By Kaylee LaRocque

NAS Jax Public Affairs Officer

The 2017 Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Fund Drive proved highly successfully with the campaign raising $338,257.87 to assist Sailors and their families in times of need. 

Last year, the NAS Jax NMCRS assisted eligible area residents with more than $1.5 million in interest-free loans, grants and educational assistance. Worldwide, NMCRS provided $45 million in assistance. 

"We are thrilled at the success of this year's fund drive," said NAS Jax NMCRS Director Monika Woods.

"VP-30 volunteered to coordinate this year's drive. Lt. Ethan Turner took the lead as fund drive coordinator and did an outstanding job! He handled hundreds of emails, planned numerous events and spent countless hours on this project. He set a new record for the most individual contacts reaching out to 246 people and personally raised $31,194 by carrying around allotment slips and motivating everyone."

Woods also praised fund drive chair Capt. David Whitehead, VP-30 commanding officer, for his support and the commands that set new fundraising records this year. 

"It's always fun watching commands set new records. VP-30 brought in more than $81,000, the largest amount in the last 11 years," she said.

"HSM-70 set an all-time record for a single operational squadron in the history of our base fund drives, which goes back to 1944 by raising more than $20,000!"  

All donations raised are used to help Sailors and Marines and their families in need.

"Every dollar truly counts because we recycle the money numerous times before it goes out as a grant," said Woods.

"It's truly a gift that continues to give. A donated dollar might go towards an E3 who has needs engine repair, a retiree who has been out of work due to severe illness, a family that has run out of food for the month or a widow that needs glasses." 

"It was an extremely rewarding experience," said Turner.

"This program is 'buy your own, for your own. Without us helping each another, the program wouldn't exist or be successful." 

Founded in 1904, the NMCRS is a private, non-profit, charitable organization. 

During the 113 years the NMCRS has been operating, they have helped millions of people through loans and grants.