MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan’s 2017 Active-Duty Fund Drive in support of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society kicked off Feb. 24 at Strike Zone Bowling Center.
Station residents gathered at the bowling alley to celebrate the event, and they learned about the positive impact the NMCRS has had on MCAS Iwakuni’s community and its service members.
“It was a way to find the interests of our community, get them to attend and help us kick off the Active-Duty Fund Drive,” said Melissa Hornbrook, director of MCAS Iwakuni’s NMCRS.
The ADFD is an opportunity to educate service members about the NMCRS, a non-profit organization that runs solely on donations. It provides financial assistance to service members, their families, widows and survivors, with issues such as rent, food, medical bills, disaster assistance and other pay issues.
“It’s great because our donations help our sailors and Marines and their family members,” said U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Melissa Heisterberg, the 2017 ADFD lead coordinator. “You’re actually helping the people that you work with.”
MCAS Iwakuni was the highest donator per capita out of all Marine Corps instillations during 2016’s ADFD, with a total of approximately $101,000. This year the NMCRS intends to surpass last year’s fund drive by raising the goal to $105,000.
“I’m super, super impressed with the giving that Iwakuni has provided in the past, and we expect them to do the same this year,” said Hornbrook. “It’s amazing to show the type of support we have here and the understanding of what our purpose is as the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.”
Charity Navigator, an American independent charity evaluator organization, has given the NMCRS a four-star rating for three consecutive years. Only 14 percent of charities rated by Charity Navigator can say the same.
“The fact that we are in that 14 percent demonstrates to anyone who’s considering making a charitable donation to us that we honor what they donate,” said Hornbrook. “The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society values the donated dollar and I think that’s important.”
With 97 cents of every dollar going back to help service members, the NMCRS lives up to the standards and wishes of its donators by valuing their money and spending it wisely.
During the event U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Darnell T. Richardson, sergeant major of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, took the time to share a story about the first time he used the NMCRS.
“When I was a junior Marine I was traveling from North Carolina to New Jersey and our vehicle broke down,” said Richardson. “The head gasket was blown, and a few other maintenance repairs were needed. The bill added up to a lot so I utilized the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. They provided relief to me and my family so we could pay for the repairs and continue our trip.”
He’s been giving back to the NMCRS for the last 25 years.
Their long-term mission is to help service members become financially self-sufficient by teaching them to manage their personal finances and prepare for unplanned expenditures.
“It’s very helpful to the Marines and sailors on the base,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard F. Fuerst, commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni. “It just increases their overall readiness.”
To donate to the NMCRS, or for more information, contact 253-5311 or visit their website at www.nmcrs.org. The ADFD is scheduled to end on April 1st.