MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Senior leaders and family readiness officers with 1st Marine Logistics Group recognized more than 45 volunteers for their support in improving troop welfare and morale through the Family Readiness Program during a small get-together aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., April 27, 2014.
While the FROs may organize and host events, FRP volunteers provide the necessary manpower to run events and activities, helping out where they can and interacting with the Marines and sailors to build rapport.
“We appreciate what [the volunteers] do for us,” said Kristy Harris, FRO with Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st MLG, and native of Jacksonville, N.C. “We can’t do our job without their support.”
The volunteers acknowledged at the event worked closely with the FROs before to host recreational activities on base for Marines, sailors and families. They also provide care packages for currently deployed servicemembers with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, CLR-15, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, Headquarters Regiment, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Dental Battalion and subordinate commands.
During the get-together, Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, commanding general, 1st MLG, addressed the crowd and explained the importance of the volunteers to the welfare of service members with 1st MLG and beyond.
“Volunteers don’t do this seeking recognition,” said Coglianese, of Springlake, N.J. “They’re selfless. It’s important to recognize them and to thank them because they take the time from their busy lives to help our Marines and sailors.”
Commanding officers from each unit with 1st MLG attended the gathering and met the volunteers from their respective units, showing their gratitude and honoring their efforts.
What makes FRP volunteers so valuable is their familiarity with military life, their relationships to the servicemembers and their ability to provide insights that FROs and senior leadership might otherwise not be able to infer.
“Most volunteers are either current spouses, former spouses or they have a family member in the military,” said Libby Worman, FRO with CLB-15, and native of Louisville, Ky. “They have a special connection to the Marines and sailors. They’re a valuable source of information and they tell us what the morale of the battalion is like. Because of this, volunteers are the lifeblood for the FRP and they’re integral to making events happen.”
Ultimately, the volunteers do this because they genuinely care about the welfare of servicemembers and spouses, having been in the same shoes.
“It’s important for me to help, because I know what it’s like to be a military spouse,” said Lahoma Harper, a volunteer with the CLR-1 FRP. “I want to be here for the younger wives and their spouses, so I can let them know what kind of resources are available to them and improve their quality of life.”
“We understand what the service members and spouses go through,” added Harper, of Livingston, La. “I like helping people. At the end of the day, our servicemembers are the reason why we’re able to live like this. I respect them and I think they’re heroes. If I can make their lives just a bit better, then that’s enough for me.”