Long after her husband retired from the Marines, dedicated volunteer Julia “Sheila” Christy kept crocheting baby blankets as a volunteer for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Sheila passed away in January 2013 after contributing a remarkable 153,000 volunteer hours to the Society, during which she created more than 5,100 beautiful blankets to keep generations of babies warm and cozy.
Sheila began volunteering for the Society in the 1970s when her husband was a Master Gunnery Sergeant stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. After her husband retired from the Marines and the family moved to Sharon, Pennsylvania, Sheila remained a Camp Lejeune volunteer. The Camp Lejeune NCMRS office would send her yarn every month, and she would return baby blankets.
The Society distributes blankets made by Sheila and others at our Budget for Baby workshops, where we help young families of Sailors and Marines understand the costs they will incur when the new family member arrives. The blankets are part of an infant gift bag the Society provides that includes clothes, bedding, and other key items for baby’s first months.
Sheila’s number of service hours far outpaced any other Society volunteer. “When she reached 100,000 hours of service in 2007, we were running out of ways to recognize her,” said Jessica McManus, Volunteer Support Relief Services Assistant at the Camp Lejeune NMCRS office. “So we created a scrapbook of photos of our clients holding their babies wrapped in her blankets.” Active duty Marines in their dress blues from the local recruiting station near her home presented it to her, and Sheila was thrilled. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is grateful to Sheila for her many years of faithful service, for keeping thousands of babies warm, andfor setting a new standard for volunteer service.