SNCO Wives Club
On April 16, 1950, some ladies met in the Midway Park Community Building to organize a club to be called "The Camp Lejeune Staff NCO Wives' Club." A tentative set up of by-laws had been drawn up and was acted upon at this meeting. Officers were to be elected to serve a three-month period during which time organizational plans would be voted upon and dates for the future meetings would be decided.
On April 13, 1950, a second meeting was held. About 50 ladies met and decided the officers serving as the initial officers should continue until June when new officers would be elected and members would know each other better. Serving as President was Mrs. Tom Cothran; Vice President, Mrs. Val Olesnovich,; Recording Secretary, Mrs. George Keatley; Treasurer, Mrs. S.L. Moore; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. F.A. Kulakowski. A tentative Constitution and By-Laws were set up and voted on. It was accepted by a majority vote after appropriated changes were incorporated.
The Club adopted the red and gold colors of the US Marine Corps as their colors and the gladiolus as their flower.
The purpose of this newly formed club and a few of their activities included the following: visits to Staff Wives sick or hospitalized and to lend assistance when needed and a welcome committee for newcomers to acquaint them with shopping facilities, bus schedules, etc. It would also be a social organization for the enjoyment of the members to assist in decorating the Staff Club for special occasion nights, sponsoring various fund drives, assisting with the Christmas and Easter activities for children, and at a later date, establish a scholarship for a worthy student at Camp Lejeune High School.
The members decided to hold regular meetings on the first and third Thursday of each month at 8:15pm in the Midway Park Community Building. A synopsis of this meeting was to be presented to the Board of Governors and the Hadnot Point Club. After their acceptance and approval, further plans would be made and committees formed.
Two months after the organization of the club, the Korean War broke out. The Club members were "on the job" to give help to the wives of husbands who were sent to Korea. They helped by caring for children, checking out quarters, arranging transportation to home destinations, and by raising money to help those families in need during the crisis. The object of the club was to "promote agreeable and useful relations among wives of SNCO's, and to encourage mental and moral developments more useful to each other and to the world around them."
A major project of the Club began in 1957. It was the operation of the Dependents Welcoming Lounge at the Joint Reception Center where thousands of Marines and their families reported in. It was the first step in a long range program to give all around service to military families club members five days a week.
In 1957, the members voted to help the American Red Cross at the Naval Hospital by furnishing game prizes.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Layette program began around September 1957 when members volunteered to sew baby clothes for the Navy-Marine Corp relief Society.
Over a decade, the club had broadened both in members and activities. They continue to aid many charitable and civic organizations. A small Scholarship was given each year, and donations of gifts were given to the Navy-Marine Corp Relief Society, United Fund, Red Cross, Naval Hospital and area libraries. Their main projects to earn money for the donations were by having Fashion Shows and a Bazaar.
Today the SNCO Wives' Club operates the Thrift Shop aboard Camp Lejeune. It was officially opened for business on August 23, 1960. Proceeds from the Thrift Shop allow club members today to continue the long-standing traditions of giving back to the military community at large. Currently we have been able to give out over $45,000 in scholarships this year alone. On top of that, this year we have also been able to donate money to local and base schools, Disabled American Veterans, Wounded Warriors, Chaplains Food Baskets, and other various charities and organizations in and around Camp Lejeune. All this has been made possible by a group of women who wanted to make a difference in the military community and the traditions continues today.