A Luncheon for One Special Volunteer: helping military families

Volunteer-award-blog-imageWhen you volunteer for the National Military Family Association you know that you are making a difference in the lives of military families globally. This is one reason, Marielle Beniquez, winner of the 2013 Volunteer Corps Service Award, chose to become an Association representative.

Armed with knowledge, experience and love for what she does, Marielle has taken advantage of every existing opportunity to get involved in her community by consistently promoting the interest of the Association. From newcomers to military families already stationed in Tampa, Marielle has been a point of contact, a friend and a problem solver who made wise use of the resources she has access to as a volunteer. Moreover, she has always been up-to-date with new policies, local events and took leadership in initiating local gatherings and events from which military families would benefit.

In order to honor Marielle and present the award, the Association organized a luncheon in her local community at the MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida. “When Marielle talks about the work of the Association, her enthusiasm makes you excited about joining and volunteering,” says Christina Jumper, Volunteer Services Director. For Marielle, to have Christina present the award to her in person, in front of her family and close friends is profoundly important. “Now I have to do more of my best to be consistent and get my leadership more at the level where I can do my volunteering effectively,” Marielle says.

A Luncheon for One Special Volunteer Marielle’s favorite part about volunteering for the Association is getting to know people and networking. She is a firm believer in sharing the information from her community to the Association for the benefit of military families everywhere. Her previous military service in the Air Force has taught her to have integrity first, to put service before self and achieve excellence in all that she does.  Marielle would stop at nothing to help military families. Even during rough medical times, spouse deployment and surgeries, she is still present in her community, actively fighting for the Association’s causes.

During the past year, Marielle has recruited a number of new volunteers in the region, worked extensive hours and attended events that would benefit various groups within the military community: deployed families, local church, school and child development center, spouses and parents. Additionally, Marielle has participated in extensive trainings both for the Association and for personal goals. She has also specialized in mental health, which paved the way for her to achieve her dream of further helping military families.

Marielle is always informed regarding everything that is happening in her community and she always has a solution for military spouses who seek her help. She at times might resemble an aggressive journalist who would go above and beyond to accomplish the mission of seeking the right information, follow up and spread the word in order to benefit the whole community. What is more, she will always have a smile on her face.

Marlis Perez RiveraBy Marlis Perez Rivera, National Military Family Association Volunteer, Tampa, FL

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