MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- As a member of today’s military, the idea of deploying overseas is nothing short of a reality. In support of the Global War on Terrorism, Marines are spending anywhere from six to 12 months at a time in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And although it’s the Marines who find themselves in physical peril on a daily basis, many forget about the family who is left behind. That’s where the Marine Corps utilizes the Key Volunteer Program; an organization dedicated to making sure no spouse or child is forgotten.
The Key Volunteer Network is a communication network, formed within a unit, to help keep families informed about the missions and tasks of that unit, according to Marine Corps Order 1754.6. By achieving and maintaining a high level of “family readiness,” individual Marines are able to perform their assigned missions efficiently, effectively and safely, which promotes a higher state of unit readiness.
“It never fails,” said Marcy J. Bare, the KV Coordinator for Camp Johnson. “When your husband deploys, your car breaks down and you’ve got no way to pay for it. The network can help point you in the right direction for whatever assistance you need.”
In honor of all the government volunteers who selflessly serve those in uniform, the Commandant of the Marine Corps signed All Marine Message 012/06, which put the National Volunteer Appreciation week into effect.
April 23 – 29 was set aside to recognize the countless volunteers who selflessly give their time, talent and energy to improve our country, our communities and our Marine Corps family. The contribution of those who work tirelessly without receiving a paycheck is invaluable.
To celebrate, various KV programs from units across the base recently gathered at the Officer’s Club for the 3rd Annual Key Volunteer Appreciation Night.
“The event gave Marines the opportunity to show their gratitude for everything the KV Program has done for them,” said Bare. “Commanding officers handed out certificates of appreciation to key volunteers from their specific unit.”
To be eligible for the program, an applicant must be appointed, in writing, by the spouse’s CO. Potential key volunteers must undergo a mandatory eight-hour training process before becoming a full-fledged member.
“The KV training consists of teaching spouses how to handle different problems in a respectful and ethical manner, a brief history of the Marine Corps and a number of other skills a basically trained key volunteer would need,” said Bare.
One of the biggest problems Bare has noticed in her nine months as the Camp Johnson KV Coordinator is the misconception of spouses who aren’t attached to a deploying unit. Although it’s one of the most important responsibilities, there’s more to the program than just supporting the families of Marines who deploy.
“Many wives resent the military and want to distance themselves from it because it has taken away their husbands,” said Bare. “Through this program, wives can meet others who share their same view and, together, can learn about their husband’s job and how to appreciate it. It’s all about providing a service to one another.”
At the end of the day, this program rests solely on the shoulders of its namesake, the Key Volunteers, according to Bare. Without people who are willing to give their time and themselves, the network is non-existent.
“It’s a really worthwhile program that can help families in ways they’re not even aware of,” said Bare. “If a Marine is called to go, he can rest assured that his family will be looked after and genuinely cared for while he’s gone. With no distractions, he can focus on the job at hand and make it back home safe.”
For more information on the Key Volunteer Program, go to http://www.usmc-mccs.org/kvn/index.cfm. To become a member, contact your unit’s KV Coordinator or Family Readiness Officer.