MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- ‘Twas a day of Christmas excitement as children of all ages frolicked through the halls and dining room of the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center in their finest holiday attire Dec. 1. They scurried from workshop to workshop with cheer in their eyes, and, in the end, all received a holiday surprise.
CarolinaEast Foundation hosted the 11th annual “Breakfast with Santa” all-day luncheon and invited 15 military families to eat, decorate ornaments, play games and get a family portrait with Santa for free.
“CarolinaEast loves the military and wants to support them in all aspects, including their families,” said Jill Thompson, executive director with the CarolinaEast Foundation. “We are proud supporters of the military, and we want to do everything we can for those who are supporting our country.”
The foundation hosts events year round to help support military members and their families.
Thompson said she personally enjoyed the event because it welcomes and invites military families into the community, it lets them know that people care about them and what they do is appreciated.
Members of the Cherry Point community said they felt welcome.
“It’s nice of them to do something like this, especially for the military,” said Karen Derouin, a military spouse who attended the event. “This is a safe and easy way to get the kids out and doing something. For the spouses whose significant other is deployed, it helps take your mind off the fact they’re gone. It’s hard to explain to a child why mommy or daddy isn’t here.”
As on any military installation, service members are constantly coming and going. Staff Sgt. Austin Keelty recently transferred from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island to work as the logistics chief with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “It’s great what they do for us. For them to take the time to put this together is great for everyone. This gives us something to do, and it helps welcome us to the community.”
The fun and games went on through the day, and the parents relaxed as the children played. “Breakfast with Santa” went on without flaw and holiday cheer was passed on to all.