MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Sharing traditions, delectable food and fellowship during the holiday season was the theme at the 39th Annual Senior Citizens' Tea held at the Fightertown Officers’ Club hosted by the Air Station’s Officers’ Spouses’ Club Sunday.
The first Senior Tea was hosted by Lynn Shriver, whose husband, Col. R.V. Shriver was the Air Station’s commanding officer in 1969. Throughout the years, the tea has given many senior citizens the opportunity to spend the holidays with Marines on the Air Station.
Last year, Shriver described to The Jet Stream where she obtained the idea for this event: "I originally got the idea from a few Army wives who held their own event. Since their town was similar to the Beaufort community, I figured that if the Army could do it, the Marines could do it better."
“Sadly, this past spring Shriver passed away, however the OSC continues to be committed to carrying on her vision,” said Elizabeth Blankenship, the vice-president of the OSC.
The 150 attendees of this year’s event were greeted at the club’s entrance by various Fightertown Marine officers and senior enlisted in their dress blues.
The Marines escorted the seniors to their seats while a string duet of violinists, Olive Warrenfeltz and Cynthia Bryden, performed classical music pieces.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to attend this year’s tea, and it was truly nice talking to all of the Marines and their wives,” said Lousa Reynolds, a retired Beaufort senior. “I also liked watching all of the wonderful performers the OSC were able to book for the event.”
During the tea, the attendees were given the opportunity to watch performances by the following local entertainment: Low Country Children's Chorus, Beaufort Academy of Dance, a Ring-A-Long with Victoria Russ and the Christmas Story read in Gullah by Ron Daise.
“I think this event helps build a real sense of community in Beaufort, both on and off base,” said Lt. Col. Chuck Dunne, the commanding officer of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. “Every Marine is from a community of some shape or form, and if it wasn’t for seniors like these throughout our Nation, we wouldn’t have all the great freedoms and luxuries that we have today.”
Every year, this event is put together and carried out by many volunteers who remain committed to seeing this tradition continue, explained Beth Pratt, the president of the OSC.
“The OSC is grateful to everyone, both Marines and spouses, who have given their time during this holiday season to help make this year's tea a success,” Pratt said. “Without each of them, it would not have been possible to honor these seniors and give them the Christmas they deserve.”
“For those who don't have anyone to spend the holidays with, it's nice to be a part of something and have someone, such as the Marines, to share it with them," Shriver said.