MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point military spouses were treated to a day of history, regalia, cuisine and shopping as a gesture of thanks from a reputable New Bern organization Dec. 6.
The New Bern Military Alliance (NBMA) hosted a group of 14 local spouses for its semiannual Military Spouses Appreciation Tour of North Carolina’s first state capital.
According to Nancy Alexander, alliance committee member, the NMBA has been sponsoring the tour since 2008, and hosts it just as the holiday season gets underway in consideration that some spouses may be apart from their military partner due to deployment.
A personal guide led the group through the Tryon Palace, and regaled it with historic interpretations of palace life, the state’s first family and governor’s residence. The group later boarded a trolley and cruised the streets of New Bern to hear accounts of its diverse history, learning of the city’s early residents and noteworthy guests, the history of prominent homes and buildings, landmarks and some of its original infrastructure. The group was also treated to lunch at one of the city’s newest restaurants before being released for shopping and further exploration in the downtown quarter.
Some of the spouses who participated took advantage of the offering to learn more of the local city, engage with other spouses and to get a little time away from their routine.
I think it’s great that (the NMBA working in coordination with MCAS Cherry Point Community Plans and Liaison Office) planned this out for the military spouses,” said Martha Morrison, spouse and veteran Marine, “especially since spouses could be deployed. You really feel a bit appreciated for all the time you’re spending with the kids. So far, I’m having a good time and I’m aware of things I didn’t know about New Bern,” she added.
Judith Taylor, military spouse and two-year Cherry Point resident, said she joined the tour in hopes of meeting other spouses. She said she also took part to capitalize on the information the tour would offer about places to explore in New Bern. “I really appreciate the Chamber of Commerce for organizing this and supporting the military and the spouses,” she said.
Veronica Duplessis said participation was worthwhile because it gave her awareness of things she and her family can do to enhance their quality of life while here, as well as how the city appreciates its military members and their families. “It makes a huge difference when the community shows they’re supporting you,” she said.
The NBMA is a part of the New Bern Chamber of Commerce and began offering the tour as a gesture of appreciation to military spouses for the different things they endure in support of their service member spouses, said retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Tom Braaten, NBMA co-chairman.
The event is also in recognition of the proximity of the military installation and its progressive impact on local commerce and economy, as military families make up a large portion of its residents, community volunteers and consumers.
“Our thing with the military alliance is simple. It’s that we love our Marines and Sailors,” said Kevin Roberts, New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce director, mentioning that the board purposely makes efforts to support the various cross-sections of the military community with different events throughout the year. “Marines are a part of our lives, and we like it that way.”
According to Roberts, the alliance is a Chamber of Commerce committee that was established approximately 20 years ago. It was formed to educate the business community in New Bern of the base’s impact on the local economy, and to heighten the awareness of New Bern among the military community at Cherry Point.