Marines take time to honor corps of key volunteer
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The efforts of key volunteers were brought from behind the scenes to the limelight as 3rd Marine Logistics Group took time out to say thanks.
“It takes a special person to sign up and say ‘I’m going to volunteer and assist with someone else’s burden,’” said Capt. Tamersen Critchlow-Glenn, family readiness officer for 3rd MLG.
The unit held an appreciation dinner for its key volunteers on Friday at the Butler Officers Club.
The Key Volunteer Network, which is Marine Corps-wide, is a command-sponsored group of spouses who assist with communication between the commander and the families and act as a support system for them.
The group “helps us in ensuring that the Marine or sailor on the front line isn’t concerned about what’s going on at home,” Critchlow-Glenn said.
Attiyya Ingram, a key volunteer for Combat Logistics Regiment 37, said it was great to have an opportunity “to dress up, feel special and be recognized.”
Calling the key volunteers the vital link between deployed Marines and their families, 3rd MLG’s commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Peter Talleri, said the dinner was a celebration of what they mean to the Marine Corps.
“Each and every member should walk away feeling that they are a significant contributor,” he said.
Talleri told the guests when he joined the service in 1979 “this day would never have occurred.”
He joked that back then the attitude was if the Marine Corps wanted you married they would have issued you a wife. But the military has come to understand family is “what we ultimately care about as Marines and sailors” and a focus on family contributes to readiness, he said.
Gina Gray, a key volunteer for 9th Engineer Support Battalion, said “it’s very important for key volunteers to be recognized for their sacrifice and willingness to volunteer.”
Being a key volunteer often means “tedious work with late hours that really goes unsung,” Gray’s husband, 1st Sgt. Joe Gray said, adding his wife has been adamant in making sure the sacrifices of the whole family are appreciated.
“In the last five years the main focus with the Marine Corps and all the services has been deployments, and with that a lot of families remain behind,” Critchlow-Glenn said, noting this is the first time since the Key Volunteer Network’s inception in 1994 that it has been tested by wartime deployments.
Talleri said his in 28 years in the Marine Corps, the recent past has been the most challenging.
“What I’ve come to realize is that remarkable people can accomplish remarkable things,” he said. “The [Key Volunteer Network] is the linchpin of that success.”