MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Before there were benefits for service members and their families, an avenue to help Marines and sailors struggling financially became necessary. The United States, still in its embryonic phase, couldn’t afford to provide a benefits package for its service members. In 1904, several naval officers, wives of naval officers, and civilian friends saw the need for more formal and organized assistance, according to the official Navy Marine Corps Relief Society website.
For more than a century, NMCRS has continued to provide financial assistance to service members and their families. Today, the Combat Center, like many Navy and Marine Corps installations, provides assistance from the relief society via, a website, and an office on base where service members can apply.
“We provide a resource for service members when they need assistance and guidance or when they encounter an unexpected financial issue,” said Raymond Caldwell, director, NMCRS Twentynine Palms Office. “Financial issues are typically one of the most stressful issues a young service member or young family can have. Having a resource like this one helps service members feel secure and safe when confronting financial obstacles.”
As a non-profit organization, the NMCRS relies on its volunteers and support from donations to continue providing help.
“We are a volunteer-based organization. Many of them are spouses of service members and every volunteer has a heart to serve,” Caldwell said. “The Combat Center’s office has been so successful because of our volunteers. Their hard work allows us to provide the support.”
The NMCRS office offers counseling on financial budgeting, grants, payment plans and loans in the form of allotments.
Representatives listen to all requests and each situation is approved or disapproved for monetary support on a case-by-case basis.
“I think it’s a great program and it takes pressure off of Marines when they’re going through a crisis,” said Master Sgt. Marianna Martinez, base-wide fund drive coordinator. “No matter what you’re going through, they will be there to help you and they would never turn someone away.”
For more information on the program, how to donate, or how to apply for financial assistance, contact the NMCRS Twentynine Palms Office at 830-6323 or visit the organization’s website at www.nmcrs.org.