The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MC-LEF): Caring Is Not Just How You Feel; It Is What You Do
Valenzano, Joseph M., Jr., The Exceptional Parent
The United States Marine Corps, one of the most admired and feared military forces in the world, has a well-earned reputation for bravery and ferocity in combat. As General Jim Mattis once said, "There is no greater friend nor worse enemy than a United States Marine." Distinguishing the Marines above all else is the intense loyalty, camaraderie, and esprit de corps that are the heart and soul of the organization. Instilled in boot camp, this unifying spirit, warrior ethos and commitment to core values, remain with Marines for life. From active duty to retired members, grunts to generals, "Once a Marine always a Marine" eloquently sums up this extraordinary bond. But there is another side to Marines--one that is hardly ever mentioned in the media or in the countless Hollywood movies that have been made about the Corps.
This is not a story about the valor and combat readiness of the Marine Corps. Rather it is a different kind of story. Marines are tough, hard-nosed exceptionally well-trained individuals but they are also people of integrity, honor, compassion and great caring.
It is therefore no surprise that the Marine Corps--Law Enforcement Foundation (MC-LEF) shares the same principles and core values upon which the Marine Corps is built. It also reflects one of the most fundamental principles drilled into Marines in boot camp: "Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other".
The Marine Corps--Law Enforcement Foundation, a non-profit organization started in 1995 by Marines, provides aid and assistance to the children of families of Marines and Federal Law Enforcement officials killed in the line of duty. In the span of 16 years, the Marine Corps--Law Enforcement Foundation has donated over $50 million in value to 2,955 families and the children of Marines and Federal Law Enforcement agents killed in the line of duty.
This little 501-C-3 not for profit foundation is quite literally supported by thousands all over the globe. Its board of directors reads like a Who's Who in industry, the military, entertainment, the arts, politics and finance. You can read MC-LEF's history and mission statement on its website at www.mc-lef.org. It is not elaborate but certainly functional. The headquarters of MC-LEF has offices void of expensive furniture and staff and that's because roughly 98% of all money raised by the Foundation is immediately donated to the children of families of those who have given their lives for their country. The major focus of these awards is for the education of the children of Marines and Law Enforcement Officials who have made the supreme sacrifice. Education is a cornerstone of MC-LEF's mission. However, MC-LEF has also provided aid and assistance to military families facing medical costs not covered by their insurance. And, over the past three years, MC-LEF has donated close to $700,000 for the acquisition of hyperbaric oxygen chambers to help military personnel recover from burns and brain blast injuries sustained as a result of IED explosions and other traumatic brain injuries. And there are numerous Segways which have found their way on Marine Corps bases and rehab facilities to help Marines who have sustained debilitating injuries or disabilities in combat thanks to MC-LEF.
The Mission of MC-LEF is stated as follows:
Members of the Marine Corps--Law Enforcement Foundation believe that our nation's most precious resource is its youth. Their educational development is of primary importance in their becoming meaningful members of their families and to society.
Caring for the children of fallen Marines is a key component of MC-LEF's mission. Scholarship bonds are provided for the children of Marines who died while on active duty.
Law Enforcement personnel of Federal Status, receive scholarship for the children of personnel who lose their lives while on active duty.
Every member of the Mc-LEF Board of Directors is committed to the mission. …