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Pendleton takes care of its own with annual NMCRS fund drive

Starting April 1, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton begins its month-long fund drive for Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), an organization whose sole purpose is to help Marines, sailors and their families.

Since Jan. 23, 1904, the Society has existed with a mission to provide financial, educational and other assistance to members of the U.S. Naval Service, their family members and survivors whenever the need arises.

“Last year’s amount topped $47 million in aid for the Department of the Navy,” said Mike Hire, NMCRS director. “When the Society help the troops solve problems, they are able to focus on their mission instead of worrying about financial difficulties.”

In order to provide for so many Marines and sailors, NMCRS relies on the support of the service members themselves.

“The annual fund drive is the major source of funding for NMCRS, and is the most important source of funds because it truly is the troops taking care of their own,” said Hire. “All proceeds collected during this drive will remain here specifically to aid Camp Pendleton occupants.”

The message of this year’s drive is “It takes all hands: It’s not about sailors and Marines giving more; it’s about more sailors and Marines giving - the question is, would you commit $5 a month to help a shipmate?”

The NMCRS has helped many troops through tough times, which has inspired some to give back.

“When I was a young lance corporal, my car engine blew out and the NMCRS helped me when I needed it most,” said Lt. Col. Roswell Dixon, NMCRS fund drive coordinator, MCB Camp Pendleton. “I’ve always appreciated them for that. Since then, I’ve donated every year because I want to know they will continue to be there for other Marines.”

Over the years, NMCRS has increased its efforts to help more of those in need, but more funds are required.

“From the mid 90’s until 2006, the average assistance provided to service members and their families at Camp Pendleton averaged $2 million annually,” said Hire. In 2009, the amount jumped to nearly $5 million in emergency aid alone.”

Last year, the local base offices also provided $3.1 million in interest-free loans, $381,069 in grants, facilitated 8,195 financial assistance cases, provided 4,672 quick-assist loans and facilitated 908 non-financial cases.

For more information visit any of bases NMCRS office, located at Bldg. 1121 on Mainside and in Bldg. 520512 at the School of Infantry or call the fund drive office at (760) 763-6200 / 4683 or log onto http://www.nmcrs.org.

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