of restaurants at South Point and prices are good, because it is an off-Strip hotel.

What we can offer members, if they join the Society of Military Widows:

1. Membership in a national military widows organization with a total active membership of approximately 5,000.

2. Camaraderie among sister military widows, and emotional support in grief.

3. National SMW website (open to the public) with updated information on legislative issues from Legislative Chair; opportunity to request information about military benefits; blog for members; and much more:

4. Regularly scheduled monthly Legislative Conference Calls on the fourth Wednesdayof each month throughout the year (except November and December).

5. Lobbying Congress on our military surviving spouses legislative issues: Rosalie Horton, Legislative Chair, regularly visits Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, and will take your letters with her. Any members who live in the Washington, D.C. area - or are visiting the area - may contact Rosalie and schedule visits together.

6. SBP-DIC Offset Facebook group moderated by SMW member Kathy Prout (closed to members of group) including files section for access to historic data and legislative information.

7. Annual Convention for members and guests (usually in October).

8. National SMW newsletter being sent by postal mail to members in 2017 on a quarterly basis, plus a weekly news brief sent by e-mail.

9. 24/7/365 availability to talk with SMW National President: (702) 227-6566 or e-mail: ~ Janet Snyder

My goal is to make these two years EASY and FUN. We are at the stage of our lives when we want life to be a joy, not a hassle or a burden in any way. This is why I want you to seriously consider eliminating the need to provide written reports for the Convention in Las Vegas. Most people don't read them anyway. We are too busy meeting new people and renewing friendships with members from around the country.

The Annual SMW Convention is so important to all of our members. SMW Convention Committees put their hearts and souls into making it a great experience for all of us. What I remember about attending my first (2011) and subsequent annual meetings / conventions: the smiles and friendliness of all the SMW members. We are a happy group, and it shows. Let's continue this tradition. We can hang loose with a minimum of organized meetings and workshops.

At the October 15 - 20, 2017 Convention in Las Vegas: only the Welcome Reception on October 15, Lunch on October 16, and Banquet on October 19 are included in the Registration Fee. The rest of the time you are free to do whatever you like. You can take tours, go shopping; or attend the optional workshops in the Hospitality Room. There is something scheduled every day for those who plan to stay at the hotel.

Remember to call me or send an e-mail, if you have any questions or suggestions for how we can make SMW better and more relevant to you. I am enjoying getting to know more of you, as we talk on the phone and send e-mails to each other. We are a special sisterhood, and I want you to know that I love and value each one of you. Please write your stories and send them to me. Each one of us has a unique story to tell.

Janet Snyder is an Army wife and mother of three children, grandmother
 of six, and five great grandchildren. She was married to her husband Tom for 52  years, and was his full-time caregiver for five years,
 until he passed at home on hospice care in 2010.

 Janet was president of various military wives clubs and was a religious school  teacher while her children were young. She was editor of the military Jewish  chapel newsletter; participated in many ecumenical projects with the Protestant,  Catholic and Jewish chaplains; and was honored at the Jewish Welfare Board Convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Janet has worked in Germany, Israel, and the USA in public relations, hotel marketing, and insurance.

From 1996 to 2006, Tom and Janet lived full-time in their motor home, traveling around

the country and taking their grandchildren on camping trips during summer vacations.
They moved to Las Vegas in early 2006.

Janet was President of the Las Vegas Valley Chapter of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.,

from 2011 - 2014; President of the Society of Military Widows of Southern Nevada Chapter #34 from 2012 - 2015; Secretary of SMW of Southern Nevada Chapter #34 for 2015 - 2018
and Newsletter Editor from 2012 - 2018; President of the National Society of Military Widows
from 2016 - 2018; Legislative Officer, Southern Nevada Chapter, Military Officers Association
of America (MOAA); served for three years (2011 - 2014) on the Auxiliary Member Advisory Committee (now Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee), National Military Officers Association
of America (MOAA); member of The Silver State Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Boulder City, NV; and member of Las Vegas American Legion Auxiliary Unit #14. 
She is a member of the American Military Retirees Association (AMRA) and on the Legislative Affairs Committee. 
25 October 2016 

It is a great honor to be the Society of Military Widows National President for 2016 - 2018. Thank you to all of our SMW members for your confidence and encouragement.

At the President's Meeting during the San Antonio Convention, I discussed my proposed Agenda for the next two years:

1. Revise SMW ByLaws - Cathy McGraw and Johnnie Marquez from Chapter #13 are on the ByLaws Committtee

a. Would like to give Members at Large (MAL) the ability to run for national office.

b. Revision of Convention Guidelines - to make it simpler.

c. Everyone on the new board has unlimited long distance phone capability, so we will use Free Conference Call for our quarterly teleconferences. This will save money.

2. Exploring the possibility of making SMW national only - no chapters.

a. Several chapters have disbanded already, but they still get together for lunch and social activities.

b. There would be no responsibility to hold an official local office, and no requirement to write and submit reports.

c. Two chapters disbanded this year. There have been no new chapters formed since Southern Nevada Chapter #34 started in January 2012.

d. Could have "Virtual Chapter" to communicate online - need computers - plus e-mails and conference calls.

e. Chapter presidents and board members who were present wanted to retain the current active chapters for as long as they can.

3. Annual Meeting / Convention is important, because that is how we get together with surviving spouses from all over the country.

a. Keeping the annual meeting / convention run by local chapters (if they are retained) - or

b. Asking for regions to host the conventions.

4. Collaboration with other military surviving spouse and veteran organizations.

a. Inviting other groups to attend our conventions, to learn how they operate.

b. Working together on legislative issues and national events.

c. Can save money on conventions by combining with other organizations.

5. NAUS merger and decision about future of SMW - Patricia Walker appointed to represent SMW in resolving the issues that will affect SMW if a merger is concluded, or to find a new arrangement that will accomplish the needs of SMW.

a. Foremost is the welfare of our members.

b. As national officers, we have a fiduciary responsibility to do what is best for our membership.

6. Please contact me - day or night - by phone or e-mail, to give me your thoughts and ideas. (702) 227-6566

7. My wish for the next two years: to be filled with good thoughts, kind people and happy moments.