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Yolanda Mayo, right, the deputy operations officer for Marine Corps Community Services, hosts a raffle at the 8th annual tree lighting ceremony on Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, Dec. 6, 2020. The annual celebration brings service members and their families together to start the holiday season. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez

MCAS New River hosts annual tree lighting celebration 2020

11 Dec 2020 | Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez Marine Corps Air Station New River

Children of all ages shared in the magic of the holiday season at the 8th annual Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River tree lighting ceremony at the MCAS New River Base Theater parking lot, Dec. 6, 2020.
The event kicked off with welcoming remarks from Col. Curtis V. Ebtiz, commanding officer for MCAS New River, followed by the 18 foot tree being lit, after which attendees dispersed to participate in holiday-themed activities.
“It is a great opportunity to get the community together in these trying times,” Ebitz said. “It is a great outlet for the kids to come out and see Santa while still social distancing, but it is one of those things that we wanted to keep going.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year has presented challenges in gathering to celebrate this nearly decade-long tradition.
Festive music, holiday lights and Santa and Mrs. Claus were in attendance. Children were able to drop off letters to Santa in a festively decorated “Santa’s mailbox.” Each child will receive a personalized letter in response from Santa.
“This event brings the community together as one; not only for those who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. It truly is a community event,” said Christy Shupe, administration assistant, Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) recreation branch.
The event was made possible by local service members and MCCS volunteers and all activities adhered to COVID-19 precautions.

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