MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Service members at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, kicked off the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s annual fund drive at the Strike Zone Bowling Center Feb. 29, 2016.
Since 1904, the NMCRS has provided assistance to Marines, sailors and their families in times of need. By request of the commandant of the Marine Corps and the chief of naval operations, the NMCRS annually collects donations from active duty service members during March and April.
“Last year over $118,000 in relief was given out to Marines and sailors on this air station,” said Capt. Timothy Keane, Japanese jurisdiction officer with the Staff Judge Advocates Office. “One of the biggest things overseas is if a family member passes away back in the states. The NMCRS helped numerous sailors and Marines with airfare and lodging so they could go back home to be with their family during tough times.”
Representatives from NMCRS ensure the service members of each unit know what the fund drive is, how funds are used to help other service members and their families, and collect donations.
“They are a resource provider,” said Col. Robert V. Boucher, MCAS Iwakuni commanding officer. “People can walk in the door to find the services that they need. They truly are out to help our community and they do it day-in and day-out.”
Sgt. Maj. Darnell Richardson, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron sergeant major, said he likes donating because he enjoys giving back and plans to continue until he retires.
“I have been donating for the last 24 years,” said Richardson. “I was a young private first class who had to use it, so I’ve always liked to give back even though I have only used it that one time. When a Marine comes into my office and is either emotional or upset because they lost a relative or whatever the case may be, it’s good knowing that they have the funds available in order to get home. I would like for all of the Marines out there, especially H&HS, to support and donate.”