USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea - Sailors deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) raised more than $50,000 during the 2012 Navy and Marine Core Relief Society (NMCRS) fund drive, which ended April 30.
Two-months of creative fundraising that took placed while the ship was deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area or responsibility (AOR) resulted in a final total of $50,742 in contributions.
According to Chief Logistics Specialist Yuly Mejia, Makin Island's NMCRS fundraising committee chairperson, the ship set a goal of raising $30,000 which would exceed the $29,054 raised during the 2011 campaign.
"It felt good to set a goal and accomplish it," said Mejia. "I feel like not only did NMCRS accomplish a lot, but the whole ship accomplished something."
Mejia said she was surprised at the total of contributions made by the crew and the fact the fundraising team exceeded their goal by more than $20,000.
"It just shows what type of crew we have," said Mejia. "Sailors are giving money out of their checks every month and donating money to our fundraisers to help their fellow Sailors throughout the fleet. It's nice to see so many people care."
Mejia said the donations came from two sources, allotments from a Sailor's monthly pay and fundraisers held by Makin Island volunteers.
According to Mejia, the fundraising team had three specific goals during this year's campaign: to make 100% contact with the crew, to educate Makin Island Sailors on the many services NMCRS provides, and to have fun while raising the funds to support the NMCRS.
Mejia also said that the key to her team's success was the fact that every department on the ship provided at least two volunteers to assist with fundraising efforts. This allowed the team to get the message out to all of the Sailors on the ship.
Sailors who volunteered to help with fundraising efforts said they enjoyed the opportunity to help raise money for the NMCRS.
"I volunteered, because it's a good program," said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Ulanday, a NMCRS fundraising team member. "It's Sailors helping other Sailors out when they need help. We are counting on each other; it's truly one team one fight."
According to their official website, NMCRS helped more than 96,000 Sailors, Marines and families in need by providing more than $48 million in financial assistance during 2011.
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.