Semper Fi Fund Founder and CEO Karen Guenther: Honorary Marine

Washington, DC – It’s difficult to overstate how much of a privilege it is to be named an Honorary Marine.

“I receive requests all the time for people to be named Honorary Marines,” said 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos. “They send stacks of papers and binders making the case for why someone should receive the honor. It’s not a title that’s given with very much frequency.”

General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps,  declares Karen Guenther, Semper Fi Fund's Founder and CEO, an Honorary Marine. An honor bestowed on very few. Photo courtesy of the Semper Fi Fund
General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, declares Karen Guenther, Semper Fi Fund’s Founder and CEO, an Honorary Marine. An honor bestowed on very few.
Photo courtesy of the Semper Fi Fund
General Amos pins the Marine Corps' "Eagle, Globe and Anchor" emblem on  Karen Guenther, as First Lady of the Marine Corps and Semper Fi Fund board member Bonnie Amos looks on. Photo courtesy of the Semper Fi Fund
General Amos pins the Marine Corps’ “Eagle, Globe and Anchor” emblem on Karen Guenther, as First Lady of the Marine Corps and Semper Fi Fund board member Bonnie Amos looks on.
Photo courtesy of the Semper Fi Fund
General and Mrs. Amos present the citation declaring Karen Guenther an Honorary Marine.  Photo courtesy of the Semper Fi Fund
General and Mrs. Amos present the citation declaring Karen Guenther an Honorary Marine.
Photo courtesy of the Semper Fi Fund

Only the Commandant of the Marine Corps can officially designate an individual an Honorary Marine, and only a few individuals each year receive this honor (in the past 10 years only 32 Honorary Marines have been named).

Among the honorees in the past decade: U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, former New York Times correspondent and President Emeritus at the Council on Foreign Relations Leslie Gelb, actors Gary Sinise and Chuck Norris …

…and now, Semper Fi Fund Founder and CEO Karen Guenther, who received the honor at a surprise presentation September 20, 2014, in the Marine Family Garden at the Home of the Commandants in Washington, D.C.

“I’m speechless,” said a teary-eyed Karen, who was expecting to make a presentation to General Amos and his wife during the event celebrating 10 years of the Semper Fi Fund. Instead, it was General Amos who made a presentation—and a new reason to celebrate!

As the official website of the United States Marine Corps explains, “the ‘Honorary Marine’ title reinforces the special bond between the American people and the Corps by recognizing individuals in the civilian community who have made extraordinary contributions to the Marine Corps.”

The certificate presented to Karen reads:

“Know Ye, that reposing special trust and confidence in the Patriotism, Fidelity and Abilities of Karen Guenther, I do Appoint her an Honorary Marine, United States Marine Corps, for her unyielding support and devotion to Corps and Country.

In testimony whereof, I, General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, hereunto subscribe my name. Done at the City of Washington this 20th day of September in the year of our Lord 2014 and the 238th year of the Independence of the United States of America.”

Congratulations, Karen, from the entire Semper Fi Fund family—no one deserves this honor more than you!

A short video capturing the moment.