While I was sitting in my office one day wondering what charity I should focus on this year, someone came in with questions about one of his people. My answer was to send him to Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society before the end of the day. Later that afternoon, a different situation but the same answer, and my decision was made for me. I can think of no better charity to donate to that provides for our men and women currently in uniform and the families who support them.
I remember the first time I was really at a loss. My car had broken down and I didn’t have enough money to get it fixed. I was probably 22 at the time, and there were a number of life lessons I hadn’t learned yet. With no other options, I went to NMCRS to ask for a loan.
After sitting with the counselor and talking about money, answering a number of questions, and going over my budget, my problem became pretty clear. The fact that my car broke down wasn’t the cause of my problems. I didn’t know how to manage money, so my car breaking down tipped my life over. It was the first time someone sat with me and talked about managing money, credit cards, and something as easy as balancing a checkbook.
Technically speaking, I knew how to do these things, but realistically, I didn’t know the act and habit of doing them consistently, so I was broke for no good reason and without a car in the middle of a Maine winter. It was humbling, but I asked for and received help in the form of a loan and learned tools to get my money in order. Twenty years later, I’ve built on what I learned during that afternoon and am thankful for that unpaid volunteer. Nowadays, I see versions of that younger Jamie floundering when life happens and Sailors find themselves in some sort of need. And still, The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is here. It’s one of the most common assistance resources people in my position call upon.
NMCRS is staffed mostly by volunteers who make themselves available to help our Sailors and Marines through some of the hardest and most difficult situations a person or family may ever encounter. They invest their emotional energy into strangers, and they receive nothing more than the thanks of those of us who have ever needed them. And yes, I still need them today and will need them for as long as I’m in this position trying to make people successful.
Since NMCRS cannot endorse or recommend any commercial product, process, or service, I have nothing to gain but the act of supporting. I get by giving, and though that usually means opportunity in my writing, in this case it means charity through my writing. Proceeds from every sale, subscription, or regular donation through the donate page will all go to NMCRS.
I can’t imagine anyone in my uniform who doesn’t have a story of NMCRS helping them or one of their people. We sometimes take their services and the volunteers who provide them for granted, and we forget that they give more than they get in money, time, and energy. For this reason, as well as their impact on my day job, I feel NMCRS is the single best charity organization I can speak to and champion.
It’s beyond the scope and word count of this post to tell you everything they offer, and I likely don’t even know it all. I can say for sure that they offer financial support, counseling, and grants. Their Quick Assist Loans have protected thousands from predatory payday lenders, their emergency travel program assists us in our darkest hours, and their education assistance program makes it possible for family members to pursue their educations. As impressive as that is, it’s just the beginning of their services, including visiting nurses for families in need as well as Post-Combat support.
Today, January 23rd, NMCRS celebrates 111 years of service. Check out their website at http://www.nmcrs.org. Connect with your local office on social media and look for ways to spread the word of their events.
If you see something on this page you like, buy it because you want it, not because of charity, but know that your purchase will help. Better yet, if there’s a fundraiser happening near you, participate. If there’s a Thrift Store near you, check it out. If there’s an office near you, volunteer. Your life will be better because of it. Their upcoming military fund drive will go from March 1st to April 30, so support if you can. I’ll be raising money for them all year.
Before signing off, I’d like to thank Andy for letting me participate in his fundraising for the Pan Mass Challenge. It was a great experience, and I hope I could add some value.
Have a great week out there.
My good thing: You’ve just read it.
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Note: Reference to any specific commercial products, process, service, manufacturer or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.