News: Service members, patrons line up to meet Matt Hughes
Story by Lance Cpl. Nikki Phongsisattanak
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A line of service members and patrons filled the entryway of the Main Exchange aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune with pens and souvenirs in hand Oct. 25. They were all eagerly awaiting the arrival of Matt Hughes, a professional mixed martial arts fighter and one of the professional staff members of Otis Technology, a weapons manufacturing company that coordinated the event.
The line of diehard fans began forming more than an hour prior to his arrival, while others were surprised to stumble upon the event when they entered the exchange.
The signing was held in conjunction with the tactical sales day held at the venue.
“Matt is a huge hunter who was sponsored by Otis for a few years now,” said Michelle Bertocchi, the key account manager for Otis Technology. “He is great supporter of the military, and understands the importance of what they do. He knows his fan base, and wants to give back to his country.”
Marines stood in line stone faced, but as they excitedly approached Hughes their stern expressions softened. Fans went fist to fist with the fighter for a fun photo opportunity.
“I heard he was here, and was glad to be able to get autographs,” said Lance Cpl. Adam McCormack, an electronic intelligence intercept operator with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “He was personable and took the time to talk to each of us.”
McCormack came bearing videogames and DVDs featuring the fighter, proving a true Hughes enthusiast. It was apparent he had been awaiting this occasion.
One Marine stated it was refreshing to know celebrities take the time to support the military.
“I’m nobody special, just an ordinary guy here to support our service members,” said Hughes. “You guys are the ones out there risking your lives to protect our freedom. I appreciate what you all do.”
Hughes visited the base in the past to show his support for Marines. After the signing at the Main Exchange he visited the Wounded Warriors’ bachelor enlisted quarters. Although he was here as part of Otis’ tactical sale, he said his heart was focused on getting to know the military members and thanking them for their service.