DECEMBER 16, 2020 – U.S. Marines, sailors and families participated in a “Holiday Extravaganza” on Camp Foster, December 12-13. The event was open to service members and their families to enjoy a traditional holiday activity less than two weeks before Christmas Day.
Marine Corps Community Services along with Headquarters and Support Battalion leadership, Col. Jeffrey L. Hammond and Sgt. Maj. Brian R. Drechsler, hosted the Holiday Extravaganza as an opportunity for service members to enjoy the holidays away from home.
“I think the easiest thing to do is nothing – but I don’t think that is what the families deserve.” said Hammond. “We went to great lengths and spent hundreds of man hours planning this event and included all the units from the base to make this event as safe as it could possibly be for the Marines and families. We wanted to give them something to look forward to for the holidays.”
MCCS strives to make Okinawa home by providing quality of life programs and services designed to meet the needs of Marines and their families.
This year’s “Holiday Extravaganza” featured events included: photos with Santa, a holiday parade, and a tree lighting ceremony. Along with a III Marine Expeditionary Force Band holiday concert, a Nutcracker ballet performance by the Okinawa Island Youth Ballet, and a Christmas hip-hop special performance by Top Dance Academy.
“Events like these allow Marines and families to get out… It boosts morale by allowing them to get more involved with the community and be able to make new connections with others.” Sgt. Ricardo Wright, III MEF Motor Transportation quality control chief
“I came here with my daughter,” said Sgt. Ricardo Wright, a quality control chief with Motor Transportation, 7th Communication Battalion, III MEF Information Group. “Events like these allow Marines and families to get out and actually be able to do something together even though they’re not back in the states. It boosts morale by allowing them to get more involved with the community and be able to make new connections with others.”
MCCS workers worked diligently to comply with COVID-19 mitigation procedures to create a safe, fun environment for service members and families to enjoy the holidays overseas. They continue to enhance their cleaning and sanitizing procedures to ensure the safety of participants and workforce.
This year MCCS also streamed the parade on their Facebook page for those individuals in restriction of movement. This allowed individuals to enjoy the “Holiday Extravaganza” while staying at home.
“Seeing the little kids watch for Santa in the parade has been one of my favorite things to see,” said Drechsler, “really, bringing people together in an uncertain time right now and utilizing the tools we’ve learned in the last few months is boosting the morale of the Marines and families by getting out and having some type of normalcy while maintaining all of those things that we’ve learned.”
For more information regarding MCCS events and services, visit https://www.mccsokinawa.com or your base’s MCCS office.
By Lance Cpl. Faith Rose | Marine Corps Installations Pacific