Dear Friends and Supporters,
Admiral Steve Abbot relinquished the helm of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society at the end of September following 16 years of superb stewardship. It is a distinct privilege and honor to be asked to lead this organization, its dedicated, compassionate volunteers and permanent staff, in providing support to our active duty and retired Marines, Sailors and their families in need. I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968 with a B. S. degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. I held multiple command and staff positions including operational tours in Vietnam, Korea, in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and in Somalia where I commanded Task Force Mogadishu. From 1993-1995 I was Commanding General at Parris Island, and my last assignment was Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps, Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Since my retirement from the Marine Corps in 2001, I have led a number of non-profit organizations as President and CEO, including drug rehabilitation programs at Phoenix House and Second Genesis.
Articles in this edition of Legacy shine a spotlight on personal tragedy resulting from a freak accident, and how Mother Nature impacts our lives. Chasity McCulloch and her husband, both accomplished scuba divers, planned to celebrate their third wedding anniversary with a dive off Okinawa in 2016. The story beginning on page 2 shares how Chasity’s life changed that day and how one of the Society’s Visiting Nurses has been able to assist her ever since. On pages 6 and 7, you can read about Hurricane Dorian and the crucial role the Society plays during a natural disaster. Our office in Kings Bay, Georgia, served 163 clients in a single day, providing nearly $100,000 in evacuation assistance, and no one had to wait more than five minutes to receive their check.
The Society is able to respond to unexpected emergencies with prompt, effective support thanks to thoughtful and very generous donors. Two different types of donations are explained in this issue. On page 4, Britt Zeller talks about the advantages of making a gift from an IRA distribution. “We have young enlisted men and women living on food stamps,” she says with alarm. “I only hope my gift can make their lives a little easier.” Finally, on page 5, meet retired Navy Commander Larry Mason who recently established four charitable gift annuities. “What I want my gifts to accomplish is to help Sailors and Marines and their families for years to come,” said Commander Mason. “Simple as that!” I appreciate the invaluable support provided by donors like Britt Zeller and Commander Mason who provide critically important funds that the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society uses in disbursing interest-free loans and outright grants, thereby improving the quality of life for countless Sea Service clients.
General Jack Klimp, USMC (Ret.)
President and Chief Executive Officer