By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
When Casie Flippin married her high school sweetheart two weeks after graduating from college she was confident she would master the Marine Corps lifestyle—no problem. Then the newly-married couple moved four times in two-and-a-half years so her husband could complete pilot training. Meanwhile, Casie was trying to earn her teaching license and was substitute teaching. Turns out military life was harder than she anticipated.
“I thought he would have his job and I would have mine,” Casie recalled. “But I was getting swallowed by the terminology and we were never in one place long enough for me to meet anyone or have a career.” In Pensacola, Florida, a friend introduced her to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. “I started volunteering and had instant friends!” she said.
Casie continued to volunteer for the Society while teaching high school biology and giving birth twice. Her daughter is three and her son, who was born the day her husband deployed with the 22nd MEU, is nine months old. Her NMCRS family supported Casie through her husband’s deployment. “I had somebody to talk to. There were other volunteers who had been through that too. They threw me a baby shower and made meals for me to have on hand. They called and checked up on me at the hospital. I brought the baby by the office soon after he arrived.”
“Everybody is so welcoming at every NMCRS office,” Casie said. “There’s this sense of community, where you belong somewhere even if you just moved there an hour ago. Everyone is there for you.”
Casie was serving as the chair of volunteers in the New River, North Carolina NMCRS office when her son was born, which gave her the flexibility to come in for a few hours as her young family’s scheduled allowed. In May, Casie was hired as the director of the office, when the previous director relocated with her husband to their new duty station.
“Helping service members gave me a glimpse into the different struggles that military families have,” Casie explained. “I understand where they’re coming from.”
NMCRS New River is across the New River and about 30 minutes away from NMCRS Camp Lejeune, and the two offices work closely together. “We work hand in hand with NMCRS Camp Lejeune and often share resources. Service members can go to whichever office they want to and, if we don’t have appointments available, we call over there and see what’s available, or vice versa.”
As director, Casie plans to focus on publicizing NMCRS programs and services, including taking some of their programs to the military commands and units—instead of requiring all clients to come to the NMCRS office. “We’re trying to conduct our budget for baby workshops out in the workplaces by coordinating with each unit’s family readiness officer. We’re also coordinating with the USMC units on Camp Geiger, and hope to be invited to brief their new recruits about NMCRS so they will know they can turn to the Society when they need financial assistance.”
Welcome aboard, Casie!