On behalf of the board of directors of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, it gives me great pleasure to commend Rosemary Cronk as the 12th recipient of the Mrs. Grace Glenwood Higginson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Since joining the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society in 1994, Mrs. Cronk’s wonderful volunteer spirit and gentle compassion have made an indelible difference in countless lives. Initially joining the San Diego Auxiliary, she soon came to call the OLF Imperial Beach thrift shop home. For more than 21 years, she’s served as the thrift shop lead – working for three different directors and motivating countless volunteers. Through it all, Mrs. Cronk has amply demonstrated her great people skills, and has developed an enviable reputation as a superb leader who remains flexible while working and managing the different demands of generations of volunteers and customers.
“Holding down the fort and rolling with the punches,” she is one of the Society’s self-effacing, unsung heroes. Her decades-long commitment to professionalism and customer appreciation at the thrift shop has long-been reflected in the well-organized operation and helpful, outgoing staff – and in her tireless efforts to maintain adequate thrift shop staffing, training and professionally arranged merchandise. Mrs. Cronk also has a great sense of humor and a sincere affection for her team, and works hard to create an inclusive culture where volunteers feel like family and are supportive of one other.
Further, she understands the need for constructive change. Change that’s necessary to support the needs of successive generations of naval families. Throughout, she’s repeatedly welcomed new training, new forms, updated manuals and changing procedures – all to guarantee that her team remains relevant and ready to provide the best service to military families. Historically, the thrift shop averages $38,000 and serves approximately 3,900 clients annually. Over her 21-year span, it’s estimated that Mrs. Cronk has managed nearly $800,000 in total receipts from approximately 82,000 customers! In recognition of her outstanding work, she received a Superior Performance award in 1997, a Meritorious Service Award in 2009 and the Presidential Certificate of Commendation in 2013. With over 14,000 service hours to her credit, she embodies all that is best in servant leadership.
Her tremendous work ethic and positive attitude are most worthy of recognition, and it is an honor to celebrate Mrs. Cronk as the Society’s twelfth recipient of the Mrs. Grace Glenwood Higginson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)