Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., USN (Ret.), CEO of the Military Officers Association of America, presented the local chapter with its 50th anniversary certificate on Wednesday.

With 409 chapters nationwide, the local association – also known as MOAA – became just the 83rd chapter to reach the half-century benchmark. Ryan shared his approval of the chapter during Wednesday's banquet at Newberry Hall.

“This is a beautiful town, and I get inspired when I see a chapter that does so much in its community,” Ryan said. “It reminds me that leadership is all about examples and not words. You guys are very involved, and there's nothing more important than letting young men and women know that you're invested in their future. So thank you for doing that.”

In addition, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., was presented with an honorary membership Wednesday at 50th anniversary.

The chapter honored Wilson for his many years of service to the military community.

“The success that we've had in caring for our wounded warriors is because of you,” Wilson told the local chapter during his remarks. “MOAA has over 340,000 members and is the largest military office organization in the world. Local chapters like this one provide me with information so I can better serve our military.”

Col. David Lobb (Ret.), MOAA's council vice president for legislative affairs, was also in attendance. Lobb spoke about the prestige of the local chapter and how much experience local members had during their time served in the military.

“The majority of our officers rank between major and colonel and the majority have also served nearly 30 years,” Lobb stated. “We're one of the first established chapters and one of the largest growing.”

MOAA is a nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization. Its primary goal is compensation and benefit matters for all members of the military community.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.