Well its that time again. CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!! I know some of you are not going to have your SR with you. As a Navy mom and retired navywife, I certainly know how that feels. This being said, each year Great Lakes allow different organization to host SRs for Christmas. We are a part of that. Now is the time to start telling your SRs to remember where they go on Christmas, if they are lucky enough to go anywhere. As in years past we DO NOT know in advance who we host. We only know as they come off the buses. It is generally those who are going to graduate the next week and graduate in January. As they pile off the buses we ask what divisions they are in. So if you have one that fits that graduation date, stay tuned. We are a part of a Church in Indiana, we have hosted on average anywhere from 200 to 600 SRs. We pick them up early in the morning, they arrive around 10 11 am to open arms, smiles and very grateful hearts. They will be feed a traditional spread of Christmas fixings. Baked goods that they church members have made. The preparation has been weeks in advance. And I must say from personal experience that everything is made from scratch. Many many potatoes peeled for mashed potatoes. I have my peeler ready to go! They will have time to phone home, play basket ball, play video games, pool and movie. And get many hugs!! Many of the volunteers bring their own personal cell phones so they are able to make more than one phone call. Now if they take mine, I do attach the stipulation that they call MOM FIRST :) After all has settled they get back in line for more food. They eat again, they watch a skit and they sing Christmas songs. It is a time of love. Our goal is for them to feel as loved as they would if they where home. This is ran by ALL volunteers. Everything is paid for by donations. PLEASE know this great amount of love in this program. The economy has been hard hit and getting donations is harder than ever. But you ask anyone to brighten a Military members Christmas by a donation, it makes your soul shine to see how fast they open and dig deep into their wallet. They have a professional photographer taking pictures and a video is put together. We also go around and take lots and lots of pictures. As soon as we get home my daughter fields many emails for pictures and tries to post as many as she can. Again, please know that this is all volunteers. After long days of preparation, and long day Christmas Day we try to post as many as we can. So for right now please tell your SR to know where he/she is going and mention it on that day. Chicago area host a lot of SRs. We seem to have the ones graduating in the end of december and january time frame. Look for phone calls in the 219 area code. if that is YOU, please keep close contact with me. Pictures of that day will be coming. I will post what divisions we hosted. We have a blast every Christmas and this has become our tradition. It is one way we can give back. And what better way then to make sure your SR feels love on the most loved day of the year. I want to THANK YOU in advance for raising Heros that want to serve. We do not take it lightly the dangers that lay out there and that they do this for us. One thing we encounter every year, is how grateful the SRs are and the family members. PLEASE know, it is US that are grateful to YOU!!! I know the hard aches that come with service and going on 6 years I know the heart aches of being a mom to a service member. I know that the best gift at Christmas is having your family with you. But as a mom, second best is a phone call and know that some strange who does not know you loved you enough to spend Christmas with someone who is important to you. If we host your SRs I only ask that the kindness shown to your SR you remember and pass it forward. Say thank you, buy a cup of coffee, give them a hug. They need to know that we care!! God Bless!