Jacksonville Daily News
By Jannette Pippin
Daily News Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2017
The event, they said, helps bring the comfort of home to military personnel and their families. It was the first year for volunteering for retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Rademacher of Greenville, who worked the serving line.
Marine Sgt. Ian King, left, and Sgt. Bryce Duis, center, were served dessert by volunteer Vickie Walker during the USO Jacksonville Center Thanksgiving Dinner. Jannette Pippin/The Daily News
The welcome mat at the entrance of the USO center in downtown Jacksonville reads “Home Away From Home” and for many that was the case as they gathered for food and fellowship at the annual Thanksgiving dinner.
The USO was prepared to feed 2,000 or more military personnel and their families, serving up the traditional Thanksgiving Day meals of turkey, ham and all the fixings.
Trinity Monbeck arrived early with her mother, Tricia Dodds, and two sons, Colby, 2, and Luke, 11 months. Absent was her husband, Marine Staff Sgt. Charles Monbeck, who is deployed overseas for nine months.
“He is the cook in the family and since he’s gone on deployment, we decided we’d come here,” Monbeck said.
While some families had a loved one who was deployed others in attendance included young Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune and far from their home towns.
Marine Pfc. Alex Gutzmer, a member of the Single Marine Program, brought along Pfc. Demond Patton of Alabama and Pfc. Dante Hall of Missouri to ensure they enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal and fellowship with others.
Gutzmer, who is from Wisconsin, said the USO served up a great meal and they appreciate having a place to come to enjoy the holiday.
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