Fresh out of college with a finance degree, Julie Spangenberger landed a job in the finance industry. A little over a year later her husband was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer and Julie followed him to Quantico, Virginia, pregnant with the first of the couple’s three girls. She has spent the past 22 years moving her family of five back and forth between Quantico, VA, Pensacola, FL and Okinawa, Japan before recently settling in Cherry Point, North Carolina.
Spangenberger volunteered briefly with the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society at Marine Corps Base Quantico while pregnant with her first child. “I went to the NMCRS office a couple of times before I delivered my baby, and my husband graduated from The Basic School and we PCS’d to our first duty station. So, when a friend mentioned the Society to me decades later, I remembered it, but didn’t know much about it. That’s what motivates me to make sure everyone knows about the Society today.”
Her added incentive to spread the word about the Society is that Spangenberger is now director of the NMCRS Cherry Point office. “A few years ago, when my youngest was old enough and I was ready to get back in the workforce, I didn’t have any current work experience,” she recalled. “A friend had mentioned volunteering with NMCRS and I thought that would be perfect because I could ‘work’ the hours that best suited my family’s schedule. We were living in Okinawa where there are limited job options for military spouses. My intention was to volunteer for a couple of months while trying to find a job. It turns out I enjoyed volunteering so much I kept doing it for a year. I was the lead volunteer for our financial boot camp workshop. I loved going to different units on the base to teach this class.”
When the family PCS’d to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Spangenberger quickly made her way to the NMCRS office to volunteer, serving as casework lead. While she was beginning to look for a job, former Cherry Point Director Vicki Wilson, announced her retirement, and Spangenberger decided to apply. Now Spangenberger is serving as director of NMCRS Cherry Point and also studying to become a certified financial planner. Spangenberger still has two daughters at home, so any time she’s not working or studying, she’s with her family.
As director, Spangenberger wants to focus on building stronger relationships with the base commands and leadership. “I plan to make contact with every command now and offer to brief them on what NMCRS can do for Marines and Sailors so, when the active duty fund drive comes around in March, they are familiar with our services and are excited to support us. I also want to build stronger working relationships with Marine Corps Community Services, American Red Cross, and the WIC program managers on the base. Working together, I believe we can provide the best possible services for Marines, Sailors, and their families.”
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso