MOULTRIE -- The Loyal Order of Moose 1158 has begun a campaign to aid military families, particularly those of reservists called to active duty.

Currently, more than 175,000 reserve military personnel have been called to serve for one to two years and more than 250,000 active-duty U.S. military personnel are serving in the Gulf region, Moose member and 20-year veteran Oscar Grantham said. Most of the reservists are junior enlisted personnel who left jobs earning more money than the military pays. This, however, doesn't stop the bills from coming, Grantham said.

In fact, after Desert Storm 12 years ago, 40 percent of reservists' families experienced a reduction in income as a result of being mobilized, according to a federal accounting survey.

"We want to help these families make their commitments without costing them the possibility of losing their homes, cars or good names due to continuing debt while serving our nation," Grantham said.

The local Moose lodge is hoping the effort, dubbed Friends of American Military Services (FOAMS), will spread throughout the state.

"We applaud that. We feel that is absolutely tremendous," Reserve Officers Association Director of Education John O'Shea said.

Federal law requires employers to hold reservists' jobs but nothing further, O'Shea said. Some employers will pay the difference between what the military pays and what the employer pays, but many do not, he said. As a result, each branch of service has an organization to help military families in financial distress, but local efforts such as the Moose club's campaign do fill a need, he said.

To qualify for FOAMS aid, the military sponsor must be called to active duty in the U.S. military, must need financial assistance for difficulties resulting from deployment, must present a copy of military dependent identification card and copy of orders from command regarding the call to active service and financial records demonstrating the need. The family must write a letter stating how much the family may need to get it back up to its prior financial level, estimated date of return of the sponsor and a statement regarding the level of the sponsor's support from employer.

Aid may be up to, but not to exceed, $500 per month depending on the amount of donations the club can raise, Grantham said. The Moose club has nonprofit status, and donations through the club will be tax deductible, he added.

To make a donation or request assistance by mail: FOAMS, P.O. Box 2282, Moultrie, Ga. 31776 or contact Oscar Grantham at (229) 890-1107.

MOULTRIE -- Since the Colquitt County Commission passed an ordinance earlier this week prohibiting the relocation of mobile homes older than 10 years into the county, the local government offices have been beset with calls complaining about the new law, which some say is tantamount to zoning.

Property owner Major Adderton, who rents numerous mobile homes in an area commonly referred to as Little Mexico, thinks the ordinance is too stringent. Adderton has been under fire from the county and the health department to clean up some of his properties.

"I think we need to have it to where we have some variances. A 10-year life span on a mobile home isn't long enough," he said. "They've found a book, and they're just going crazy finding rules. Ninety-nine percent of us weren't for these rules. They've adopted these rules themselves. They didn't get the opinion of the folks. They just went out and done it.

"If the home is intact, together and usable, they should be able to use it. They shouldn't have to have a rule condemning it just because it's an older mobile home," he said.

Bud Register, co-owner of Wayne Frier Home Center, said the new ordinance is "biased" and puts used mobile home sellers at a disadvantage. Register predicted an impact on 25 percent on his business.

"Fundamentally, it makes (business) difficult. A lot of folks with trading in a 10 year or older home, it's really going to limit us as far as doing business with them," he said.

Like Adderton, Register is not happy that the county did not discuss the ordinance with business people who may be affected by the change.

Inspections of the incoming mobile homes may be adequate to keep out undesirable properties, he said.

"You've got some that are 15 years old that look better than some of those I've got on my lot out here," he said. "I think it's really taking it to the extreme. There's certainly some situations where you've got just junk that probably doesn't need to be put out there, but at the same token I don't think you paint it with too broad of a brush."

Some mobile home dealers welcome the change. Brian Duck Halls of Halls Manufactured Homes is all for the new ordinance.

"I think there needs to be an age restriction. I also think that we need to expand upon that and say that all homes except from age 1990 and newer would be required to have a vinyl lap siding and shingle roof," Duck said.

"There's so many old, used homes out there. A lot of them in Colquitt County right now shouldn't even be lived in. ... The people who take advantage of the lower class folks and have those folks live in a rat hole, I don't agree with that," he said.

Duck expects substantial opposition to the new law, but he see the positive effects it'll have on new mobile home sales, on the community and on the caliber of rentals available.

"Fortunately, now that we have this law that restricts anything older than 10 years coming into the county, we don't have to worry about individuals, entrepreneurs or manufacture home dealers or builders bringing in all this old stuff and dumping it into Colquitt County," he said. "They won't have to live in a rat hole anymore."

Duck, who does deal with trade-ins, said the new law won't affect his business.

"Are we going to go through some growing pains with it? Yes. Do we need to have some variances in it for certain mitigating circumstances? Absolutely. Is it a bad ordinance? No, ma'am," he said.

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