MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Over the whirring of the crowded room, toddler Jonathan Horn made his way past other children playing. His mind was made. His goal was sound. His perseverance was unmatched.
He took awkward, short steps towards the table where the object of his desire lay.
Only inches away, he reached out to snatch it up, only to be snatched up himself by his father, Gary.
Returned to terra firma with a fair warning, Jonathan’s dreams were rekindled and his eyes grew wide when his cookie was placed in front of him for decorating.
He was not alone Dec. 3 as more than 750 children, spouses and Marines of the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School gathered at the Community Center to take part in the school’s seventh-annual staff holiday party.
Kids were greeted by Santa, crafts, games, food and a moon bounce during the family-themed holiday event.
Throughout the night, a raffle was held and prizes handed out including an Xbox video game system, gift certificates to the Main Exchange, DVDs and various gifts for the home.
“We wanted to get everybody together early before the holidays so we could celebrate together as a MCCES family” said Col. Marshall I. Considine, commanding officer of MCCES, who dressed up as Santa for photos for the evening. “We gave out some prizes for our Marines who have been working hard all year and their families. There was good food and camaraderie, and we gave some nice things out tonight.”
Families were also treated to a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, ham, yams, potatoes and gravy, and slices of pie. Most did not hesitate to get back in line for seconds.
Although parents dwarfed most of the games in the game room, play areas were set up throughout the building including bowling, face painting, fishing and bean-bag tosses.
One of the areas that received the most accolades from young visitors were the arts and crafts areas. There, kids pasted ornaments onto mini Christmas trees and delicately customized sugar cookies.
“I thought it was great and we had a good time,” said Schellee Harris, who brought her three children. “The games for the kids were great, the food was terrific and there were a lot of prizes.
“We came last year, and it’s great to see everybody again,” continued Harris. “As spouses, we don’t go into the offices very much, so there are a lot of people we don’t know. This is a great way to see everyone and get reacquainted. We usually meet plenty of people here at these events, and it’s great.”
For Considine, who has been involved with the Toys For Tots program in previous years, playing Santa Clause for the night was a very endearing experience.
“Playing Santa tonight was a lot of fun,” said Considine. “I worked with Toys For Tots for seven years and I just get such a big kick seeing those kids’ faces light up. It was a good time tonight and it’s always good to get together and meet everybody again.”