CAMP PENDLETON – Members of Heart to Heart Camp Pendleton hosted their first annual Thanksgiving Holiday Program on Nov. 24. They not only adopted 12 Marines from the School of Infantry and treated them to a Thanksgiving outing, they also provided fully cooked meals to deserving families aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
The 12 Marines, ranging in age from 17 to 19, were chosen through the Armed Services YMCA’s “Adopt a Marine for Thanksgiving” program. Mary Young, along with her husband, John, and team member Jeannie Allen arrived at the pickup location in a white Hummer limousine.
Once in the limo, they discovered that only one of the Marines was from California, the rest were mostly from small town America. They shared that they were thankful for their families, the opportunity to serve their nation as United States Marines, and for being taken out for Thanksgiving.
The trip to the Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach included a stop at Main Beach to stroll down the boardwalk leading to a path to the beautiful hill-top Las Brises Restaurant and gazebo, to enjoy the awesome shoreline and view of the city.
Then they stopped for coffee at the Hotel Laguna where they took in the view from the patio overlooking the ocean. To their surprise, a Marine Corps veteran and patron of the hotel picked up the tab for their coffee as a thank you to the Marines for their service.
They toured the Montage Resort as well as Treasure Island Park next door. At noon, the hostess escorted them into the Montage Grand Ballroom where the Thanksgiving buffet dinner was being held.
“We watched as the Marines’ jaws dropped to the floor in awe at the exorbitant display of flowers, props, centerpieces, carved ice sculpture displays above the trays of fresh crab claws and jumbo shrimp, and the buffet tables of prime rib, turkey, salmon, vegetables, salads, soups, breads and more, all beautifully displayed with colorful decorations,” said Young. “And to top it off, they were amazed at the separate room with lit fireplace filled with nothing but desserts!”
One Marine stood up at the table and gave a toast thanking Heart to Heart for the dinner, stating that they had never seen anything like this before.
To which they responded, “Only the best for our Marines!”
Many families stopped by their table to speak to the Marines and take pictures. Montage Chef Craig Strong also stopped by to welcome the Marines and thank them for their service to their country.
After leaving the Montage, they made one last stop at the Laguna Cliff’s Marriott Hotel for cherry cokes and a beautiful view of Dana Point Harbor.
The gift of fully cooked Thanksgiving dinners to deserving families aboard MCB Camp Pendleton was prepared by Felix Barbecue With Soul Restaurant in Oceanside. Each dinner served six to eight people, and consisted of a whole smoked turkey, Kalua-glazed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sausage sage dressing, mac-n-cheese, fresh steamed buttery vegetables, cranberry sauce, brioche dinner rolls, cornbread muffins, and a whole sweet potato pie for dessert.
As usual, Felix received rave reviews from the Marines for the delicious home-style cooking of which he is famous for. Mary Young said Heart to Heart gives “many thanks to Felix and his staff for their continued support of our ministry aboard MCB Camp Pendleton and mission to bless as many Marines and their families as possible during the Thanksgiving holiday season.”