Reaching Out to Other Military Parents

Human Resources Manager Develops Orange County Chapter of Marine Parents

April 15, 2008

By Valerie Orleans

Maria Plimpton, compensation/classification manager in human resources, was surprised when her son, George, informed her last May that he was not ready for college, despite the fact that he had a 3.54 GPA in high school, was a varsity wrestler and had already been admitted to Cal State Fullerton.

Oh, and he was joining the Marine Corps.

“From the time he was young, he had always expressed an interest in the military,” said Plimpton. “We had hoped, however, that he would go to college first. It was difficult for us to understand but as time passed, we realized that this was his decision and we needed to be supportive. Now I believe that this was probably one of the best decisions he ever made — the values, discipline, fortitude, respect and pride that the Marines instilled in him is incredible.”

On Dec. 14, 2007, Maria watched her son graduate from the Marine Corps. He is now based at Camp Pendleton, completing infantry training.

“Of course, as a mother, I am concerned for his safety,” she said. “But I have faith that God will protect him if he is deployed … and I know my son feels proud to be serving his country.”

To help her deal with concerns about her son, Plimpton began attending meetings of a support group, Marine Parents. The only problem was there wasn't an Orange County chapter and she had to drive to Hawthorne to participate in the Los Angeles group. So she decided to develop an Orange County Chapter. The chapter's first meeting was held March 15 in Anaheim Hills.

“This group is a way to allow Marine Corps families to connect with each other, as well as offer resources and support,” Plimpton said. “Not knowing what's going on or how to get information is a huge concern for parents. By holding these meetings and sharing resources, we are often able to find the information that parents so desperately want and need.”

Plimpton's son plans to attend college on the GI Bill after he is discharged from the Marine Corps. Cal State Fullerton is currently participating in the “Troops to College” program that helps and advises veterans, active military and their family members in pursuing higher education.

For more information on the Orange County Chapter of the Marine Parents' Support group, email Plimpton at or log on to


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