MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society personnel and service members aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune gathered together at the Ball Center on base to honor volunteers who have made a difference in the lives of Marines, sailors and their families, during the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Volunteer Awards and Recognition Ceremony, May 12.
“We want to take time to acknowledge our volunteers and thank them for what they’ve done,” said Leanne Couillard, NMCRS Chair of Volunteers. “We want to recognize them in front of their spouses and spouses’ commanders. It is important for (the commanders) to see what the volunteers are doing for their Marines and sailors.”
The NMCRS is a nonprofit organization that provides financial, educational, and emergency relief aid to active and retired Marines and sailors and their families in times of need. It was founded in 1904 and has more than 3,600 volunteers worldwide, 41 of them currently serving at Camp Lejeune.
These 41 volunteers fill a number of different roles such as caseworkers, client service assistants, Budget for Baby Class instructors and assistants, layette workers, office hospitality, visiting nurse assistants, administrative, and public relations volunteers.
The event kicked off with a deluxe breakfast buffet. Afterward, retired Col. William “Bill” Meier, base executive officer for MCB Camp Lejeune and the event’s guest speaker, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the service members and their families for the volunteers’ time and dedication.
“Thank you to every one of the volunteers,” said Meier. “Your satisfaction is when the Marine or sailor walks out and you know they’ve been helped. It’s all in your heart and we do nothing but applaud you.”
Volunteers were given pins, bags and other tokens of appreciation based on their number of cumulative work hours. Couillard and Mrs. Diane Ayala, wife of Brig. Gen. Juan G. Ayala, commanding general of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, also received recognition for their leadership roles in the volunteer efforts.
Ruth McDonough, a volunteer with NMCRS and wife of Lt. Col. John McDonough, commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, who is currently deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan, said the NMCRS was a great resource for service members and she was proud to be a part of such a great support system. McDonough added it was an honor to be recognized, but even more rewarding to work with great people for a selfless cause.
“It’s nice to be here today, but every day I go into the office, (the NMCRS staff) does a great job of making the volunteers feel appreciated,” said McDonough. “I never leave the office without a thank you.”
Stephen Rosenthal, McDonough’s father, traveled from California to North Carolina to visit his daughter and four grandchildren, and said he was excited to see his daughter and the other volunteers get recognized for their services.
“I’ve always been proud of her,” said Rosenthal. “I’m a people person and when I see people helping other people, it makes me feel warm. If there were more of that warmth, we’d have a much better world. It’s wonderful.”