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Local Marines honored with Thanksgiving Celebration

American Friends of our Armed Forces hosted its15th Annual Adopt a Marine Thanksgiving Celebration to honor and thank the troop's service to our country.

"It was wonderful. They had a great time. They don't often have a day like today, where they can come and enjoy themselves, have lunch, have a gift, and then go on with the rest of their training for the day," said AFAF co-founder Walt Van Benthuysen.

AFAF provided a celebratory BBQ lunch for more than 500 Marines at the 29 Palms Marine Base along with games and gifts for the troops to enjoy.

"As they went through the faces were smiling. They were having a good time. They thanked us for being here and we thank them for their service," said Van Benthuysen.

AFAF supports the men and women of our Armed Forces and provides goods and services to their immediate families remaining at home.

This marks the 15th year that Toscana Country Club has partnered with AFAF to support America’s heroes.

"We've been doing it for a while now. We never dreamed when we started, it would end up to what it is. But now we're servicing five bases in Southern California, and providing programs for families, for children, and for troops that are in combat zones," said Van Benthuysen.

AFAF was founded by Walt and Judy Van Benthuysen 16 years ago.

It is an all-volunteer organization and has raised more than $4 million supporting programs that benefit military personnel deployed at bases throughout the southwest United States.

These programs support the extensive financial, social, and emotional needs of the nation’s military. Funds provide goods and services such as healthy foods, essential toiletries and stationery, and prepaid phone cards to keep families connected.

Also, AFAF works with military bases throughout the southwestern United States to identify and raise awareness for the most pressing needs of the armed forces and their families at home.

"I think the young Marines that were here today, they will see that there are people, including AFAF, that are there for them," said Van Benthuysen. "We value them. We thank them for their service, and we honor and respect them."

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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