Story by LCpl Isabelo Tabanguil on 06/12/2017
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society held an Active Duty Fund Drive awards ceremony for service members and civilians at the Officers' Club ballroom aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii on June 8, 2017.
The purpose of the ceremony was to recognize donations made by personnel stationed on MCB Hawaii, to raise active duty service members' awareness of the services provided by the NMCRS, and raise funds to help support the NMCRS.
"The Active Duty Fund Drive is an opportunity for active duty Marines and Sailors to give back to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society," said Cheryl Milca, the director of the NMCRS on MCB Hawaii. "It's that time of the year when they contribute to the organization, and in turn we take those funds and help service members in their time of need."
The mission of NMCRS is to provide financial, educational, and other need-based resources.
"It's important for Marines and Sailors to know that we are here for them," Milca said. "They shouldn't be turning to those high interest loans and high credit cards, when they can come over to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society for an interest free loan."
Judy Otero, a relief service assistant with the NMCRS, said that its important service members stay financially stable in order for them to work with less hassle.
"Our goal is to help unit commands ensure their Marines and Sailors are financially fit," Otero said. "When you're financially ready, you're mission ready. Once they leave our door, they have their finances together and they're able to focus on their deployments and their jobs."
Otero said the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provides a variety of services that service members can use in time of need.
"We see a lot of emergency travel assistance here on the island because it's so expensive," Otero said. "So if a mother, father, brother or sister falls ill or passes away we can assist getting off the island by providing airline tickets."
Lt. Col. Michael Brooks, the commanding officer of Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, said he is very grateful to the NMCRS and hopes service members continue to provide donations to help those in need.
"The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has a special place in my heart being prior enlisted years ago, and seeing all the good that they do," Brooks said. "Seeing the relief that comes from the Marines, Sailors and their families when they realize that they're getting assistance for situations they didn't know they could get out of."
Brooks said he's proud of the service members who gave donations, totaling up to $190,285, in order to keep the NMCRS open for personnel in financial trouble.
"I couldn't be happier that these men and women were able to open up their wallets and their hearts to keep the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society alive," Brooks said. "When you take the time to look Marines and Sailors in the eye and educate them why it's important to donate, why we're asking them for money with that understanding they're more likely to give."
To make donations, learn about the programs or volunteer to work at the NMCRS, visit the NMCRS website at http://www.nmcrs.org/locations/entry/kaneohe-bay.