Spotlight on Marilyn Sobke
President, Board of Governors 1999
When Marilyn Sobke volunteered to help type and edit the revised Bylaws for the National Military Family Association, she probably didn’t realize where that one little project would lead. After the revised Bylaws’ project was completed, Marilyn served as Chair for the Very Important Patriot selection and recognition and served two years on the Board of Governors. She was elected President and served from 1999 through 2000.
The late nineties had been busy for military families. The Association’s key issues during this period were familiar ones as we worked to improve housing, health care, spouse employment opportunities and child care options. Education has always been important to the Association, but this period marked a new focus on education for military children as the Association worked to ensure portability of educational credits state-to-state, ensure fairness in high school graduation requirements and push for in-state tuition rates for military family members.
During her Presidency, the Association’s full-time staff increased by 60%. All of the growth for the Association came at a price, however. Marilyn remembers the earliest part of her Presidency as a time of fighting to keep the doors open and balance responsible growth with financial stability. It was during this time the Government E-Insurance Company (GEICO) began offering discounts to Association members; this helped increase revenue and attract new members. The new Development Department began working to attract corporate support and sponsorship to help fund the Association.
Marilyn believes Americans are better informed about and more supportive of military families than they have been in the past and this presents an excellent opportunity for the Association to further the cause. Marilyn believes that first-hand knowledge and experience governed by military families is essential to the success of the Association. She encourages military families to speak up and join in to address their concerns and work for improvements in military family services and benefits.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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