MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. --
River Oaks Residential Care in Beaufort, S.C., received Marines, roses and fellowship this Valentines Day.
Twenty Marines from the Air Station and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island spent time speaking and enjoying a meal with the residents of the community.
"This was my first year getting to experience the visit and it was awesome," said Tony Makar, the administrator for the assisted care facility. "It makes all the residents feel so special, the ladies especially seem to like the visit."
Each Marine would deliver a rose to one of the residents and escort them to the dining area for lunch.
"We have been doing this event for nearly 10 years, and the residents always seem to look forward to it," said Benji Pangelinan, Marine Corps Community Services Single Marine and Sailor Porgram coordinator for the Air Station. "This year we had quite a few volunteers, I had five more volunteer the same day.
"It was a good feeling knowing that so many Marines wanted to take part, I was sad I had to turn them away because they did not have enough space."
Marines visited with the infirmed who could not make it to lunch, while other residents began to stir and leave their rooms early in anticipation. After all were seated, conversations ensued comparing histories or just asking questions about each other’s families.
Many of the residents are either veterans or have family members who were veterans. The residents constantly let their uniformed visitors know how much their service means to them.
The residents have even started to build a model train replica of the Magnolia line, which was the rail way that would take new recruits from the Yemassee train station to Parris Island in the early 1900’s.
"The Marine Corps is a large part of this community, and it is the reason that many of our residents came to the area in their youth," said Makar. "The Marine Corps over the years has also become a big part of these residents’ lives."
The Marines gave more than chocolates and flowers, they gave back to the community, which has welcomed the Corps with open arms.