Even while Chief John FelizPolanco was deployed in the Middle East, he was providing for his mother, paying her rent in Connecticut and sending money for other needs as they arose. When he returned from deployment in August 2018, Chief FelizPolanco received orders to report to his new duty station in Guam in September.
Around the same time, FelizPolanco’s mother had traveled to her native Dominican Republic for a few months. Unfortunately, while she was in the DR, she suffered both a stroke and a heart attack. “I immediately flew her back to the US to a hospital in Miami,” FelizPolanco recalled. “I had to go back to Jacksonville, Florida to pack up our home and get ready to PCS with my wife and son. Two weeks later she passed away. One of the things I had promised her years before was that I would bury her in the Dominican Republic. We took her back to the DR and buried her with her entire family. Then we came back to Florida and moved to Guam.”
“I didn’t realize how expensive it is initially to move to Guam, which is what caused me to reach out to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society,” FelizPolanco said. He had used up all of his family’s savings in order to pay for his mother’s significant medical, transportation, and burial expenses.
“We stayed in a hotel when we first got here, and to rent a home you have to pay first and last month’s rent and a deposit. Rent is very high, so that’s several thousand dollars you have to come up with out of pocket, which was extremely challenging for my family.”
Although he had always contributed to the Society, and served as the Active Duty Fund Drive coordinator for Camp Lemonnier while stationed in Djibouti, FelizPolanco had never gone to the Society for assistance. “I thought the Society was more for emergencies,” he said. “I didn’t realize you could get a loan for rent. My supervisor suggested I ask the Society for help.”
“I had savings, but it wasn’t enough,” FelizPolanco said. “If my mom hadn’t passed away, I wouldn’t have needed the Society, but I had just spent all our savings to honor my mother’s wishes.”
FelizPolanco paid back his $6000 loan from the Society as soon as his reimbursement for moving expenses from the Navy arrived. Now he knows that NMCRS offers a variety of services and provides loans for different situations. “A lot of people can benefit from that kind of help from the Society when they move.”
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso