If you ask a Marine about their specific branch of the United States Armed Forces, one thing they will almost undoubtedly tell you is that the Marine Corps is a brotherhood.
Since 2007, the Fremont Area Marine Corps League has aimed to continue that brother- and sisterhood, through assisting fellow veterans, their families, and the community as a whole.
“Everybody falls on to hard times and it’s all a big brotherhood or sisterhood with each other, so we take care of each other,” Commandant Jason House said. “That’s the most important part.”
Recently, members of the Fremont Area Marine Corps League were able to help a fellow veteran in a position that far too many across the country seem to find themselves in.
After serving his country as a Marine, and coming back to Nebraska, Fremont resident Gerold Combs Jr. found himself without a home.
In his time of need, Combs Jr. reached out to Mark Schneck at the Dodge County Veteran’s Service Office and along with the Nebraska Department of Labor-Veterans Services and the Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership the trio of organizations were able to find Combs Jr. a place to call home.
“They were able to find Gerold an apartment and were able to pay his first month’s rent and deposit,” House said. “Once they got him into an apartment then we came in and provided him with a bed, which he actually said was his first bed in three years. We also got him a couch and chair, a set of table and chairs, and bought him some food and a bunch of household goods to help get him going.”
On Saturday, December 23rd members of the Fremont Area Marine Corps League including House, Aaron Moser, and Jim Havelka made a trip to WalMart to purchase the items which helped furnish Combs Jr.’s new apartment just in time for Christmas.
“To come across an actual homeless veteran in Fremont is pretty rare, you don’t get too many of them, which is a good thing to not have that issue” House said. “But to be able to help when there is, is obviously a good thing. Everyone has hard times so we just do what we can to make sure people can get through that.”
The Fremont Area Marine Corps League supplied him with a new bed, pillows, table and chairs, towels, blankets, couch and chair, hat and gloves, groceries, various household items, and even a bicycle.
“He doesn’t have a car, so we at least got him a bicycle for the time being so at least he doesn’t have to walk to work,” House said. “He has a job so we are letting him doing his own thing, but we have him pretty well set up and if he ever needs anything else we’ll be there for him anyway we can.”
Along with helping Combs Jr. in his time of need, the Fremont Area Marine Corps League has provided a variety of services to area residents which include financial assistance to veterans and their families, scholarships, and over 300 coats to the Salvation Army over the past year.
“In the past year and a half we have helped 9 Marines and their families and provided over $5,000 in financial assistance to them,” House said. “We also do college scholarships and we hold a competitive scholarship which we have extended out to 8 area high schools. WE have over 10 scholarships to give out each semester, and right now we have over $7,500 worth of scholarships given out.”
The League also works with the Omaha Reserve Marine Corps Unit with their Toys for Tots program, and donated $3,000 to that as well as collects toys for the program.
The funds that provide for their financial assistance programs come from various grants as well as personal and private donations.
“We bought 301 coats for Salvation Army, we have paid mortgages, and utilities and it just feels really good to be able to help people with that,” House said.