Student Spotlight

Brandman graduate Carlene Joseph gives back to military as community volunteer

November 05, 2014 by Margo Myers

Carlene Joseph

If you ask Carlene Joseph, she’ll tell you it took her 20 years to obtain her bachelor’s degree, which she received in 2002 from Brandman University (then Chapman University College). “My husband was in the Air Force Reserve, and I was busy raising our kids, so as soon as they left home, I got my degree,” said Joseph. “Attending classes both online and in-person was easy to do, and I would recommend it to other working adults who are seeking a degree.”

She credits her BA in Organizational Leadership with her promotion to Vice President at Harborstone Credit Union, where she’s spent the past 34 years. Her full title is Vice President of Community Development and Military Affairs, and her resume is packed with awards and recognition for her work at Joint Base Lewis McChord, such as being named a “Woman of Influence” by the Business Examiner in 2009, and being inducted into the JBLM Civilian Hall of Fame in 2012. “I have a lot of ties to JBLM since we are a military family,” says Joseph.

Currently, Joseph is president of the Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA), Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter. As president, she and a handful of AUSA volunteers formed twelve subchapters, each of which support twelve units or brigades. These subchapters raise approximately $245,000 every year to support JBLM and Camp Murray soldiers and airmen. During Joseph’s leadership, the chapter has raised over $1 million.

“What is most rewarding for me, is working directly with the military to support JBLM,” said Joseph. “We work with various commands to embrace the service members who serve here.”

As part of her duties as AUSA President, Joseph has also worked with the Army Seattle Recruiting Battalion. During the past four years, Joseph has led a group of community leaders and recruiters in creating and planning Operation RED (Recruit Enlisted Dinner). It’s at this dinner that 250 senior high school students are sworn into branches of the military with their parents in attendance.

And that’s not all. Joseph is Treasurer at the non-profit Pierce Military and Business Alliance. The PMBA works with 26 non-competing business partners, raising $126,000 annually for programs at JBLM and Camp Murray.  These funds support morale, welfare, readiness, and retention efforts of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray. Finally, Joseph serves as the Vice President for Support America’s Armed Forces (SAAF), an organization under the PMBA. SAAF raises money to support military family morale activities and sends hundreds of care packages to deployed service members.

Seeing the continued deployments, casualties and family challenges that military service members and their families have encountered since the Iraq war began in 2001, Joseph remains motivated to do what she can. “It’s important for us to reach out to these military families who make up a significant portion of the communities surrounding Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray,” Joseph said. “One of Harborstone’s core values is to give back to the community.” It’s a value that Carlene Joseph puts into practice every day.

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