After 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Caroline Fermin returned home to Beaufort in 2013, just as she always intended.
The Corps took her to Japan, Hawaii, Florida and Washington, D.C., and now she'll start the next chapter of her career close to those Marine Corps roots. On June 30, Fermin joined the Parris Island Historical and Museum Society as the organization's new executive director. She will focus on fundraising and building the society's membership.
"I'm very blessed," she said. "It's a very exciting time."
The society provides the funding for the museum and its displays by soliciting donations and operating the gift shop. It also conducts outreach and educational programs to build interest in the museum and its history.
Fermin enlisted in 1988 after graduating from the University of South Carolina. A Battery Creek High School graduate, Fermin had worked at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island's family service center before enlisting.
After 25 years of service, Fermin retired as a lieutenant colonel. Before taking the executive director position with the historical society, she served briefly as the outreach and enrollment coordinator for Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services.
The executive director position was created to continue the organization's 24-year history of growth, society public affairs officer George Hijar said.
Fermin has extensive management experience, serving in positions with the Marine Corps' Manpower and Reserves Division and the Manpower and Personnel Division in the U.S. Central Command.
Fundraising and outreach is relatively new territory for her, but Fermin said she is up for the challenge.
"We wouldn't be where we are without our financial support," she said.
Fermin said the museum and historical society would continue preserving the history of Parris Island and would seek to integrate more of Beaufort's history. She pointed to the upcoming Parris Island centennial in 2015 and the recent unveiling of a centuries-old canoe at the museum as examples of both efforts.
"It's an incredibly important time for the area," she said. "I'm so stoked to be here."
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.
Related content: Centuries-old canoe unveiled at Parris Island, June 18, 2014