It’s the start of holiday travel and the Palm Springs Airport is full of people eager to visit their loved ones for Christmas next week. One local organization is making sure our local service men and women get to their loved ones in time for the holidays.
Traveling anywhere during the holidays can be an adventure, but it’s especially challenging for our service men and women at Twentynine Palms Marine Base. Many have early flights, the base is far away, and they don’t have a lot of money. That’s where the Bob Hope USO comes in.
Taking a well deserved break from serving our country, these marines are headed home for the holidays.
“Most of them are staying overnight, a lot of them have early morning flights, some have already caught their flights home, we are just doing what we can to make it easier on them and to give them their home away from home,” said USO center manager Teresa Cherry.
Lance Corporal Ralph Edouard is surprising his family in Long Island, New York.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen my family. It’s been 7 months since I’ve seen my family, so it’s going to be great seeing them,” said Edouard.
No matter where they are going, the USO is here to help make the trip that much more comfortable.
“I’m going home, just staying here for the night. It’s nice they set up all of this for us, they got us food and a place to stay luckily we are able to enjoy the night here and then head off back home to our families,” said Lance Corporal Eric Trevisanut.
Over 1,000 service men and women are expected to walk these halls this holiday season.
“We provide the free WiFi, we give them a lounge to go and sit and watch TV. They can play video games, they have the computers, they can talk on the telephone, it’s what ever they want, they can catch a meal,” said Cherry. “It’s just their home, we are here for them.”
The Bob Hope USO isn’t doing it alone, The Knights of Columbus are helping to serve up a hot a meal.
“The chili, the chili is amazing,” said Private First Class Kevin Gomez.
SOS is giving the marines rides to and from the airport, a place they would be stuck if not for the USO.
“Probably just found a chair and slept there and bought a snack or something. We got this all for free, people are volunteering to help us out here, I really appreciate it,” said Trevisanut.
“It’s pleasant to see people out here giving us food and thanking us it’s an honor,” said Gomez.
A little bit of home these volunteers are only to happy to provide.
“It makes me feel good, I was in the service myself, and its my way of giving back, to know that they have volunteered to serve their country in this capacity, it makes me feel good, it make all my volunteers feel good,” said Cherry.
The USO will be open for 24 hours this weekend. The Palm Springs center is a non-profit and runs on donation and volunteer support. If you would like to help out Click Here for more information.