Okinawa, Japan -- Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Dorval, a Miami native, is a career planner with 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, stationed in Okinawa, Japan. More than 14 years ago, the young Lance Cpl. Dorval came face-to-face with one of the most difficult experiences of his life.
While training in Twenty-nine Palms, California, in the summer of 2002, Dorval received news that his mother had suffered a stroke.
“I spoke to my dad and he told me that she was in severe condition,” said Dorval.
His mother got on the phone and assured him she would be fine.
“With the little words she told me, she said she believed she was going to fight this,” said Dorval. “She believed she was going to make it out, that she was going to be fine and that I could stay put where I was at.”
Two weeks later, at 3:00 AM, Dorval received the tragic news; his mother had passed. As a new servicemember with little to no savings for an emergency, the news couldn’t come at a worse time.
“I didn’t know what to do,” said Dorval. “I didn’t have the funds, I didn’t even have a credit card.”
With money tight and a newborn son to provide for, Dorval had no idea how he was going to pay for the long trip from California to Miami to attend his mother’s funeral.
He talked to his gunnery sergeant at the time who told Dorval about the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. He said they could assist him with an interest-free loan to help him get home.
“I walked into the office, I spoke to a representative, a volunteer there,” said Dorval. “She had me provide all my statements and she provided me a means, a better way, to manage my finances.”
With a roughly two-thousand dollar emergency loan, Dorval made it to his mother’s funeral and was back on his feet financially just a few months later.
“I was able to go home to see my family and support my family for the tragic loss that we had just encountered,” said Dorval. “It made it easy for me.”
The Navy Marine Corps Relief society has many volunteers that work every day to give back to the Navy and Marine Corps family. Through the funds donated, they are able to continue this critical mission of assistance. For Dorval and the thousands of other Marines and sailors who have been helped by the NMCRS, donating to the non-profit is a way of paying it forward for their brothers and sisters in uniform.
“This program is for us and by us,” said Dorval. “We fund it and we take care of our fellow Marines and sailors through this program.”
If you’re looking for a way to help another Marine or sailor, you can donate at the link below to support the 2016 Active Duty Fund Drive.