NMCRS celebrates National Volunteer Week
by Maureen Farrell
Director Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Patuxent River Office
The Patuxent River Office of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society celebrated National Volunteer Week at a luncheon hosted by Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge on April 19 at the Army Navy Country Club. The luncheon recognized volunteers from the three offices operating in the National Capitol Region, which includes offices at NAS Patuxent River, the Washington Navy Yard and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. The theme, "Volunteers: Our good fortune since 1904," highlighted the history of assistance to Navy and Marine Corps families by Society volunteers for more than 108 years.
In 2011, volunteers at the Patuxent River Office recorded more than 8500 hours of service as caseworkers, client service assistants, layette volunteers working on the Budget for Baby Program, knitting or crocheting afghans for the baby seabags and our active duty After Hours Assistance Program Chiefs. During that time volunteers assisted active duty and retired service members and their families with more than $236,000 in interest-free loans and grants during times of financial emergencies, 24/7 at Patuxent River. Last year the Patuxent River Office branched out to assist service members by opening an Emergency Service Office at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division. Now clients can be assisted as needed by Religious Program Specialist Petty Officer 2nd Angelo Martinez at the Chaplain's office, without having to travel to the Washington Navy Yard or Patuxent River.
Hourly awards were given out to many from the Patuxent River Office. Aviation Electrionics Technician Chief Petty Officer Andre Bembry, Dominic Bernardi, Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Chief Petty Officer Noah Bibb, Susan Blake, Aircrew Survival Equipmentman Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Kristian Brown, Aviation Machinist's Mate Chief Petty Officer Craig Caffrey, Ginger Commerford, William Curry, Aviation Electrician's Mate Chief Petty Officer Antonio Dantzler, Carrie Kopsch, Aviation Support Technician Chief Petty Officer Hope Kulaszewski, Aviation Electrician's Mate Chief Petty Officer Travis Mandigo, Chief Petty Officer Susan Mann, Religious Program Specialist Petty Officer 2nd Class Angelo Martinez, Aviation Electrionics Technician Chief Petty Officer Duane Plymel, Janice Portnoy, Kathy Rixey, Chief Logistics Specialist Louis Rodriguez and Cindy Stevenson were each recognized for 100 hours of service. Aviation Electrician's Mate Chief Petty Officer Randall Asburry, Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Mike Chick, Maria Fleming, Scott Johnson, Aviation Electrionics Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Mattison, Virginia McKeen, Lucrecia Parker, Aviation Electrician's Mate Chief Petty Officer Patrick Powell, Chief Michael Ragan, Amelia Ryan and Patrice Ryan each received awards for 300 hours of service. Maria Fleming, Air Traffic Controller Chief Petty Officer Debra Henningfeld, Gwynith Jones, Air Traffic Controller Chief Petty Officer Robert Kanning, Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Ben Lessner, Naval Counselor Chief Petty Officer Ryan Marlatt and Lindsay Trott were recognized for 500 volunteer hours. Aviation Boatswain's Mate Aircraft Handler Chief Petty Officer John Dobey, Debra Henningfeld, Robert Kanning, Naval Counselor Chief Petty Officer Ryan Marlatt and Communications Technician (Technical Branch) Chief Petty Officer Neftali Vargas each was recognized for 600 hours of service.
A special award was presented to Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Ben Lessner. Lessner received the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Meritorious Service Award for his exceptional volunteer service as chairman of the After Hours Assistance Program from Dec. 2009 through May 2012. During his tenure, Lessner managed the schedule, filled in vacancies, answered questions, solved problems and worked tirelessly to ensure close personal contact and communication with clients, office staff and the other active duty volunteers in the program. Lessner has encouraged new Chiefs arriving at Patuxent River to become involved in the After Hours Assistance Program, and with his leadership the program has maintained a high standard of excellence in service to Navy and Marine Corps service members in need after regular office hours.
For more information about Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society services or volunteer opportunities, contact Maureen Farrell at 301-342-4739 or maureen.farrellnmcrs.org or visit www.nmcrs.org.