Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Chief of Staff Glenn Wait; JBM-HH Deputy Commander Marine Lt. Col. Mark Paolicelli; United States Navy Lt. Alexander Greene, CFC Army loan executive; Constance Burns, CEO of National Association of American Veterans; Roy Croom, CFC campaign organizer; JBM-HH Commander Col. Kimberly A. Peeples; Edna Merrero, Central Union Mission; and JBM-HH Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Harris cut the cake at the CFC kick off, Oct. 10.

JBM-HH CFC kick off invites community to ‘show some love’

A small crowd gathered at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Dining Facility Oct. 10, to celebrate the beginning of the Combined Federal Campaign donation season.

Open to all Federal Employees, members of the military, federal annuitants and military retirees, the CFC is the nation’s largest workplace giving campaign. The program enables charitable giving, featuring more than 7,000 verified charities, allowing donors to select from a broad range of causes with confidence.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Col. Kimberly A. Peeples said the goal of the campaign at JBM-HH is 100 percent contact with those who are eligible to give.

“We want people to know about it,” said Peeples. “It matters. We ask you all to give to the nation in so many ways as service members, Soldiers, Marines, federal and civilian employees. The point of CFC is to show some love.”

Roy Croom, the campaign organizer, introduced representatives from two D.C. organizations listed in the CFC.

Edna Marrero, special assistant for communications and development with Central Union Mission, spoke of her organization. The 135-year-old charity is a homeless shelter that started by caring for homeless and hungry veterans during the Civil War. After years of donations and support, Central Union Mission continues its programs that serve men today, providing meals, vocational training and warm beds.

“Our programs are varied because the needs are varied,” Marrero said. “We have a health clinic, legal clinic and training classes, as well as a workshop in how to work and respond in a workforce environment, because some of the (men) have not been working for a while.”

She said when some of the men first come to the shelter, they have a look of sadness on their face, but the help they receive gives them hope.

“We have another location, the Family Ministry Center that is for families (women and children), seniors, veterans who do not usually stay at the shelter where they can get groceries, household goods and vocational classes on how to use a computer and how to write a resume,” Marrero said. “I feel very honored to work with Central Union Mission. I have seen men’s lives transform, families reunited and transformed.”

Marrero said there is need for more than 1 million meals to feed the hungry this year. She said the organization can sometimes average 700 meals in one day, but only if they have enough money.

“We want to continue to do things, without having to eliminate or cutback on a program,” she said. “We have had to do that last year during the government shutdown. There were programs we had to cut, but also programs we added because federal employees were laid off and needed to use the Family Ministry Center.”

In 2004, Constance Burns, CEO and founding president of the National Association of American Veterans, visited service members at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center who had just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There were a lot of things they needed, like help with rent (and) utility bills,” Burns said.

She helped pay a utility bill, but she knew others also needed help, so she immediately started the National Association of American Veterans with her own retirement funds.

Today, the organization she began 15 years ago lives on to help veterans, but she said caregivers also grow tired. She shared her experience of caring for her mother for 29 years and likened the experience to that of military caregivers.

“We can lose a caregiver to stress,” Burns said. “Stress is a silent killer. There was a caregiver who died at 42 years old and was a caregiver for her husband for eight years, who was paralyzed from the waist down. One morning she was vacuuming and fell to the floor, and the doctor said she had died from a massive heart attack.”

As the campaign organizer thanked both ladies for personalizing the story of charitable donation and the good it can bring to the lives of others, he emphasized how rewarding it feels to give and the simplicity the CFC brings to the act of donating.

“Trust me when you give, so much more comes back to you,” said Croom. “All I’m asking is pick a cause that is important to you.”

If a person is interested in donating to CFC or finding out if your favorite cause is a CFC-approved charity, visit the Office of Personnel Management website at opm.gov/ShowSomeLoveCFC.

By Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs Office