MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Mona Padrick lit the room when she entered, the petite blonde shared words and joyful laughs with the small crowd gathered to celebrate the conclusion of a 16-year adventure.
Padrick celebrated her upcoming retirement at the Onslow Chamber of Commerce in Jacksonville, N.C. The 11-year chamber president was an advocate to the community and helped both leaders of corporations and owners of home based businesses succeed.
As a native to the area, Padrick realized the role of the military in Onslow County and continued her efforts for the service members in the region. From Project CARE to the Military Affairs Committee, the Onslow Chamber of Commerce does its fair share to assist local service members.
Project CARE provides assistance to families of deployed military personnel as well as local businesses that may suffer because of large-scale deployments. It also provides a means of boosting community spirit through appreciation events and other activities during the difficult times the military community may face, according to their website.
The Military Affairs Committee keeps a link between the installations in the region and local businesses. The group also honors a service member of the month.
“I’ve been around military members all of my life,” said Padrick. Her parents, both civil employees, often welcomed Marines to their home during the holidays.
However, it wasn’t until her time as president that she truly understood what the military was about.
Despite not having any personal experience herself, Padrick said she’s developed an understanding of the lifestyle.
“I didn’t know much about the mission, protocol or the training,” said Padrick. “I’ve been able to understand many aspects of the military experience (in her time at the chamber). I’m very proud to have been accepted by the military folks here, to have them let me see what they do.”
Padrick experienced aircraft simulators and shot a weapon while serving the chamber.
“I know (the military) will keep on doing what they do and do it well,” said Padrick. “We are proud of them.”
Padrick is pleased of her time serving the area, and looks forward to remaining involved in between her travels and new adventures.