WALLACE, NC (WECT) - As part of an annual tradition, River Landing, a golf community in Wallace, NC, is hosting a day-long Thanksgiving initiative for about 100 Marines from Camp Lejeune who don't have families to be with on Thanksgiving this year.
In the morning, to symbolize respect for those who serve their country, two buses from Camp Lejeune embarked on the 45-minute rode to River Landing, escorted by local, county and state police officers and sheriffs, along with a group of motorcycle riders.
"There was nothing else I was really doing," said Dylan Kemp.
Kemp is a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, but he is originally from Texas.
"I wasn't planning on going back to Texas so I figured I would go sit in my barracks."
Kemp thought it would be fun to join in on the fun in River Landing.
The day continued with a delicious breakfast at the clubhouse, and from there, the soldiers can spend to choose their day in any way they wish. For some, this includes golf lessons, kayaking, fishing, and using the fitness center and pool. For others, it means relaxing or helping out in the kitchen.
"It's a wonderful thing," said Carol Steen. Steen and her husband Robert are the masterminds behind this military operation. "People say thank you for doing this but its truly our pleasure."
The Steens first hosted about 12 Marines in their home about five years ago. Their closest family is 3,000 miles away so they wanted to reach out and help some people in the community.
"Initially I think they are a little unsure of their footing because it's a strange environment and they've never met us before, but I think most host families really go out of their way to make them feel relaxed and like it's their home," said Robert.
For dinner, host families in River Landing welcome marines into their homes to feast. The marines leave with gift bags and leftovers.
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322 Shipyard Boulevard