Within 12 months of reporting to his first duty station in Pensacola, Randy Pace faced a personal tragedy.
“I got a phone call from my squadron telling me to call home,” Pace recalled. “I got the news that my oldest sister had been killed in a house explosion. Soon there was a knock at my door. The duty driver said ‘pack a bag and come with me.’ I went to the squadron and the duty officer met me at the door, handed me a plane ticket and envelope and said, ‘the duty driver is taking you to the airport to go home.’ On the way to the airport, I opened the envelope, which had a little more than $100 in cash. I went home and came back in 10 days. When I got back, one of the guys in the squadron pulled me aside and told me about NMCRS and explained that’s where my plane ticket and the cash had come from. ‘They do this for Sailors who don’t have money for these things. When you can, pay them back.’”
“I was floored,” Pace explained. He realized Sailors in the squadron had made all the arrangements on his behalf, including applying to the Society for the plane ticket and money for incidentals. “From that point forward, I set up a monthly allotment to NMCRS,” Pace
Throughout the 24 years of his Naval career, Pace always made a point of dedicating time and resources to the Society. He served as an NMCRS fund drive coordinator, took classes, and volunteered. He has continued to give since his retirement in 2003 as a Chief Damage Controlman.
Upon retirement, Pace stayed home with his two children while his wife worked. He expected to be done with public service, but as he became involved in his community of Medford Township, NJ, Pace realized he could contribute more.
“I served my country protecting our freedoms,” he explained, “and found out the elected officials in my own backyard weren’t serving the public trust. I ran for office and here I am.”
When Mayor Pace took office in January 2012, he learned that New Jersey residents who requested a mayor officiate their wedding ceremonies were asked to pay a fee for the mayor’s time. Because performing these ceremonies is a voluntary service, it’s up to the mayor whether he accepts the money or does something else with it.
“We decided it would go to charity. The first thing I thought of was NMCRS because of my experience with them.” So when a couple comes to Medford Township and requests that Pace officiate their wedding, the clerk tells them the fee is $75 and the check should be written to NMCRS.
So far the mayor has performed nine weddings and the couples have enthusiastically donated the fee to NMCRS. Thank you Mayor Pace!