MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- It was ladies’ night at the Combat Center’s Officer’s Club Saturday with more than 60 women attending Operation Enduring Families’ Valentine’s Day Party for food, drinks, karaoke and dancing.
Tickets were sold in advance and at the door for $5 each. Goody bags were given to each guest, filled with candy, a water bottle, heart stamps, a mini-notebook, a heart key chain and a decorative “Love” pin.
There were also raffle tickets sold for $1 each to enter a drawing to win one of the 12 prizes. The prizes included body lotion, a body spray and wash set, candles, a crystal vanity set, assorted purses, jewelry and watches. A raffle ticket was drawn every 10 minutes until all prizes were won.
Guests ate from an assortment of sandwiches, veggie and fruit trays and had a strawberry covered chocolate cake for dessert.
Island Breeze Productions in Twentynine Palms provided a disc jockey, Sam Guerrero, to keep the ladies dancing to songs such as the “Electric Slide”, the “Macarena” and the “Chicken Dance.”
Karaoke was also sung throughout the night. For one song, more than 10 spouses of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, joined together and filled the stage for their performance.
Half the crowd donned pajamas, while others preferred to use the night out as a reason to dress-up. No matter what they decided to wear, smiles were seen everywhere.
“Its real important to keep yourself busy and have fun even though your husband is deployed,” said Joy M. Froio, a 24-year-old native of Phoenix. “Its better than sitting at home by yourself letting all your worries be all you can think of.”
Joy’s husband, Lance Cpl. Jeremy Froio, 3rd Bn., 7th Marines, has been deployed three times since he enlisted three years ago. The couple has only been married three years as well, she said.
“We’re still practically newly-weds,” said Froio. “But I’ve gotten used to him deploying. I’ve learned how to accept the fact he might not come home, and I’m ok with it. He loves what he does, and I love him, so I support him no matter what.”
Marine Corps Community Services Operation Enduring Families was developed as a way to collaborate the efforts of the services and programs available to the families of deployed Marines and Sailors. The program aims to provide support for the needs of the families left behind, said Daisy Dedeaux, director, MCCS.
“Happy families make for happy Marines and Sailors,” she explained. “OEF goes over and above our other services to keep spouses engaged in the community and be part of a family.”
Operation Enduring Families sponsors a series of events and classes. But while other MCCS programs focus more on basic needs such as counseling, financial help, and team building skills, OEF is an expansion of that by providing fun ways to pass the time, said Dedeaux.
“Its real important to come together on theses special holidays you would normally spend as a couple,” she added.