Families open their homes to new Marines - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Families open their homes to new Marines

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Marines from Camp Geiger unloading the bus at Hoggard High School where they were greeted by families. Marines from Camp Geiger unloading the bus at Hoggard High School where they were greeted by families.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – While many people spent Thanksgiving with friends and family, new Marines don't have the same luxury.

Dozens of families in Wilmington opened their homes and their hearts to give the military men and women a chance to relax for the holiday.

About 150 Marines came to the area from Camp Geiger in Jacksonville to spend Thanksgiving with a family.

For some, this was their first Thanksgiving away from home and the fact that a complete stranger wanted to cook for them made them feel special. Most of the young Marines were planning to spend the holiday eating in a mess hall.

"I know it was really bothering some people back at the squad bay that they weren't going to get to eat Thanksgiving with their family because they normally do," explained Private Austin Lemaster.

Instead, Lemaster and 148 other young Marines were bussed to Wilmington to spend Thanksgiving with one of 75 families who opened their doors and their kitchens.

"We normally eat Thanksgiving just the two of us, so why not open our homes to someone that needs it," explained Terry and Marty Clever who wanted to find a way to say thank you. "It's really neat to know there are people that give of themselves to help protect us."

Private Lemaster said all the stirring and mashing really means a lot.

"Seeing the wonderful food being prepared makes you feel special," said Lemaster.

Even though he's not at his home, Lemaster said being with a family, watching the parade and smelling the turkey in the oven makes him feel like he is.

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