William and Judy Vanbenthuysen are the founders of American Friends of our Armed Forces. Today they’re celebrating the 11th annual adopt a marine for Thanksgiving program.
“We’ve got almost 400 marines coming down to the valley to 10 different country clubs, 175 host families. It’s a day to give thanks and who more can we be thankful for than those who serve our country,” said
Dozens awaiting the guests of honor.
“I’m really excited to do fun activities with them. They have been working really hard and they can have a lot of food with us,” said Jeffrey and Hayden Harrow, Indian Wells residents.
For the Richters, it’s tradition.
“It’s wonderful that these young men are providing such great service to our country and most of these fellas are on the young side and they’re away from home for the first time in their lives and I was in the military and remember what it’s like being away from home,” said local resident Fran and Jeffrey Ritcher.
The Richters are one of the largest host families at the Toscana Country Club. They are welcoming home Private First Class Trevonn Caeser and Private First Class Trevon Thomas, both who are spending Thanksgiving without their families for the first time.
“Honestly, being welcomed into someone else’s home is very interesting, it’s very much exciting, especially being that their family is so large, it kind of reminds me of my own family and how close they are together,” Thomas said.
“A lot of times you feel like, I wonder what everyone else is doing while we’re doing our thing, so it’s good to see that everyone’s really supportive of what we’re doing,” Ceasar said. “It feels good to be loved even when we’re not around..it was really comforting.”