By Wayne Eggleston
San Clemente has a very long and honored tradition of being very supportive of the United States Marine Corps. As the Marines celebrate their 236th birthday this November 10, l would like to recap the support that our Spanish Village by the Sea has demonstrated over the many years in assisting Marines at Camp Pendleton.
We have many different organizations that have taken up the mantle, not only to welcome Marines to the community, but also to support them and their families while they are on deployment.
The Sunrise Rotary Club has adopted a light helicopter squadron for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, along with a toy drive. They will be stationed outside Ralphs at Ocean View Plaza and Albertsons, near the high school. They give lists to shoppers with the hope that they will fill Sunrise Rotary’s baskets as they leave with all sorts of holiday food goodies.
San Clemente Military Family Outreach, with the help of St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea Methodist Church, raises funds each year with a variety show to feed 1,200 Marine families in north Camp Pendleton at Thanksgiving and Easter. Throughout the year, they are active with baby showers, baby supplies, toys, clothes, car repairs and school supplies at San Onofre School.
The San Clemente Exchange Club holds an annual Semper Fi Golf Tournament and provides support to military family services and the wounded Marine battalion at Camp Pendleton.
San Clemente Presbyterian Church has a stellar Marine program and supports the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion with year-round support. They cook Thanksgiving dinners for over 1,000 families, organize baby showers, greet Marines from deployment with gift baskets on the bunks and provide blankets from the San Clemente Knitters. Additionally the members have a Christmas gift giving and a donate Christmas trees programs. They have partially or fully furnished 23 homes with furniture. In the spirit of their church, they have a prayer partner for every deployed Marine and send care packages.
The City of San Clemente and the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce have adopted two Marine Units: 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines and helicopter squadron HMLA 367. They have had parades from Marines returning from Iraq, send-off deployment barbecues and welcome-home barbecues.
Rod and Ruth Rodriquez and their extended family of volunteers provide the most incredible food to 1,000 Marines and their families. Currently, the 2/4 is deployed, and they are organizing the community to provide a long list of supplies going into care packages to be shipped to 1,200 Marines in Afghanistan. This is huge effort and if you can help with this effort, it would be most appreciated. To see a list of supplies needed, visit www.marinemonument.com or www.san-clemente.org.
The Heritage of San Clemente Foundation created and operates Park Semper Fi, the Marine Monument, provides support to a variety of Marine programs and maintains this beautiful park overlooking the ocean. They sponsor many activities at the park, including Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies.
Semper Fidelis, Marines, and God bless you for your service to America.
To learn more about these and other programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949.498.4958.
By Wayne Eggleston