By Sophia Piellusch, H&S BN, HQMC, Henderson Hall March 15, 2013
Marines and their Family members mingled with Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall staff for a Town Hall meeting held at the Marine Club on the Henderson Hall portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall March 12.
Renée Lilley, Family Readiness Officer coordinated with Col. Ira M. Cheatham, commanding officer of H&S Bn. HQMC Henderson Hall and Sgt. Maj. Craig D. Cressman to spearhead this event for Marines and their Families attached to Henderson Hall. The relaxed atmosphere made for an evening of good conversation and an opportunity to share their concerns and ask questions of the command staff.
"We can make changes to better serve our population if they let us know what to change -- it also develops a bond of trust," said Lilley, the new FRO at Henderson Hall. "I hope that the Marines and their families take away a better understanding of the Unit, Personal and Family Readiness Program (UPFRP) and what the command, FRO and MCCS resources can do for them.
"We started today, and we will continue on so Marines on the outskirts at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and in the Pentagon know about the services we have to offer," said Cheatham.
"As long as we can help one individual and provide the information to just one person we have accomplished our job," said Cheatham. "We will take care of every person who comes through this door, whether it's one person or 1,700 people."
Cressman added, "This was a success."
The MCCS Marine and Family Programs encompass 13 organizations, which provided resource tables offering information on their specific programs and staff were available to answer questions. On hand were the Single Marine Program, Education and Career, Marketing, Exceptional Family Program, School Liaison, Children and Family Services, Marine Corps Family Team Building to name a few, said Lilley.
Marine spouse Arianna Foster and her husband Staff Sgt. Clifford Foster, career retention specialist at Henderson Hall, had been discussing the possibility of Arianna attending college. Arianna spoke to the Education and Career Center representative.
"I had no idea Henderson Hall offered so many different kind of programs and services; I spoke to Anne Marie about going back to school," she said. "I think this is great."
"I also believe that they will walk away knowing that the command cares and genuinely wants to know what's going on, what concerns they have and that the command will take their questions and suggestion seriously, to make an impact and to better education their Marines and family members," said Lilley.
At the end of the evening, there were give-aways, sending home gift cards from the Marine Corps Exchange.
"I won a twenty-five dollar gift card from the MCX," said Sgt. Ottheia Searcy.
"An event like this will hopefully inspire others to come to the next one, thus generating more feedback and a better conduit for information to flow between both sides," said Lilley.