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Featured Article: A Legacy of Support to Sea Service Personnel and Their Families

Founded in 1904, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a non-profit, volunteer, worldwide service organization with a mission to provide financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the Naval Service, eligible family members, and survivors when in need. In addition to financial assistance and education, the Society provides non-interest loans, visiting nurse service, emergency travel, disaster relief, and many other services.The Society has volunteer-manned offices throughout the United States and worldwide to be readily available to provide rapid and effective assistance.

And I can personally attest to the services provided to Service Members in need. While on active duty, I was serving as the Supply Officer of USS CALIFORNIA (CGN-36) and, while at sea in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I got word about an emergency back home in Hampton Roads. Our youngest daughter had suffered a severe eye injury and I had to get home fast. I was able to quickly catch a helicopter ride to USS NIMITZ and caught another ride in an F-14 landing in Puerto Rico. 

There were no Navy flights heading to Norfolk, so I opted to catch a commercial flight home. But I realized to my shock that, in my rush to catch the hello from CALIFORNIA, I had forgotten my wallet.  There I was, stranded in Puerto Rico, with no ID and no money or credit cards.

Just then, I spotted a USO office in the airport, and inside, there just happened to be a Society volunteer. I went straight to that volunteer and explained my situation. Within a short period of time, I was on a commercial flight to Norfolk with the Society taking care of all of the logistics including paying for my ticket. The Society volunteer even called ahead to her counterpart at Norfolk International Airport who met my flight and paid for my taxi ride to the hospital. I arrived home in time to be there for our daughter’s surgery.

I will always be indebted to the Society for all they did for me and my family during this critical time. 

But, in addition to this firsthand experience with the Society, I have had many occasions to refer other Sailors to the Society. Over my active-duty career and especially during six-nine month deployments, Sailors often returned home to overdue bills, creditors, and even houses emptied out by spouses who had left. I would tell these Sailors, “Here’s who helped me. Go see the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society” and the Society always helped them— always.

If you are looking for a most worthy non-profit for a holiday, year-end or anytime contribution, I highly recommend the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (www.nmcrs.org).


About the Author 

Ron Ritter is a retired U.S. Navy Supply Officer with over twenty years of active duty service specializing in weapon systems acquisition and including a combat tour in Vietnam and sea tours on two submarines and a nuclear cruiser. Subsequent to his Navy career, in 1987, Ron joined Earl Industries, a diversified marine engineering and repair services firm, during the company's formative years and served as the firm's Senior Vice President until retiring in 2013. Currently, Ron is the President of On Point, LLC, a business consulting firm.


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