By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
Nearly three decades ago, as a young E3 in the Marine Corps, William Beath needed help. “We were newly married and had just PCSd to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Orange County, California. Our household goods hadn’t arrived yet, and we had nothing.” Because their belongings were en route, it didn’t make sense to buy new things, but at the same time Bill and his wife needed to cook meals and set up house. “My leaders pointed me to the Society and I got the help I needed. Back then the Society had a loan locker. They gave me a big trunk of things to borrow,” he recalled. “After that experience, I was always talking about the Society and giving back to them because they helped me in my time of need.” Later, when Bill was working in personnel, he sent many Marines who needed funds to take emergency leave to the Society for assistance. While serving in Okinawa, Japan, Bill was the Active Duty Fund Drive Coordinator for his unit.
Retiring in August 2016 as a Chief Warrant Officer-5 with 28 years in the Marine Corps, Bill was seeking a new challenge. “Last year, I earned an MBA and I told my wife that, when I retired, I wanted to do something different. What drew me to the Society was the opportunity to give back. As I got closer to retirement, I thought about how I was a young enlisted Marine who needed assistance and how, as I advanced through the ranks, I understood the value of what the Society does for servicemen and women.”
“I feel like I’m the most fortunate person to fall into this job. I get to do what I love—help people. I have the best team, including a Relief Service Assistant (RSA) who’s worked here for 11 years and brings great perspective about what the kinds of client needs we’ve seen in the past and what’s helped them, and another RSA who previously volunteered as chair of volunteers at another NMCRS office. My deputy director did a tremendous job keeping the office running smoothly while the director billet was vacant. They’ve all taught me so much already.”
So far in his three-month tenure with the Society, Bill has seen mostly requests from clients for quick assist loans and financial assistance for vehicle repairs; however, he knows that his office is one of the larger NMCRS offices and helps clients with a wide variety of needs for financial assistance. “My goal is for NMCRS Camp Pendleton to become a benchmark for other full service offices.” He plans to reach that goal by creating an outstanding office environment. “All great organizations foster a team that feels valued, heard, and understood. When people are happy, they’re more productive. I strive to make this a pleasant place to be – whether you’re a client, volunteer, or staff member. This is a great opportunity to assist Marines and Sailors—they’re still the reason I come to work every day. They do have to put up with my corny jokes, though.”