When Jeny Gilmore lived in Yokosuka, Japan in 2013 while her husband was stationed there, she worked for the USO. “I was a program manager and when I attended pre-deployment fairs or community events, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society was always set up nearby,” she recalled. Jeny had a good impression of the Society from working alongside those staff members.
So, when the Gilmore family PCS’d to Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, in July 2017, NMCRS was among the community organizations where Jeny hoped to find a job. When the NMCRS Fallon director position opened up, Jeny applied and was hired, officially taking over in January 2018 when the previous director retired. “When I was working for the USO I loved helping service members, and I’d heard great things about the Society.”
Born and raised in Idaho, Jeny’s first trip out of the state was when she married her husband in 2009 and stayed in Idaho while her husband was on unaccompanied orders in Misawa, Japan. “That was my introduction to the military lifestyle,” she said. Jeny’s dad served in the Vietnamese Navy before she was born, but she never experienced life as a military kid.
NAS Fallon is a small base, with fewer than 900 active duty personnel. “This is where Top Gun training is held,” Jeny explained. “Squadrons come here from all over the U.S. to train and practice flying before a deployment. Sometimes our business is slow but we’re busier when squadrons and the Air Group are here.” Jeny said client needs vary, but her office handles a lot of requests for Quick Assist Loans, emergency leave and travel, and financial assistance for basic living expenses.
When she’s not working, Jeny is with her family. “I have two kids—a 14-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, so they keep me pretty busy. We like to do different activities and travel to visit family. My parents and my husband’s parents are both within a six-hour drive, and Lake Tahoe is close so we go there a lot.”
There are a couple of long-time volunteers at NMCRS Fallon, but Jeny hopes to recruit more volunteers. She’s working hard to improve the office’s Facebook page, participates in activities around the base, and speaking to commands and spouse clubs. “We need communicators, caseworkers, receptionists, and record keepers. There’s something for anyone who wants to volunteer a couple of hours a week or a month,” she said.
Being part of a military family for the past nine years means that Jeny brings to her job firsthand experience with the struggles of the military lifestyle. “I have a pretty good understanding of what our clients are experiencing,” she said. “I’ve had friends at every duty station who’ve struggled financially, so it helps me relate to those who come into our office for help. I feel like it’s my calling to work with service members—my way to give back to those who serve.”
Welcome aboard Jeny!
If you, or someone you know is interested in volunteering with NMCRS, please direct them to www.nmcrs.org/volunteer.
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso