Marine Corps Air Grond Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
The 2012 Coachella and Twentynine Palms area Combined Federal Campaign ended only a few thousand dollars short of its $500,000 goal. This year’s top contributors were awarded at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field Jan. 25.
During the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign there were 68 Eagle awards, 316 Medallion awards and 72 Gold awards given to key contributors aboard the Combat Center. Medallion awardees donated $240 to $390, Gold awardees donated $391 to $799 and Eagle awardees donated $780 or more a year. The contributions aboard the Combat Center earned the CFC $323,822.91 and attracted a total of 5,183 donors, doubling last year’s efforts.
23rd Dental Company won the Commanding General’s Unit Award with the highest participation rate and highest gift per capita of 91 percent participation rate and $162.62 averaged in donations per person.
The award was presented to Petty Officer 2nd Class Esra Colvard, hospital corpsman, and CFC representative, 23rd Dental Co., by the Combat Center’s Chief of Staff Col. George C. Aucoin.
23rd Dental's total contributions for 2012 were $7,318.00. For 2011, 23rd Dental provided CFC with contributions totaling $4893.00, with only a 50 percent participation rate and only $94.11 gifted per capita. The unit set the tone for giving in the 2012 campaign drive.
“Most people felt like they could only give a dollar or two and they felt embarrassed by that,” Colvard said, a native of Adana, Turkey. “When I got this job you kind of have to prove your point with people. I was trying to explain that it was still helping and they (would be) still trying to help. You know, if everybody just gave one dollar that would a lot of money for the whole base. That’s why our percentage was raised.”
According to Colvard, her strategy for success was to shed light about the CFC to the Marines, sailors and staff of the dental clinic.
“Instead of getting a lot of money I was more concerned with raising the awareness, Colvard said. “ I felt like people have such a good life, they don’t see how things are run on the other side of the world.”
Colvard said she feels strongly for organizations that help abused children and small animals, referring to a poster board covered in heart wrenching photos of abused children and animals. “I have a daughter so I’m sensitive about kids, like child abuse and stuff.”
“This is a real picture,” Colvard said about photojournalist Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer winning photo of a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture. “It kind of affects you. Not just the pictures, but people see that you care. I actually volunteered to do this job to do good things and to get money for organizations.”
“It means a lot, of course. We are a small command and we were surprised. Maybe it was easier to communicate with the staff. I don’t think a meeting with a hundred people in one room would have the same effect. I had to go to each person individually and walk around the clinic and ask them about the CFC.”