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    South N.J. community shares holiday spirit with deploying service members

    South N.J. community shares holiday spirit with deploying service members

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Kenneth Holston | An Airman receives a hug from a military supporter at America's Best Value Inn, Cherry...... read more read more

    JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Airmen, Soldiers and Sailors took a break from the combat training field at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Nov. 26, to indulge in a Thanksgiving Day feast with supporters of the military from the local community.

    Military members currently attending pre-deployment combat skills training for tours to Afghanistan and Iraq were given a short break a from the vigorous six-week training course and the opportunity to have a traditional Thanksgiving Day celebration hosted by local community service organizations.

    Hundreds of Cherry Hill, N.J., locals lined the streets as buses packed with service members rolled into town. The sounds of locals honking their horns and sirens rang through the air greeting troops.

    "We want you to consider us your family," said Eric Spevak, honorary commander representing Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., "We understand the sacrifices each of you has made for your country affording us the opportunity to share Thanksgiving with our families and we want to honor you for doing so."

    A cul-de-sac of community supporters, Vietnam and World War II veterans, and their families stood tall with American flags flying high, anxious to shake the hands of deploying military members.

    "The feeling that came over me when I was walking through the crowd was unexplainable," said Staff Sgt. Marquita Glover, 509th Bomb Wing Force Support Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. "I was so emotional. It's a wonderful feeling to know that so many people appreciate what we do; it makes training for deployments over the holidays worth it."

    Several pounds of turkey and trimmings were provided free of charge for all the service members in attendance giving everyone a chance to mingle in a stress free environment and enjoy a traditional homemade Thanksgiving Day feast.

    As Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers filled up on turkey and yams several guest speakers such as Congressman John Adler, member of U.S. House of Representatives and a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Vince Papale former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver and inspiration for the Disney movie "Invincible" and Garry Cobb former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker took time away from their families to speak at the festivities.

    "We are able to celebrate this day in peace because of our American military members," said Congressman Adler. "You all have made our Thanksgiving Day very special just by coming and spending it with us. Today is your day and there aren't any MREs [Meals Ready to Eat] today, just delicious home cooked food."

    While the Airmen, Soldiers, and Sailors finished their meals and the evening began to wind down trivia prizes were given out. Smiles and laughter filled the Palace of Asia hall making each deploying military member feel a little bit closer to home.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.26.2009
    Date Posted: 11.27.2009 03:17
    Story ID: 42055
    Location: US

    Web Views: 413
    Downloads: 392
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