He’s an experienced, dedicated warrior, a professional in every sense. Petty Officer Eric Chiarito has been serving with honor for eight years. He has served with Navy and Marine Corps units.

“When I joined the Navy,” Eric says, “I was just 19.” Eric wanted to get into law enforcement and force protection. But there were no openings for Master-at-Arms when he enlisted. Eric wasn’t discouraged, though. He simply turned his attention to another vocation. He became a Hospital Corpsman. Things turned out for the best. “I’m good at it,” he says. “So I continue to focus on the medical side of things.”

It’s clear that Eric is devoted to service. That’s why, when he came to the Society for help, we were honored to be there for him, thanks to your generous support. Here’s what happened.

Eric turned to the Society when he was serving in Okinawa and had to get home for a family emergency. “I think it cost about $2,500 to get back to New York from Okinawa,” Eric says. He didn’t have that kind of savings, so he got an interest-free loan from the Society and made arrangements to pay the money back on terms he could handle.

When Eric came to us for help, he was pleased at how easy and respectful the process was. “The volunteers at the Society were very friendly,” Eric says. “They were also very professional. They went through my finances with me, asked about my situation, and found all the ways they could help.”

Being able to handle that personal financial challenge meant everything for Eric. Because of the Society, he could stay focused on his mission and function effectively in his unit. That’s important to him.

Knowing how the Society was there for him and how we empowered him to handle his financial challenges, Eric has become an advocate, letting other Sea Service members know about the Society and what we do to take care of Sailors and Marines. For example, a Shipmate and his wife were just getting by when an unexpected car repair wiped out their savings. They needed help, including money for food. Eric told the Sailor about the help that was available. “The Society loaned him $500 for the repair,” Eric says. “And they also gave him a commissary gift card to feed his family. The Society helped him out.”

Taking care of our own – it’s so important for all who serve. Eric knows it firsthand, and encourages his Shipmates to support the Society. “I can tell you that every Sea Service member who gets help from the Society is very thankful, very grateful,” Eric says. “They really appreciate it because they don’t have the option of relying on family or friends.”

With help from the Society, Sailors, Marines, and their families can overcome their personal financial challenges, so they can focus on their mission – keeping our country safe. It takes all of us at the Society, along with supporters like you, to ensure we’re there for Sea Service members whenever and wherever they need us. Eric says it best: “It’s a big thing.”

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