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Friends of the 1st CEB Donates $1,000 Towards Christmas Dinner for Marines

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Staff Report

During this past Christmas week the San Clemente Presbyterian Church, with money donated by Cerritos’ Friends of the 1st CEB and other area organizations, fed and served Christmas dinner to over 1,200 1st Combat Engineer Battalion Marines and their families.

Toys and money were also donated by the Cerritos Republican Club, as were toys from the 1st CEB toy drive organized by Micket Christianson.

The SCPC provided a home cooked turkey dinner with all the trimmings. 100 turkeys and 200 pies were cooked by volunteers and served by over 60 SCPC members who also greeted each Marine in the reception line with a “big” thank you and a Merry Christmas.

The food was prepared by over 300 members of SCPC and others from the community.  Owner Bob Novello of the Fisherman’s Restaurant cooked and donated 30 turkeys, tubs of mashed potatoes, yams, dressing, and added 1,200 rolls and butter.

Guy Yokom from Dana Point brought in a catering company and donated enough turkey, and all the trimmings to feed 100 of the  Marines.

The local San Clemente Chapter of the DAR provided turkeys, pies and some of their members came out and helped serve and clean up.

The SCPC’s  MOPS women joined in again this year cooking turkeys, and all of the other needed items.

Members from other churches volunteered with food and many of the members came out and helped make the day a success.

The battalion Chaplain, who regularly attends SCPC, said Grace and a wonderful prayer for the Mairnes, their families, and our country.

The Commanding Officer, Lt Col Colin Smith, thanked the SCPC and the City of Cerritos, for what they do for his 1st CEB Marines and their families.

Lt. Col Colin also set aside a special area for everyone to tour the special equipment the battalion uses when they go to war.

One of the highlights was Santa Claus arriving in a large armored vehicle riding in the gun turrett.

All of the the 200 kids got a huge kick out of that and yelled “there’s Santa!”. Santa passed out gifts to all of them.

Dinner was served at 1130 sharp, it was reported that all of the turkey pies and other food was gone.  The leftover pies went back to the barracks with the single Marines who walked away with big smiles on their faces.

Some of the food was taken by Connie Veldkamp for her homeless ministry, while the remaining food was taken to a area shelters.

Chuck Herpick, who runs the SCPC’s Marine Outreach Program, commented, “please try to make it next year for an experience that will change your life.  You will look at these beautiful young men, as we do every year, and want to bring them home as part of your family.”

Herpick went on, “I want to thank each and everyone of you who helped cook, serve, cleanup and make this Christmas a very special time for OUR 1st CEB family.  For many of the Marines, this was their Christmas Dinner since they will not be able to go home.  On behalf of the 1st CEB Marines, I thank you!”