MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON. Calif. --
Only days before Thanksgiving, Marines with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, honored the community of Newport Beach for their 10 years of supporting the battalion at a city council meeting at the Newport Beach council chambers, Nov. 26.
It was a fitting time to show the appreciation for the countless care packages, deployment goodbyes, homecomings and the fundraisers the community put together during the last decade for the Marines, sailors and their families.
“Newport Beach adopted 1st Bn., 1st Marines, in 2003 to provide financial support to Marines and their families whether deployed or at home,” said Krisztina Scheeff, committee member of the Newport Beach 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Foundation.
Newport Beach has supported the battalion during numerous deployments and this was an opportunity for the Marines to recognize their adopted community.
“It was my privilege to honor the city of Newport Beach and Mayor Keith Curry,” said Lt. Col. Lance Jackola, the commanding officer with the battalion. “For 10 years they continued to support the Marines, sailors and their families. In that time frame servicemembers and their families endured numerous deployments, especially in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.”
Jackola presented the mayor with a plaque while council members were presented with a 1st Bn., 1st Marines coin. Several Marines were in attendance for the meeting, including numerous Purple Heart recipients.
“The Marines got to see the outpouring of support from the city council members and the citizens of Newport Beach,” said Jackola, a native of Burnsville, Minn. “A lot of times they reap the benefits of the community but do not see the face of the people who support us.”
The foundation puts together fundraisers and events to support the Marines and their loved ones. The events vary from car washes and mess nights to an annual Marine Corps inspired beach race. While the events are helpful, one Marine said to not overlook the small things.
“I remember coming back from deployment and they had little gift packages with a lot of random stuff in it,” said Cpl. Chester Jensen, an assistant platoon sergeant with the battalion. “I wasn’t expecting anything and it was really nice of them. A lot of guys get back and they don’t have people waiting for them because their families live in different states. It was nice having people here welcoming us. It was the little things, the care packages and the homecoming gifts, that really stood out in my mind.”
Jensen deployed twice with the battalion, once with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit during 2011 and once to Afghanistan during 2012. He was one of many Marines who received care packages from the community. Jensen said the packages meant a lot, especially to the servicemembers who did not receive anything else.
“The packages really raised morale,” Jensen said. “It makes Marines feel more at home and cared about.”
Entering into the holiday season, the community of Newport Beach and the members of the foundation continue to support the servicemembers.
“I think this holiday season we are going to send packages to Bravo Company,” said Scheeff, a native of Irvine. “They are so far away and we want to give them a piece of home. It’s very important for them know that people here think of them and appreciate them.”
Marines with Bravo Co. recently deployed to reinforce an embassy in the Middle East. They will soon be the recipients of care packages from Newport Beach as the community continues to support the Marines.