News: Okinawa units prepare for fund drive
Story by Lance Cpl. David Hersey
OKINAWA, Japan - Navy and Marine Corps units on Okinawa are preparing for the annual active-duty fund drive in support of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, scheduled March 8 through April 5.
A kick-off breakfast prior to the drive’s start is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. March 7 at the Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster. Brig. Gen. Craig Q. Timberlake, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade commanding general, will be the main speaker during the breakfast.
On the day the fund drive begins, Marines will receive a message via their Marine Online accounts when they log in. This will give them the opportunity to donate.
Additionally, each battalion and squadron-sized unit will designate a representative who will have contribution forms for the fund drive that authorize the Department of the Navy to deduct a consented amount from the service member’s monthly pay during the course of a year.
The NMCRS is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Department of the Navy, completely funded by charitable contributions, according to Erin E. Behrendt, the director of the NMCRS on Okinawa.
“The society is a private, volunteer-service organization,” said Behrendt. “As a center of excellence, we are committed to ensuring that all available resources are used to assist personnel of the naval services, active-duty, retired and eligible family members to achieve financial self-sufficiency and find solutions to emergency needs.”
The drive is an annual event sponsored by the Department of the Navy that provides each command the opportunity to raise money to support the NMCRS and the programs it offers, according to Maj. Thomas H. Koloski, the coordinator for the active-duty fund drive on Okinawa.
“It’s a chance for active-duty Marines and sailors to give to their community,” said Koloski. “Our goal is to give every active-duty service member the opportunity to donate to the program.”
Since its founding in 1904, the NMCRS has worked to provide financial and educational assistance for Marines, sailors and their families. It has done this by issuing interest-free loans, grants, scholarships and financial counseling to Marines, sailors and family members in need.
“It really helps with the stress financial problems can cause knowing there is someone who can help,” said Gunnery Sgt. Sonny J. Medina, the assistant coordinator of the drive.
Operating under the slogan, “It’s not about Marines and sailors giving more; it’s about more Marines and sailors giving,” the NMCRS has made it possible for active-duty service members to donate to the program and help Marines and sailors with financial difficulties.
“We know the Marines and sailors here are often busy,” said Koloski. “That is why we have made donating as easy and painless as possible.”
For more information on the annual active-duty fund drive or other programs offered through the NMCRS, contact the Camp Foster office at 645-7808 or the Camp Hansen office at 623-5043. To donate to the NMCRS, visit www.nmcrs.org and click the link “Donate Now.”