Story by PO3 Tristan Lotz on 03/08/2019GROTON, Conn. Better informed Sailors and three lucky winners rounded out Military Saves Week onboard Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London, March 1, concluding a month of activities and classes on saving and better finance.
Military Saves Week is an annual event held in conjunction with America Saves Week in which military members, veterans and families can attend workshops and take part in activities to learn how to save money and improve their finances.
"Military Saves is a week-long event to teach Sailors and their families how to be better with money," said Katie Whitescarver, SUBASE New London Navy Federal Credit Union. "We decided to make it a month long to give the participants more time. You are twice as likely to save if you have a plan."
Among the events was a scavenger hunt which led participants to various locations around SUBASE New London where they learned about different services the Navy offers and methods to improve their finances.
"Those who finish the scavenger hunt have their names entered in a drawing for the grand prize," said Whitescarver. "We have different classes each held at different times to accommodate people's different schedules."
In addition to Sailors and civilians, children were also invited to join the festivities. The SUBASE Youth Center put on a financial fair for elementary-school age children in which they could play games or complete activities and win play money which they could either spend on small prizes at a prize table or save and use on larger prizes to learn about the value of a dollar.
"At financial carnival, kids learn that good deeds get rewards and how to save as opposed to spending immediately," said Shauna Delmage, a program assistant at the SUBASE Youth Center.
While the children played and learned, the adults taking part in the scavenger hunt learned useful finance and legal advice. At the legal office, Sailors were told about things like the Service Members Civil Relief Act. At Personnel Support Detachment, Sailors updated their emergency contact and home address information. Visitors to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society learned about ways the society can aid service members such as no-interest loans and ways to save money by getting uniform items second-hand at the Society's thrift shop on base.
The event came to a close at SUBASE New London's Navy Federal branch. The completed scavenger hunt cards with participant names were placed in a box, and SUBASE New London Command Master Chief Raj Sodhi, pulled names and announced the winners.
The grand prize went to Seaman Walter Richard Nogra, a Naval Submarine School (SUBSCOL) student from New York City.
"I'm beyond words right now I'm so excited!" said Nogra exuberantly. "I don't know what to say! I don't even know what I'm going to spend the gift cards on!"
The second prize went to Fernando Marin. The runner-up prize-winner was Monique Snipe, wife of Staff Sgt. Lopetio Snipe, a Marine Corps recruiter in the area. Snipe praised SUBASE New London's efforts to promote Military Saves Week on social media.
"I'm super excited!" said Snipes. "I'm going grocery shopping for my family with the gift cards. This is such a great program and we really learned a lot. It was really well advertised on social media."
Another SUBSCOL student, Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Jared Rose, shared his gratitude for the program and the valuable lessons it offers to Sailors and their families.
"My favorite stop on the scavenger hunt was Legal because I learned the most there," said Rose. "My wife and I are looking to adopt and we learned about power of attorney and the kinds of paperwork we have to get filled out to do it."
SUBASE New London's Navy Federal branch was filled with jubilation and festivity as Sailors and civilians either rejoiced at winning prizes or celebrated others winning. All along the way, the participants learned valuable lessons about finance and money management. What was more, participation in the event was up about 150 percent from the previous year.
"We are so excited about all the Sailors who took part!" said Melissa Sharpe, a Navy Federal branch employee. "Every family who took part learned something. One Sailor told me he learned about how to get a power of attorney, and another said he learned about fitness programs Morale, Welfare, and Recreation offers."
For information about Military Saves, contact Navy Federal Credit Union, Fleet and Family Support Center or the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society.