As a Marine spouse since 2003, Annette Taboada-Ingle wanted to be more than simply a dependent. “The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a great opportunity for spouses to be involved and contribute,” Taboada-Ingle said. “Volunteering with the Society, I feel like I’m a part of the Marine Corps.”
For her first several years as part of a Marine Corps family, Taboada-Ingle was working a full-time job while earning her graduate degree in counseling and raising her two young children. When she finally had time to volunteer, she started at NMCRS Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. “I wanted to do something where I could use my skills and contribute to the Marine Corps,” she said. Taboada-Ingle began as a client services assistant (CSA), processing quick assist loans, taking on a variety of office tasks, and providing office support in the well-baby. Then her family PCSd to Marine Corps Base Twentynine Palms, California. “At NMCRS Twentynine Palms I grew and learned a lot,” she explained. She served as CSA lead, then became casework lead, and spent a year volunteering nearly full-time doing casework.
“It’s been a great way for me to share in what my husband does,” Taboada-Ingle said. “I feel involved and that I’m helping service members who need assistance. I know the Society really helps families. Whenever someone comes in requesting assistance, I think, ‘if the Society wasn’t there, who would they turn to?’”
“My husband has gotten involved in the Society too. He was the representative for the active duty fund drive this year. So, not only am I supporting him, but he’s supporting me. We both think the mission of the Society is worthwhile.”
During her tenure at NMCRS Twentynine Palms, Taboada-Ingle helped with cases such as a service member struggling to make child support payments, and a military spouse who had experienced domestic violence and didn’t have access to her husband’s pay because he was incarcerated. “We assisted her with money for food and gas and travel expenses to get home to her family,” Taboada-Ingle recalled.
In addition to doing traditional casework, Taboada-Ingle completed the requirements for the military accredited financial counselor program, enhancing her already solid skills. “I really enjoy the education part of casework, and really helping the young service members with their finances. It’s a great niche for me and a way to combine my counseling degree with helping people. The program gave me a more in-depth understanding of financial counseling.”
Last summer Taboada-Ingle brought her new skills to Stuttgart, Germany, when her family PCSd there. The NMCRS office in Stuttgart is an emergency service office, which operates under the auspices of the full service NMCRS office in Rota, Spain. “We have only two volunteers right now, plus I’m the chair of volunteers, and we have our active duty representative, who happens to be my husband,” Taboada-Ingle said. “Recruiting new volunteers is one of our goals. We would love to have more volunteer caseworkers.”
Despite the small number of clients in NMCRS Stuttgart, the office conducts Budget for Baby classes for local military and civilian families, thanks to a grant provided by the local spouses club. Taboada-Ingle works closely with the Marine Forces Europe/Africa command to support families in the area.
From both coasts of the US to Europe, Annette Taboada-Ingle has demonstrated her commitment to the Society and the Marine Corps and her willingness to help service members and their families, wherever she is.
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso