MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – For 110 years , the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) provides active duty and retired Marines and sailors, as well as their families, with emergency financial assistance.
Last year, MARSOC collected over $7,000 toward donations and the NMCRS distributed $53,729 to the Marines and sailors of MARSOC East alone. Halfway into this year's fund drive, MARSOC wants to emphasize that every contribution counts and donations are still being accepted.
"The NMCRS fund drive is an opportunity for MARSOC to give back to an organization that has done so much for our Marines and sailors in their time of need," said Maj. Kevin Kratzer, the 2014 NMCRS coordinator for MARSOC. "Our goal is to create maximum awareness among our Marines and sailors, and explain to them exactly what their donations can do for those who find themselves in financial distress," added Kratzer.
To help reinforce the importance of donating, Jesey McManus, the NMCRS relief services assistant from the Camp Lejeune NMCRS office, spoke to the MARSOC headquarters during a NMCRS presentation held at the beginning of the fund drive, March 8.
"The NMCRS puts every dollar received toward aiding Marines and sailors," explained McManus. "All donations are tax deductible and go toward some sort of relief service, ranging from groceries to child care."
As a testimony to the many benefits servicemembers in need can receive from the NMCRS, GySgt. Michael Nastasi, the communications chief and NMCRS fund drive coordinator for Marine Special Operations Support Group shared his personal experience with the group.
"Many moons ago when I was a PFC stationed in Okinawa, my grandfather had passed away. At that time I couldn't afford the $1,800 plane ticket from Naha to the U.S., explained Nastasi. "The NMCRS stepped in when I really needed them the most, and helped me pay for the ticket. To this day I am grateful for their service and the assistance they provided me."
This year's drive will continue through April 15. Forms have already been distributed to the various commands within MARSOC. Allotments are the preferable method of contributing; however, cash donations are also accepted.
"The allotments are easy and reliable," noted Kratzer. "We haven't quite reached our goal for this year's fund drive yet, which is why we are reminding our Marines and sailors that there is still time to make a donation."
The annual fund drive is important to the successful operation of NMCRS. It almost entirely supports the service that NMCRS provides to the Camp Lejeune area.
Throughout the year, NMCRS will provide financial assistance to eligible recipients for a number of different reasons. Funds are provided in the form of interest-free loans and grants to meet emergency needs or need-based scholarships and interest-free loans for educational purposes. The society also provides a number of different services to those in need. These include budget counseling services, food lockers, infant layettes, thrift shops and visiting nurse services.
Those who are eligible for assistance include active duty and retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel, eligible family members of active duty and retired personnel, eligible family members of Navy and Marine Corps personnel who died on active duty or during retirement, reservists on extended active duty, indigent mothers, 65 years or older, of deceased service members who have limited resources and no family to provide for their welfare and un-remarried former spouses whose marriage to a servicemember lasted for at least 20 years while the servicemember was on active duty.
"At the end of the day, you never know when a financial emergency might present itself," added Kratzer. "When something does come up, it usually exceeds an individual's savings. As Marines and sailors we pride ourselves on being able to take care of own. That's where the NMCRS comes into play, and why it is important to donate each year."
To find out more about the NMCRS or for additional information about the drive, contact Jesey McManus at (910) 451-5584. Also, Maj. Kevin Kratzer, the 2014 NMCRS coordinator for MARSOC, can be reached at (910) 440-2733.