Members from the Detachment and children assisted with a toy collection for Toys for Tots.

By Jordyn Kalman

“Once a Marine, always a Marine” is more than just a phrase for the members of The Marine Corps League.

The Marine Corps League is a national, nonprofit veterans’ organization that works on various projects and with charities for community improvement. The Sgt. Walter P. Ryan Marine Corps League Detachment 1226, based in Riverview, upholds this mission statement by giving back to the local area and providing a lifelong support system for current and former marines.

Brian Frank, veteran and detachment member, has been involved with the organization for a little over four years now after serving in the Marines for over 20 years.

“The marines are a close-knit group that continues beyond our active duty,” Frank said. “When there is a fellow marine who needs some assistance here and there, it’s important that we help them out. If I were in that situation, they would do the same.”

The Detachment most recently made a $1,000 donation to the Veterans Assistance Fund of Alafia American Legion Post 148.

Other projects they work on yearly include its Annual Poker Run, Annual Picnic, Yard Sale, Bingo Hotdog Sales, VFW Breakfast and the Rose Fund. The corps also partners with outside youth organizations, including local Boy Scouts, Toys for Tots and many other worthwhile causes.

“Working with these youth organization is important because the challenges young men and women face today are much more difficult,” Frank said. “To have people who are role models who can guide them through these tough times in life is so vital.”

Another main focus of the Detachment is coming to the aid of veterans and their families. Members perform memorials for fallen soldiers, raise money to pay off hospital bills and fund the building of wheelchair ramps to make places more accessible to veterans with mobility problems.

“Our number one priority is to help veterans,” Frank said. “In our particular detachment, we don’t limit our help to just marines. If you are a veteran from any branch, we will help you out.”

To become a member, the requirements are you must be an active member or a veteran of the Marine Corps. For individuals not qualified for regular membership but who want to get involved, they can apply for an associate membership.

Visit http://mclriverview.org for info and an application.