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Col. David Maxwell, base commander, Marine Corps Base Quantico, fills out his Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society contribution form after the NMCRS fund drive kick-off meeting at Little Hall on March 18, 2013. This year’s monetary goal is $175,000 and 100 percent contact.

Photo by Cpl. Antwaun L. Jefferson

Where your money is really going

29 Mar 2013 | Cpl. Antwaun L. Jefferson Marine Corps Base Quantico

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provides need-based financial assistance and other services to members of the Naval Services of the United States eligible family members and survivors. With nearly 250 NMCRS offices helping thousands of service members every year, there are many who are helped aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Some may believe their money is not really helping service members or that their donations won’t matter but Petty Officer 3rd Class Melmath Smith, aviation physiology technician, Naval Health Clinic Quantico, and Pfc. Nicolas Todd, data defense message specialist, Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Center, would definitely disagree with that.

Early this year, Smith’s father was diagnosed with Stage 4Lung Cancer and had two weeks to live. Smith immediately flew home to visit his father. His family was not only in grief for what was soon to pass, but also was worried about how they were going to pay the funeral costs. The family managed to come up with half of the money but they were still short $3,000.  

Smith knew the NMCRS might be able to handle matters like this. He gave them a call and they told him that he could do a no-interest loan with payments coming directly out of his pay check, stretched over time until the loan was paid off. During the meeting with the NMCRS councilor, they went over Smith’s budget to see which program would benefit him the most and, by the next day, father’s funeral was paid for.

“I really wasn’t certain if they were going to be able to help me,” Smith said. “But after we went over everything, they assured me things could be taken care of. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and I felt relieved.

“Don’t let your pride get in the way. It’s not a charity, they are here to help.”

Then there is Todd who just came from a family funeral in his hometown Mobile, Ala., and after a few weeks back on base, found out his nephew needed brain surgery. After the costly trip he had just came from, he was unable to pay to go back home. He contacted the NMCRS for help.

“They were very polite and understanding of the situation,” Smith said. “After going over a budget, they were able to give much more than I even needed. Instead of taking the $1,200, I just took the 750 that I really needed and I was able to head back home. There would have been no way I would have been able to see my nephew soon after the surgery if it wasn’t for the society. I’m very thankful.”

There are more than 800 cases where Quantico-based service members were helped in some way last year.

This year’s fund drive will continue through April 29 with a goal to raise $175,000. Whether it’s a dollar a month or a lump sum of $100, every little bit counts. 

“We don’t use any of the money that is donated for administrative costs like other programs do,” said Presha Merritt, executive director, NMCRS Quantico. “Every cent that comes in, goes right back out to our active duty service members and their families. If people knew more about the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, they would understand better why it is so important to donate.”

For information about the NMCRS, visit their offices located in Little Hall on the second deck or call 703-784-9754.

Marine Corps Base Quantico