Anaheim 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Adoption Committee
Anaheim 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Adoption Committee
As with everything else in 2020, Christmas was impacted by COVID and we were unable to have our usual more formal event on base. Instead, the party was held outdoors at the Mellano Farm Stand in Oceanside on December 13. CDC guidelines were followed and in order to "socially distance" the number of families that were able to come through the venue were limited to a small number at a time.
While we missed the usual event, our families made the best of it and had a good time. Each family was taken on a 15 to 20 minute hay ride around the beautiful farm grounds and even Santa Claus knew that he had to be socially distanced this year. While the kids didn’t get to sit on Santa’s lap, they were still able to give him their Christmas wish and have their picture taken with him.
Instead of our traditional Christmas buffet, we were able to purchase a "take and bake" meal from Olive Garden for each family. The families had a choice of Lasagna or Stuffed Cheese Shells and each meal came with a huge salad, complete with a bottle of their famous Italian dressing, and a dozen of their very delicious garlic bread sticks. The meals were packaged with everything needed and ready to go home with each family where they could be baked and enjoyed. The Committee also purchased a vegetable box from Mellano Farm Stand for each family to take home and enjoy later.
Each child was given a Sorcerer Mickey Plush, a stuffed animal of their choice and was able to pick out one toy form the nearly 250 donated toys !! Home Depot so graciously donated a craft kit for each family to take home and do together. Decorations were donated and the families were able to take home anything they wanted.
We were concerned about how Christmas would look this year but were once again blown away by the amazing support and generosity of so many. A special THANK YOU to Disneyland for the grant; even with the shutdown they continue to support our families, nothing short of amazing.
THANK YOU also to Orange High School Lancer Baseball, The Rock Community Church, the Orange Republican Women Federated, Anaheim Kaiser Oncology Nurses, Disneyland's "Operation Sparkle", Mickey's Attic, Knights of Columbus Council 9195, Ganahl Lumber, Hunsaker & Associates and their employees and to the countless others who loved and supported our families.
Not only were our 13th MEU families blessed, the outpouring of donated toys was so over the top, we were able to share with the families of the 11th and 15th MEUs as well. The impact of so much love happened right before our eyes and it was priceless !!!
With COVID and deployment, 2020 was an extremely difficult year but because of so many kind people, our families were given a day to just have a good time and put the craziness aside. We could not have blessed our families without the kindness and generosity of all of those who donated; your support is beyond priceless. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing the "reason for the season" with our families - we are all blessed beyond measure.
A huge thank you to the employees and customers of Albertsons located at 810 S. State College Blvd (@South St.) in Anaheim. Albertsons has partnered with the Committee for several years to help provide Thanksgiving meals for our families. In addition, this year Albertsons donated bags of potatoes, extra pumpkins pies, Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, extra sides and loaves of bread. With monetary donations from the community, the Committee purchased Commissary gift cards which were given to the families to purchase extra dinner items. A special thank you to CHRIS ORANGE for arranging this partnership. The amazing staff and customers went overboard this year by donating 71 meals, which certainly exemplifies the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
The City of Anaheim has been putting on a fabulous Veterans Day Ceremony for several years now. The Marines of the 13th MEU come up from Camp Pendleton to participate in the event every year when not deployed. This year brought not only the pandemic which cancelled the in-person event but also deployment. The City of Anaheim did an awesome job with the Virtual event and captured all the usual emotions. Grab a Kleenex and please enjoy the video below which includes several clips of our Marines in past ceremonies. As a special treat, you'll be able to listen to a Special 2020 Veterans Day Message by Col. Priddy and SgtMjr Glass all the way from Kuwait !!! Thank you Anaheim for such a moving and patriotic "ceremony" - great job in a difficult year !!
Historically when Marines are deployed and there is no Birthday Ball, the Committee hosts a Halfway Dinner Cruise for the spouses. Childcare is provided by the Committee so that the spouses can let their hair down for a few hours and enjoy each other's company. Due to COVID 19 this event was replaced by a drive-through gift bag event. Each family received a gift bag full of all kinds of goodies, each bag being valued at approximately $150.
Thank you to the sweet little ladies of JUNIOR GIRL SCOUT TROOP 5121 here in Orange County. They collected left over candy from Halloween for our 13th MEU families. Well done ladies, you should be proud of yourselves for giving back. We appreciate your kindness and so did our families.
Due to COVID 19, Easter events on base were cancelled. The Committee was unable to provide Easter baskets, the annual BBQ lunch and Easter egg hunt. The Camp Pendleton USO brought in the Easter bunny and drove by the families homes.
Thank you to one of our families for sharing pictures of their Easter egg decorating. Looks like they had fun!
Happy birthday to the 13th MEU who celebrated their 35th birthday on February 5th. The 13th MEU was activated February 1, 1985, at Camp Pendleton as the 13th Amphibious Unit, Fleet Marine Force and was assigned to 1 Marine Amphibious Force. The unit was redesigned on February 5, 1988, as the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Of course they celebrated their birthday like most of us do - with a long conditioning hike as part of their pre-deployment training, followed by lunch. The Committee, as part of its Marine Recognition Program, donated beautiful commemorative anniversary coins, one for each Marine. Your donations at work! The Marines were so grateful for this memorable keepsake of their time in the 13th MEU.
What an honor it was for the Committee to host a Pre-Deployment Bowling Party. The event was held on February 29 at the Leatherneck Lanes on Camp Pendleton. Bowling - check. Pizza and soda - check. Family fun - check. Memories that are sure to last during deployment - priceless !! A million thanks to all who donate to the Committee - this event is truly your donations in action !!!
This is a non-federal entity. It is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no governmental status.