By Wayne Eggleston
It is that holiday time of year to give thanks and recognition to the San Clemente groups who support Camp Pendleton Marine activities. There are so many of them, so please forgive me if I did not mention your group.
First, I would like to thank those groups who have made The Heritage of San Clemente Foundation, The Marine Monument, and a nonprofit 501c3, such success this year, of which I am the volunteer executive director. Not only do we have two major ceremonies there each year, including Memorial Day and Veterans Day/USMC Birthday, but Park Semper Fi is also available for Marine weddings, re-enlistment, retirement and memorial ceremonies. This year, we had a Welcome Home Parade for the 2/4 and thousands lined the street down to Park Semper Fi. The city of San Clemente and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (RSVPs) have been terrific with these ceremonies, but also the Chamber of Commerce, San Clemente Garden Club and Glen’s Landscaping and Lighting have been invaluable partners. Thank you. www.marinemonument.com.
I got a lot of my inspiration in designing and building Park Semper Fi from Bertha Henry, who just celebrated her 101st birthday. Bertha was instrumental in the city’s first hospitality center for Camp Pendleton Marines. She is an icon and a San Clemente treasure.
The Exchange Club has an annual golf tournament for Marines that supports a variety of Marine causes, including the care of Marine families.
The San Clemente Military Family Outreach feeds nearly 1,000 Marine families each year at Thanksgiving. The event is funded by their annual talent show, which is the best talent show in Southern California. Don’t miss it next year, as it is outstanding.
The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual barbecue for 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, our adopted unit, helped by many volunteers including the South Coast Detachment Marine Corps League.
The San Clemente Marine Corps Support Group ships 7,200 pairs of socks and 600 blankets to our troops in Afghanistan. The Hogans, a Gold Star family, organize this endeavor.
Our former Mayor Jim Dahl and his wife Alice have been the city ambassadors to Marine Corps functions at Camp Pendleton every year and I hope that they continue to do so, as they have been terrific in connecting with the Marines for many years.
Sunrise Rotary collects food items and turkeys every year for Marines and their families during the holiday season.
The San Clemente Presbyterian Church has adopted their own Marine Corps Unit and provides services to many families each year. What dedication they have had for many decades.
The Watershed Task Force hosts a holiday dinner for Marines each year, thanking them for their support in helping to keep our beaches clean.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, along with Eagle Scouts Mason Dove and Collins Jones shipped hundreds of “goodie boxes” to the 2/4 and HMLA 469 in Afghanistan. I have never seen such organization and commitment by any group in preparing the effort to collect and ship!
The Fisherman, Selma’s and Carbonara restaurants have been incredible with their support of Marines and their families. Bob Novello and Tony Carbonara are the absolute best when it comes to donating their food and talents.
So what can we do as individuals when we see Marines and their families out for dinner in San Clemente? Personally thank them and anonymously pay for their dinner. It is amazing to see the surprised look on their faces when the waiter tells them their dinner has been covered by a grateful community.
In the meantime, for a Tribute to America, go to: www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=TnQDW-NMaRs#!