MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Cherry Point’s officers’ spouses club donates tens of thousands of dollars toward community relations, including scholarships. In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the OSC donated $75,000 to the community.
Years ago, as a young military spouse and mother, Joy Harmon received a scholarship from an OSC. Today, she serves as the president of the OSC at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and relishes the chance to pay forward the same opportunities that were once graciously awarded to her.
Harmon said her goal for the next year is to continue to push the bar in terms of their donations.
“There is always more that could be done with this emotionally rewarding organization,” said Kristen Roberts, the publicity chair for the OSC.
Much of the donations went toward the betterment of learning in Havelock, N.C., including enhancing the school curriculum for First United Methodist Preschool, purchasing music stands for Annunciation Catholic School, and providing Friends of the Havelock-Craven County Public Library with two laptop computers.
“The work we do is not based on personal gratification,” said Kristen Roberts, “we do it to make a difference.”
The OSC focuses much of its philanthropy toward education, with several thousand dollars going to scholarships in addition to the money that went to Havelock schools.
There were nine scholarship recipients for 2010 receiving a combined total of $30,000 in funds from the OSC. The scholarships were of varying amounts, from $2,000 to $3,000.
Robert Lautner, a student at Craven County Community College, received a $2,000 scholarship for this year.
“It’s a really great program and I really appreciate it,” Lautner said. “It takes a load off my shoulders from having to pay for school by myself.”
Harmon said she enjoys seeing the joy on the faces of the recipients.
“I see a lot of hope,” Harmon said. “Some of the recipients are working semester to semester to pay for school.”
Most of the funding for the OSC comes from the Whistle Stop Thrift Shop, located on the air station on E Street.
“The Whistle Stop is really key, without it our donations would be minimal,” said Roberts. “All profit from the store goes to philanthropy.”
The Whistle Stop works with an all volunteer force consisting of a tightly knit community of Marines and their families.
“This is a good group of women. We’re made up of people who like to be productive,” Roberts said. “But it’s also fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, just put our talents to good use.”