Like many military moms whose husbands are deployed, Cindy McKim was home alone with her two-year-old son and longed for some adult conversation. While her husband, now retired, was working as a maintenance technician on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Cindy was back home in Everett, Washington. In 2004, Cindy learned that the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society reimbursed volunteers for child care and signed up to volunteer. “I had heard of the Society and knew my sister and her husband, who were a Navy family, had used it, and other people I knew had used it, so I knew it was a good place,” she said.
“They threw me right into casework,” she recalled. “I always liked numbers and accounting. My degree is in business administration. I enjoy looking at budgets, so it was a good fit. I like making it work and seeing that bottom line. I still balance my checkbook to the penny.”
In 2007 Cindy’s family PCSed to Camp Pendleton. Cindy applied for relief services assistant positions at local offices, and was hired at North Island. “It was perfect timing, as one of the RSAs here was retiring when we were PCSing. Even if they hadn’t hired me, I would’ve volunteered. But this way I get paid for my passion!”
“I still do casework, which I love, but now as an RSA, I also do more office work,” Cindy explained. “I help with Budget for Baby, ordering supplies, doing casework review, and mentoring new volunteers.” Cindy is designated in her office as the caseworker who helps widows, and recently saw a widow who had been homeless for six months. “Her husband had passed away a year before and it devastated her. She couldn’t function and she lost her house. Finally she got in touch with 211 San Diego and they put her in touch with us. After we helped her, she sent us a little plant with a card that said she was wilting and we helped her grow.”
The most significant change that Cindy has witnessed at the Society is the launch of the Quick Assist Loan program 10 years ago. “It’s probably one of the best things that’s happened at the Society,” she said. “QAL helps a lot of Sailors who wouldn’t usually come in to do a budget, and helps people who just need a little help to get by.”
Cindy is proud of her tenure as both a volunteer and employee of the Society. “NMCRS is a good organization to work for and to volunteer for,” she said. “We couldn’t do any of this without our volunteers, and I appreciate that we make sure to recognize volunteers and give them an opportunity to shine too.”
Congratulations on your 10 years of service to the Society, Cindy! Thank you!
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso