MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- More than two thousand active duty military members and their families were recognized at Shady point aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, May 14, for their service to the nation.
The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted Military Appreciation day, in which active duty service members from the Air Station, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Naval Hospital Beaufort, their families and retirees attended.
“We host Military Appreciation Day each year to recognize the outstanding service of active duty service members in all that they do for our nation,” said Eric Deaton, vice chair/chair elect, Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We celebrate this day and also thank the families of service member and all that they do to support our troops.”
The event also included retired service members who served the United States in the past, according to Deaton.
“We also want to recognize on this day the retired military men and women that have gone on before and all the commitment that they have shown to us,” Deaton said. “Their integrity, valor and strength. We just want to thank them for their service.”
Sponsored by Hargray and the Hargray Yellow Pages, along with a host of regional local businesses, the event contained activities for kids, live music and lunch. Various locations around Shady Point had activities for the children which included a bounce house, a water slide and more.
Along with the local entertainment, Hargray sponsored a direct connection from Beaufort to Iraq with ten phone lines suing Voice Over Internet Protocol, that provided no-cost conversations to families and the their loved ones in Iraq. Hargray also provided two point-to-point video teleconferencing.
“It was an exciting experience to actually see him,” said Melissa Hudson, wife of Sgt. Heath Hudson, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. “I think that (Military Appreciation Day) is good it recognizes the military for what they do.”
In Iraq 50 Marines and a Sailor from MALS-31, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 and Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 spoke to their loved ones through video teleconferencing. Each Marine had 10 minutes to speak to their loved ones.
“It was good to see my family,” said Lance Cpl. Luke J. Olsup, 22, Motor Transport, MWSS-273. “It’s nice to know that they have great support back home; it makes my job easier. The webcam was awesome. My oldest (15 months) kept grabbing for the camera, because he couldn’t figure out where I was. I really appreciate this. It shows a lot of support for the Marines and sailors here. Doing something like this proves they care and that we mean a lot to the Beaufort community.”
The Marines that had a chance to participate said talking to their families was a boost in the morale in Iraq.
“I think this is great,” Pfc. Dominic Orlando, ordnance man, VMFA(AW)-224. “It helped boost my morale and it tells me that everyone is okay at home. This was the first time I’ve seen my family since January.”
The Marines at home also believed that Military Appreciation Day was a good event that recognizes the sacrifice that service members make in serving their country.
“I definitely felt appreciated, said Pfc. Jason Fox, crash crewman, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. “It’s a good feeling that doesn’t happen very often.”