Mary WilsonOn behalf of the board of directors of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, it gives me great pleasure to commend Mary Wilson as the ninth recipient of the Mrs. Grace Glenwood Higginson Lifetime Achievement Award.

An incomparable leader, Mrs. Wilson has served the Ventura thrift shop with an inspiring devotion for 10 years. During her lengthy tenure as thrift shop lead, she has fostered an atmosphere of consideration and professionalism amongst a strong cadre of volunteers. With her compelling brand of matriarchal leadership, Mrs. Wilson cultivates an impressive sense of community amongst her committed team, and her infectious enthusiasm has inspired successive generations of volunteers to join the ranks.

Additionally, she’s introduced efficiencies and process improvements that, even in her first year at the helm, resulted in a 100% increase in revenue – with successive sales growth each year thereafter! Further, Mrs. Wilson has continually expanded the thrift shop’s services to address the changing needs of the military community, contributing to the financial self-sufficiency of military families. The enduring successes of the thrift shop may be traced to her management excellence and attention to detail in Building 829. Mrs. Wilson insists upon the careful inspection of each donated item for functionality and suitability before it is made available for sale. She also played an integral role in the 2012 command outreach project that resulted in a renovation of the building’s 40-year old roof. Amazingly, Mrs. Wilson and her team facilitated a complete renovation of the exterior building with donated materials.Mary Wilson 2

Never content to rest upon past laurels, she continues to embrace necessary changes and novel means to meet the changing needs of a vibrant base population. Mrs. Wilson’s initiatives have been sweeping, and range from the implementation of new store hours, to various special events including Saturday Sales and the Holiday Elf Workshop. Her impact during the past decade simple cannot be overstated, and total store proceeds during her tenure will top the half-million dollar mark in 2015.

Throughout, she has epitomized all that is finest in volunteer service and selfless commitment to our extended naval family. Mrs. Wilson’s spectacular performance, leadership and caring nature is most commendable, and in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society volunteer.

Steve Abbot

Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)



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